Entrepalooza Coming Soon to Siouxland
Entrepalooza is coming soon to Siouxland. It is a regional celebration of the entrepreneurial spirit and many of the events provide help to aspiring and new entrepreneurs. There are ten events slated for the eight day run, most of which are free and open to the public. The celebration has been around for four years and has participation by the area colleges and service providers. Each year another new partner or two comes on board.
Inspiration for the entrepreneurial spirit in Siouxland will come during a video conference by Brad Feld, a nationally known guru on startup communities. The free and open to the public presentation is Monday, February 23, at Briar Cliff University (6:30 pm, but please come early as the video conference starts promptly at 6:30). He will talk for about 20 minutes and then answer questions from the audience for 40 minutes. An added bonus is that the first 150 attendees will receive a free copy of his Startup Communities book. I think that this is an exciting event to complement the Regional Entrepreneurship Project. So come and bring your questions! I look forward to welcoming the entrepreneurs from Plymouth and Monona counties.
One of the most difficult things for a new business to obtain is capital. There are two opportunities during Entrepalooza for Siouxland entrepreneurs to get funding. One is the Innovation Market sponsored by the Sioux City Growth Organization on Tuesday, February 24. Here finalists have an opportunity to win $5,000 and additional services. Submissions begin February 1. Innovation Market will be held at the Ho-Chunk Center in downtown Sioux City. If you need more information, contact Mike Fossum.
The other funding event is Swimming with the Sharks on Thursday, February 26 at Briar Cliff University. This competition is loosely based on the ABC program Shark Tank. In our competition, seven Siouxland finalists have five minutes to present their business and the judges have five minutes to ask questions. After all of the finalists have presented, the judges deliberate and the finalists learn that night if they received a grant. The entrants can apply for up to $4,000. The grant money is provided by area economic development entities. It is an exciting event for the public to watch – you can come and root for your favorites. “Like” the Swimming with the Sharks (Siouxland) Facebook page for updates. For an application and fact sheet email Judy Thompson.
Another thing that entrepreneurs need is advice. Todd Rausch of the Small Business Development Center and Tom Eakin of SCORE head up the Consulting Fair event on Thursday, February 19. It starts at 6:30 pm at Western Iowa Tech Community College. Entrepreneurs can get free advice on financing, marketing, and other issues from business experts. You can also get plugged into the area service providers.
Questions about Entrepalooza? Email Judy Thompson at [email protected].