EntreFEST, the two-day business networking event taking place downtown Iowa City on May 4-5th, is fast approaching. It is one of Iowa’s best places for entrepreneurs, startup founders, innovators, educators, and artists to experience a real sense of belonging in a talented community of business professionals. In my role as a program associate at the Center for Business Growth and Innovation, it is my pleasure to be able to have encouraging conversations with small business owners and entrepreneurs from across the state, and EntreFEST will be a prime time to do just that!
This year will be my first time at EntreFEST, and I’m hoping to bump into some of Iowa’s most original product innovators and startup founders at the event. One of the ways you can make sure to do the same is by entering and attending Iowa’s Great Idea Challenge (IGIC), a statewide business and product idea pitch competition that will cumulate in a pitch contest at EntreFEST on Thursday, May 4th. Finalists will give their product or business idea presentations before a panel of industry experts at EntreFEST, and the winners from each of the five categories will be awarded $1,000.
I’m definitely not going to miss the award reception for IGIC on Thursday afternoon because Iowa’s Great Idea Challenge is joining forces with the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center’s business pitch competition --that will be running concurrently on Thursday at EntreFEST-- to create an energized program that will showcase the work of prize winners of both competitions. I’m looking forward to being there because it’s going to be the perfect transition from daytime learning to evening networking! Join us at the award reception to get off your tired feet and be inspired by new business ideas by entrepreneurs across the state, seize an opportunity to ask the winners questions--and to enjoy complimentary food and drink. I’m looking forward to taking it all in and getting ready for an evening of surprise events, fun, and networking!
Speaking of, Jill Wilen, the director of EntreFEST 2017, mentioned that there will be surprise events on Thursday night-- events that aren’t listed anywhere online or published in the schedule. I’m intrigued! What do you think the surprises could be? If you have any clues, you know where to contact me (drop a comment below!).
Friday morning I’m planning on getting up bright eyed and bushy tailed (and in dire need of espresso) to go to the EntreFIT Yoga hour at Heartland Yoga. Come on, it’ll be grand!
After we're warmed up for the day Elizabeth Caven, Founder of UpCraft Club will be sure to impress and inspire with her keynote address. Justin Schoen the Managing Partner at Emerge Growth Strategies and co-owner of Des Moines coffee shop, Mars Cafe, will keep the great ideas flowing through the late morning with a session on Digital Marketing. And I believe Gabe Erickson the CEO and President of Flow Media, will provide a much-needed perspective for marketing professionals in his afternoon session, “Human Marketing & Soul."
Come along for the ride at EntreFEST, and let's imagine together how we can leverage our individual and organizational strengths to encourage entrepreneurship and small business ownership in cities and town all across Iowa. Find me at sessions, or at the business idea pitch competition and reception, and if I'm not at either of these, you can likely find me at the CBGI booth. Stop by and say hello--I would love to meet you!