Wednesday, February 23, 2005

What is a high-impact company?

The objective of InnoVenture is to build networks among major companies, universities and government labs to make them more globally competitive and to help emerging, “high-impact” companies attract capital to grow. The goal of the Upstate Counsel for Entrepreneurial Development is to pro-actively facilitate the development of “high-impact” companies in the South Carolina Upstate.

I have been asked several times in the past week, what is a high-impact company?

A high-impact company has significant positive impacts on the community in many ways.

A high-impact company creates significant wealth that stays local and is ultimately recycled into the community. A preeminent example is John D. Hollingsworth on Wheels, that provided several hundred million dollars for Furman University and other community organizations upon Mr. Hollingsworth’s death.

A high-impact company is a very successful, high-growth business, that provides outstanding experience and training for a younger generation of managers, some of whom will subsequently create their own high-impact companies. Serial entrepreneurship is one of the most important elements of a highly innovative culture.

A high-impact company provides large financial returns to investors. Angel investors are an important source of risk capital for future generations of emerging, high-impact companies.

A high-impact company grows large and provides an important client for local professional servers and suppliers. These local vendors are an important foundation of the entrepreneurial infrastructure on which new high-impact companies can form.

A high-impact company creates high-wage jobs. For many companies that provide sponsorships and volunteers for organizations like InnoVenture and the UCED, these employees are affluent consumers of many of their products and services.

A high-impact company provides significant leadership and support to community organizations, such as the United Way, the Chamber of Commerce, the Red Cross, and the Urban League. Independent companies with headquarters in a local community often provide more leadership and support to local organizations than branch offices do.

Special companies like these can have a disproportionate impact on the local community makes the effort and energy required to foster them worthwhile.

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