Why Businesses Should Wear Their Mission With Pride

Venturepark’s Arlene Dickinson on the value of shouting your purpose loud and proud
(Photograph courtesy of Venturepark)

You might know Arlene Dickinson from Dragons’ Den, where she mixes cool reason and warm empathy to offer aspiring entrepreneurs guidance, feedback and—if they’re lucky—cash. Or you might know her from her bestselling books, including 2019’s Reinvention: Changing Your Life, Your Career, Your Future, where she applied business logic gained over her decades running a communications firm and investing in growing companies to advise readers on—among other things—harnessing the power of personal purpose. What you might not know is that Dickinson is also CEO of Calgary-based Venturepark, a self-described “business growth ecosystem” that gives companies in the food and health consumer-packaged-goods space capital, marketing, operational and other supports needed to scale. To mark Venturepark’s inclusion as an Impact Intentionality Leader on the 2022 New Innovators List, Canadian Business talked to Dickinson about the value of leading with purpose.

How would you define the purpose of Venturepark?

Venturepark exists solely to help companies and entrepreneurs in the food, health and personal care CPG space push their potential. Consumer behaviours have shifted and placed an emphasis on healthier lifestyles, creating an opportunity for long-term growth of these businesses. Venturepark is composed of five communities, each helping businesses along all stages of their growth, from start-up to enterprise, local to global. We help them create, fund, scale, reinvent, strategize and drive their business growth.

Why is it important to you to highlight the mission of the business in all that it does? Why does it matter to a) the business itself and b) clients?

We believe in the value of the agricultural and health sectors to our economy, and to what they deliver to our wellbeing. Canada has deep expertise in these sectors but for too long has not focused on the commercialization of the raw ingredients we export. The Venturepark ecosystem was developed to ensure that last mile production and innovation in these sectors was supported along all aspects of business growth. We aim to help entrepreneurs drive growth of innovative products made from our best ingredients.

You bring to Venturepark many things, among them your status as one of the country’s most experienced communicators. What advice would you have for other businesses hoping to share their mission and purpose in a more authentic way?

When you set out to build something new you will be met with many barriers and a great deal of doubt. This makes it even more important for business leaders to be able to distill their vision into simple terms that are more readily understood by the market. Spend time on strategy and articulating that strategy clearly and concisely. Then people internally and externally will follow you and support you.

Read more from the 2022 New Innovators List