What does community mean to you?

With Georgia Beattie, Head of Corporate Venturing at IE Digital

My community has been my greatest asset. An entrepreneur is the sum of the community they create and choose to surround themselves with.

My definition of community is the all encompassing ecosystem that includes friendships, business relationships, mentors, executives, investors, specialists, entrepreneurs… and many more but you get my drift.

For an entrepreneur, a rising tide lifts all boats and the more you give to your community, the more you get back in return. That’s the handy thing about doing business in Australia – or at an smaller community level, Melbourne – most people are only a phone call away.

From my uni days at Babson College (Boston, USA), the people I met there helped me create MVPs and raise venture capital for my startup. The local entrepreneurial community in Melbourne helped me navigate expanding into Asia and finding the right talent to get me there.

Community is the most important part of innovation because as you are venturing into new, unknown territories you can only learn from a survey of your landscape, just like an explorer would. This survey comes from the stories, experiences and visions of your community. It’s up to the entrepreneur/innovator to then be the scientist and create the market tests to see if it’s a direction worth following.

The innovation space moves so quickly that you need to be in a state of constant learning where you challenge your own bias every day and look at everything you touch in an inquisitive way. As I approached each different growth stage in my business, I would have lunch with an entrepreneur that has just been through that stage to understand their obstacles.

This culture of sending the lift down and generosity of information transfer is a trait of a great community and also one of the reasons Silicon Valley has been so successful.

It’s not surprising how much crossover there is now in the corporate venturing community in Australia. It’s a super hot space that is only in its infancy – watch this community!

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