12 Days of Havas: Venture for America

Posted on December 10, 2012 by Lisa Gruber

An entrepreneurial spirit runs deep at Havas PR and our parent company, Havas Worldwide, and that is why we chose Venture for America as one of the organizations to which we’re donating time during our 12 Days of Havas. Venture for America is a program for young, talented college graduates to spend two years in the trenches with a startup with the goal to become socialized and mobilized entrepreneurs moving forward. It’s a program for future entrepreneurs modeled after Teach for America. (This year, Havas PR’s CEO, Marian Salzman, was one of the final judges who selected candidates, and she can’t stop singing Venture for America’s praises. Now we’re all hooked.)

This past week, I was excited to help promote the amazing announcement that Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, and his Downtown Project have pledged $1 million to Venture for America over the next several years to help revitalize downtown Las Vegas. Zappos recently announced it would be moving to Las Vegas, and Venture for America has some of its operations there. The Downtown Project is a $350 million initiative to transform downtown Vegas that includes a $200 million investment in real estate, $50 million in local businesses, $50 million in tech startups, and $50 million in education, arts and culture.

Our mission was to help promote this announcement. Working with the Zappos team, we were able to secure coverage and interviews with CNBC, Associated Press, the Las Vegas Sun and Fast Company to help raise awareness of Venture for America’s new partnership with Zappos, specifically in the Vegas market.

The Sun said the $1 million pledge apparently wasn’t a difficult decision for Hsieh to make. “‘They have far exceeded anything we expected from them,’ he said of the seven Venture for America fellows who live and work in Las Vegas now.”

The entrepreneurial attitude of the Venture for America fellows—and the spirit of giving exemplified by Hsieh—is something that I see every day in my colleagues around the world, and that’s why I hope that in 2013 our spirit grows even stronger. The 12 Days of Havas is just one way of showing how we work and what is most important to us.

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