Written by Stephanie Herbers, MSW/MPH, manager of the Harvey A. Friedman Center for Aging at the Institute for Public Health
Venture Café is a weekly gathering of St. Louis innovators and entrepreneurs working in education, arts, healthcare, manufacturing, social enterprise, and many other sectors. If you want to learn more about the St. Louis startup community, this is the place to be on Thursdays from 3 to 8 pm. The weekly gathering reminds me of a cross between a mini-conference and a large happy hour. On any given Thursday night there are several options to meet new people, whether you are comfortable striking up a conversation with someone at the bar or you prefer to ease in meeting others by sitting in on one of the scheduled presentations. Just after attending a few Thursdays, I have already been exposed to a wide range of resources and efforts happening in St. Louis that I never knew existed.
You can see the scheduled office hours and programs by checking out their online calendar or, to make it even easier, I recommend signing up for their weekly emails. Past sessions have included topics such as creating content that connects, identifying your ideal audience, protecting sensitive data, using R, and promoting innovation in healthcare.
The mix of attendees and their interests are diverse. This gathering can be an opportunity to approach challenging issues, including complex social and public health problems, from several disciplines and perspectives. Something we strive for in public health.
Consider checking it out sometime this summer. Once you have a few weeks under your belt, think about proposing your own session to brainstorm opportunities for innovation around a problem you are trying to solve.
First Time Attendee Tip: Make sure to schedule a good amount of time to hang out the first time you go. Your nametag shows how many times you have attended Venture Café. Regular attendees are great at welcoming newcomers, so if you are not comfortable introducing yourself to new people, your first time will be the easiest time to connect.