VentureNavigator - Online Communities for Business Support

Mr Phineas Wenlock, Marketing and Community Manager

Research and Enterprise, University of Essex (VentureNavigator)

Wivenhoe Park,

Colchester  CO4 3SQ 
United Kingdom

Tel: 01206874147  E-mail:


Type of Presentation: Workshop

Aims: The presentation will show how VentureNavigator Business Communities ( are being used to support geographical communities of aspiring businesses, start-ups and small businesses and provide them with tools, online communities and learning resources to improve their chances of success.

Background: VentureNavigator Business Communities are built on the VentureNavigator business support platform - the result of the successful Higher Education Innovation Fund (3) collaboration of 7 UK Universities. The service was itself the evolution of an investment readiness tool (The Gauntlet) run by EEDA. The VentureNavigator Business Communities initiative is a direct response to the requirements of business support service providers in particular, UK Local Authorities.

Action: Most of the VentureNavigator service members are concept and pre-incorporation moving to a start-up phase. A significant but growing minority are start-ups moving to growth. The service continuously captures data about business sector, stage and location in order to assess impact as well as direct resources.

Results: The VentureNavigator service has over 10,000 members within the UK and has supported over 2000 new business creations via its business assessment, resource and Q&A services. The service supports an active community of entrepreneurs and small business. Going forward the Business Communities initiative aims to help business support providers to foster stronger business communities and deliver services more efficiently.

Lessons: The project has implications for business support service providers in terms of better, more efficient and more widely accessible access to services and for policy makers in terms of the ability to collect data from real business communities.

Keywords: Business Support, Online Communities , Business Assessment, Learning Resources, Data Collection

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