Victoria residents have a tendency to underestimate their own community.
Victorians with entrepreneurial ambitions often feel like they need to move somewhere else to make their dreams a reality. I grew up here myself, but I moved away because there was no clear pathway for me. Now, as a community lead with Innovation Collective, I’ve returned to Victoria with a goal of helping give residents the tools they need to succeed.
Our goal is to activate the potential in this community by bringing people together for mentorship, partnership and learning opportunities. Oftentimes there’s a misconception that everyone in Victoria knows each other, but when we host events, we get to see people interact who’ve lived here their whole lives and never met—and bringing these people together to share feedback goes a long way toward helping residents make their big ideas happen.
Innovation Collective partners with local contributors like the City of Victoria, David and Tammy Murphy, Melvin and Janey Lack, Frost Bank, the Haberling McLeroy Family Foundation, Klean Corp International/Tami and Robby Burdge, Pat and Bill Blanchard, Bill Wendlandt, the Victoria Economic Development Corporation, Victoria County, the Victoria Sales Tax Development Corporation, Victoria College, Victoria ISD and the University of Houston-Victoria College of Business. Our success team, made up of representatives of these agencies and interested stakeholders, helps us leverage resources to grow Victoria while preserving its unique character.
We’ve been hosting seminars and networking events in Victoria since December, and it’s been incredible to see how many residents have great business ideas that they might not otherwise have had a chance to share. I’ve had business owners come to me in tears because what we’re doing gives them hope that they can achieve their goals right here in Victoria.
Creating a favorable business environment will help all residents, not just business owners. Thriving businesses that support each other help to create a more vibrant community. Our businesses owners benefit from having an abundance mindset: that is, the idea that helping one business doesn’t take away resources from another but instead allows all to flourish.
A vibrant business environment can also help to attract corporations that may see Victoria as a potential research and development engine and decide to set up shop here. This would bring new jobs and create opportunities for residents.
Whether you’re an established entrepreneur or if you have an idea you’d like to pitch, we’d love to see you at one of our community events. Here are some that are coming up:
- IC Studio: Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m., online. These virtual workshops will give you a chance to connect with mentors and get help creating a business plan. Visit https://innovationcollective.co/iclc-membership-victoria/ for more information.
- Coffee and Concepts: Feb. 16 at 7:30 a.m., Vela Farms. Come visit with like-minded people, learn about what they’re working on and share your own ideas.
- Fireside Chat: Feb. 16 from 6 to 8 p.m., 120 S. Main St. (2nd floor auditorium). At each session, we’ll bring in a local entrepreneur to share their story and experiences in an informal, interactive environment.
- Book Club: Feb. 21 at 6 p.m., 120 S. Main St. (2nd floor board room). We’ll be discussing “Purple Cow: Transform your Business by Being Remarkable” by Seth Godin. Come discuss what you’ve learned and how you can implement it.
If you happen to see me out and about, feel free to tell me about what you’re working on and let me know if I can help connect you with any resources. I’m happy to do whatever I can to help this community realize its full potential.
Karissa Winters is the Victoria community lead for Innovation Collective.