This Dragon Wants to Help Entrepreneurs Tell Their Stories

Arlene Dickinson refocuses Venture on businesses that want to be more entrepreneurial

Written by Rebecca Harris for Marketing Magazine

Arlene Dickinson has rebranded her marketing communications agency,Venture, to focus on entrepreneurialism — a move that reflects the firm’s DNA.

“It’s a combination of me believing that the market is changing€¦ and the need for more entrepreneurialism to be injected into business—even big business,” said Dickinson, the agency’s CEO. “And it’s really what I am and who I am and what I believe in.”

Dickinson joined Calgary-based Venture Communications in 1988 and became the sole owner a decade later. She’s also the author of Persuasion and All In, and is perhaps best known by Canadians as one of the venture capitalists on CBC’s Dragons’ Den. In 2012, Dickinson founded, an online community for entrepreneurs.

The newly branded Venture, which has dropped “Communications” from its name and created a new logo, will serve three types of clients: businesses that are run by entrepreneurs, companies that want to sell to entrepreneurs, and companies that want to be more entrepreneurial.

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The focus isn’t on start-ups, but rather established small, medium and large businesses. Dickinson said entrepreneurs now drive a big piece of the economy and they’re going to be increasingly important over the next 10 to 20 years.

“Entrepreneurs need marketing to help get them to the next level,” she said. “I think marketing is the lever that can be pulled to really make a change and help create better business in Canada.

“They’ve kind of been left behind. It’s always sexy to go after the big advertising accounts€¦ but there isn’t enough attention being paid on how to help [entrepreneurs] tell their story.”

Dickinson said Venture will offer clients its traditional marcom services such as brand strategy, but will add other services such as consulting and technology development.

She also said there’s no disconnect with Venture’s current clients, which will stay on with the agency. “Everyone on our client list fits into one of those three buckets,” she said. “Philosophically, they’ve always lined up with us — that’s who we’ve attracted.”


This article originally appeared in Marketing Magazine.

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