On Friday I was able to pop into TecBridge's Entrepreneurship Institute at Marywood University. It is an event designed to pull back the veil of starting, funding, branding, and generally running a company.
When I arrived the panel for early stage funding was going on and the questions and answers seemed to be going pretty well. If you've ever been to an event like this the questions were the usual - "how are valuations created?", "how can I sell my product overseas?", etc. I believe in our area there isn't as much awareness of how early stage startups are founded, teams built, and funded and so events like this one are sorely needed. Entrepreneurship isn't part of the lexicon here in northeastern Pennsylvania. There are some people that have that spirit and have aspirations of building great products or companies. But not nearly enough. Go to New York or the Bay Area and you'll see events like this happening every week. If we want to see this sort of spirit happening here we need to continue to beat the drum. Tweet. Write blog posts. Start meetups. Have chats over beers. Continue to let people know that we can build great products and companies here and that there are tons of resources to help them do so.
The breakout sessions, or workshops, were where most of the practical value of this event was likely received by the attendees. Rather than a panel simply answering questions broadly, the workshops helped the attendees to work through a problem and see the processes work step-by-step. I was able to pop into a few of them - notably Kathryn Bondi's workshop and Mandy Pennington's workshop. Both would add extremely practical processes and workflows to any entrepreneur's bag of tricks. Essential tools to help any one starting a business.
Here are a few more poorly shot photos:
More of these types of events are needed for our area. In fact, they don't even need to be as well resourced or supported as this one was to be successful. Marywood's campus is a gorgeous venue but these sorts of discussions can just as easily be held in the conference rooms, lunch rooms, pubs, or high school gymnasiums of our area. I'm glad we have TecBridge to continue to create and help promote these sorts of things. Even you do not follow TecBridge on Twitter do so.
I look forward to popping into as many as I can.