Christie Kerner’s Take on Venture Madness & All Things Entrepreneurial

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Screenshot 2015-10-26 21.03.40I guess you could say I’m a little fanatical about building businesses. But even beyond the art and science of launching companies, I’m completely dedicated to the brave entrepreneurs who are largely willing to do whatever it takes to succeed. So as we gear up for another year of Invest Southwest’s Venture Madness competition, I’m eager to see the ideas and connections that unfold. In case you’re dying to know, here are a few of my favorite aspects of entrepreneurship and a competition like this one.

Refinement and Reining You In

I like to think of businesses as live organisms. They’re changing, evolving and shifting on a regular basis. This is a good thing, but it also makes it difficult at times to create and convey a core foundation. If you never have to nail down what holds your business together, you also can’t be held accountable and truly grow from your current standing. So in my opinion, entering a competition like Venture Madness forces entrepreneurs to get organized. It helps them articulate where they are, and where they see themselves going. Through the process, business owners learn to be clear in their communications and focused on their goals.

Awareness of Local Resources

It astounds me, but there are countless entrepreneurs I encounter who are in the dark about the resources available to them in our own backyard. In my new position at ASU’s Center for Entrepreneurship, I get to see firsthand the quality of support that is offered to help grow the next generation of entrepreneurs. We have so many programs at ASU and all around the Valley to help founders and their teams. My hope is that we can continue to raise the public’s awareness of them all. I feel grateful to be a part of a community that has such a zest for entrepreneurship and am excited for others to feel that too.

One Great Community

I’ve traveled a lot throughout my life and been privy to behind-the-scenes details of a lot of business endeavors. With all this in mind, I can say that Phoenix is a fantastic place to start a company! Our location is ideal, because of its temperate climate and the fact that it’s easily reachable by a litany of cities. Beyond that, we have this wonderful fusion of big city and small town that really works in an entrepreneur’s favor. We’re in a huge metropolis where opportunities are plentiful, but cost of living is very affordable. We have all the sophistication and resources that big cities boast, but there’s an accessibility to – and intimate connection between – all the business players in the community as well. It’s the best of both worlds. And our laws are also kind to businesses, which is very advantageous.

Relationships are Gold

Finally, one of the most important parts of joining a competition like Venture Madness is the exposure you get to a variety of people. In the real world, businesses are all relationship-based. You really can get far by simply networking and spending time nurturing relationships in the community. These connections will serve you well in your entrepreneurial pursuits, but they will also offer you support and encouragement in the times you need it most. At the end of the day, what is business other than people working together? Learn to work with other human beings – and champion one another – and you’ll be able to achieve success.

Wishing all of the entrepreneurs out there a great experience with Venture Madness and some big wins on the horizon for your businesses!