Originally published on January 20, 2014 by Work It, SoVA here >>
Registration is now open for IdeaFest, a one-day event to promote entrepreneurship in the Dan River Region.
The event will take place Feb. 28 at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research. Registration is required and is available at ideafestdanville.com.
IdeaFest is being organized by a group of Fellows from Middle Border Forward, a “planning and doing” effort to support community change. This group identified entrepreneurship as an opportunity to advance the economic development of this region.
According to Jake Daniel, a member of the IdeaFest organizing committee, Middle Border Forward is a cross-section of enthusiastically motivated individuals from the Dan River Region who are dedicated to creating positive change.
“The members of the organizing committee of IdeaFest are excited to launch this inaugural event with the hopes that it will grow both in size and scope in the future and will help lay a foundation for innovative change in the Dan River Region,” Daniel said.
The purpose of IdeaFest Danville is to develop and hone the skills of aspiring and experienced entrepreneurs, as well as to bring together entrepreneurial talent from within this region and across Virginia and North Carolina to promote the wealth of opportunity that is present in the Dan River Region for entrepreneurs looking to start businesses.
According to Daniel, “With the close proximity of world-class universities and budding entrepreneurial hotspots surrounding the Dan River Region, Danville is perfectly positioned to become the central hub for entrepreneurs that want access to the best that both Virginia and North Carolina offer in the entrepreneurial sphere; and IdeaFest Danville is the forum to make it happen.”
IdeaFest consists of a skills-building workshop, a business pitch competition and a networking reception. The event will also include a resource fair featuring local organizations that offer business development tools and strategies.
Startup Readiness Express, the skills-building workshop, will be led by Jim Flowers of Virginia Tech Knowledge Works. Startup Readiness Express will help aspiring and experienced entrepreneurs test the strategic essence of their business concept, tighten up on managerial focus, and review the overall business startup process.
The main event will be the business pitch competition. Up to 25 entrepreneurs will briefly present a business idea to a panel of judges and audience members. Anyone who has an entrepreneurial idea for a startup company who would like to pitch to a panel of judges for the purposes of receiving feedback, potential prize money, and/or possible seed funding may register to pitch. Community members are also invited to participate as audience members.
The first-place winner of the business pitch competition will receive $3,000 cash and 25 hours of business consulting services. Consulting will be provided by The Launch Place, which offers business-consulting services to entrepreneurs, private businesses, economic development organizations, non-profit institutions and local governments at subsidized fees throughout the entire Southern Virginia region.
Cash prizes will also be awarded to the second and third place winners, as well as to the winner of the audience choice category. Community members not interested in competing are still encouraged to attend as audience members.
IdeaFest is made possible by a Make It Happen! grant from the Danville Regional Foundation as well as through sponsorships by Middle Border Forward, the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research, The Launch Place and Virginia Tech Knowledge Works.
Eva Doss, President and CEO of The Launch Place, said, “I am very happy to be a co-sponsor of IdeaFest, and provide our consulting services to the winners. It is yet another great opportunity in our area to encourage young people to start and grow their businesses in Danville, and to make entrepreneurship a possible career choice for them.”