From the boardroom to the classroom, Dr. Don Goeltz bridges the gap between learning and doing in entrepreneurship — dive into the story of the Philly Venture Hub and the revolution it's bringing to Philly's startups.
If you were to look up “entrepreneurship” in the dictionary, you may just find Dr. Don Goeltz’s name beside it.
His remarkable career has taken him from the corporate sector to the startup world, running ventures in various countries including the U.S, Mexico, Canada, Germany, and Israel.
Eventually, Don made his way over to academia, where, for the past decade-plus he’s taught courses on strategy, management, entrepreneurship, international business, and marketing as a professor at Holy Family University.
As a seasoned veteran, he spends much of his time nowadays mentoring and helping other entrepreneurs launch and grow their own companies.
His desire to empower founders across Philadelphia eventually led to the development of the Philly Venture Hub, powered by EcoMap Technologies. We recently sat down with Don to discuss the Philly Venture Hub and its role in connecting Philadelphia’s social entrepreneurship ecosystem.
As a serial entrepreneur himself, Don was well aware of the myriad of challenges that came along with growing a business. Finding relevant resources at the right stage is a crucial process, however, this is often easier said than done.
“As a founder you're just trying to get through the next stage of survival and growth,” Don explained, “you don’t have the time to do everything yourself.”
This need for contextualized and easy-to-access data, combined with Don’s desire to start a hub for social entrepreneurship, led to him attempting to build a digital resource hub for Philadelphia’s entrepreneurs on his own accord.
“I quickly realized that this was the wrong decision” Don recalled.
Like most ecosystem builders who attempt to map out their ecosystems on their own, Don was faced with the daunting task of having to manually collect information on all of the resources and organizations relevant to entrepreneurs across Philadelphia, and then display this information in a way that would both be useful and easy to maintain. Don also recognized he would need to update this information himself anytime something changed.
“I realized spending all my time and effort on this wouldn’t have been productive,” Don told us.
Don needed some help, and found just the people to ask for it from.
The Philly Venture Hub, developed with support from a grant from Holy Family University, serves as a one-stop-shop for Philly entrepreneurs to connect with each other and to the resources and organizations that exist around them.
The platform boasts over 310 resources and 150 organizations curated and collected by our ecosystem experts, including different funding opportunities, mentorship programs, accelerators, co-working spaces, and more. Although Don had originally planned on the platform specifically serving social entrepreneurs, he quickly realized that it would be beneficial to anyone interested in starting and growing a venture.
Thanks to EcoMap’s signature keyword tagging and filtering, entrepreneurs and those who support them can filter resources and organizations by the stage of businesses they serve, their industry, the resource type, and the focus audience, to name a few.
Rather than being overwhelmed by the multitude of available resources, stakeholders across the ecosystem can now pinpoint exactly what they need, when they need it, with a few simple clicks.
EcoMap keeps all of this data continually up to date, freeing Don and the rest of Philly’s ecosystem builders from the type of time-sucking administrative upkeep tasks that have traditionally hindered these efforts in the long-term.
“This type of capability was very important to me, I didn’t want to just make a static list,” Don explained. “I wanted something that let entrepreneurs short-circuit their search for support”.
The platform also aims to serve as a community hub that allows individuals across the ecosystem to connect with one another and support each other. Many of the problems that founders tend to face are pervasive across different industries, and thus being able to discuss them with others can often be incredibly useful.
“These are common problems, and there's no reason why founders should have to address them alone,” Don remarked.
Don plans on eventually opening up a physical space where he can continue to work to support entrepreneurs across Philadelphia. The Philly Venture Hub will serve as a digital doorway to complement these efforts and provide an online presence for entrepreneurs to utilize at any time. All of this work will help to build a more comprehensive and accessible ecosystem for Philly entrepreneurs and lower the barriers to entry to launching a venture.
Here at EcoMap we are thrilled to be working with Don and Holy Family University. Our mission-aligned partnership can hopefully redefine the way entrepreneurs in Philadelphia connect, learn, and grow.
Interested in connecting and supercharging your entrepreneurial ecosystem? We’d love to work with you. Contact us below to learn more.