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VOL. 128 | NO. 219 | Friday, November 8, 2013

Start Co. Gearing up for Trio of Entrepreneurial Events

By Andy Meek

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Global Entrepreneurship Week is around the corner, and Memphis’ Start Co. organization – a hub of related local entrepreneurial initiatives – is gearing up to participate in its own way in the international week-long celebration and support of entrepreneurs.

This year, Global Entrepreneurship Week is Nov. 18-24. Leading up to that, the first of three Start Co. efforts related to the broader initiative is a new 48 Hour Launch, which kicks off in the final days leading up to the week of events.

The 48 Hour Launch will happen Nov. 15-17, with the course of that weekend producing the same kind of launch event as Start Co. has led before. Which is to say, ideas will be pitched, some will be nurtured over the course of the weekend and some may hatch into something more.


“It’ll be the standard 48 Hour Launch programming,” said Start Co. founder and CEO Eric Mathews. “Community members will come together. Some will have an idea (for a venture) they want to pitch and see if the community will be into. Five or six are chosen, and we’ll start building those over the course of the weekend. It’s an important way to help us feed and find talent.”

A variety of ticket price tiers are available via the Start Co. website, neverstop.co, including early bird tickets, a full day pass and others. Participants with an idea will have two minutes in the evening on Nov. 15 to pitch their concept, and the five most popular ideas will proceed to be “launched.”

Those participants will draw from others in attendance who may not be fellow company founders but nevertheless have necessary skills to help build a venture, such as graphic designers, accountants, lawyers and developers. On the evening of Nov. 17, the teams will present their concepts to the community, and the first place team will get a prize of $1,000.

Later on during Global Entrepreneurship Week, Start Co. will be one of the organizations helping produce the latest version of Ignite Memphis.

Produced by Undercurrent, which holds regular events around the city to help people connect with fellow Memphians, Ignite Memphis happens Nov. 19 at Crosstown Arts, 430 N. Cleveland St. It’s an event built around enlisting presenters to make timed, slide-based presentations about a range of topics.

Those presenters include former I Love Memphis blogger Kerry Crawford who will talk about the secret to happiness, Rhodes graduate Peter Hall outlining 10 businesses that can be launched in Memphis for less $1,000 and Opera Memphis general director Ned Canty, who will touch on video games, pop culture and opera by the time he’s finished.

“It’ll be the standard 48 Hour Launch programming.”

–Eric Mathews
Founder and CEO, Start Co.

The goal, said a-m ventures director Patrick Woods, is to expose people to new ideas and to other interesting people. Undercurrent is producing the event along with Start Co., the New Memphis Institute and Orion Federal Credit Union.

Tickets are $15 and include beer, wine and food.

The final piece of Start Co.’s Global Entrepreneurship Week-themed events includes Brewing Up Ideas, a community-wide co-working session over beer Nov. 22 at 3 p.m.

“For that,” Mathews said, “we’ll invite people here to work through challenges and problems and bring in expert mentors.”

The events are helping cap off a busy 2013 for Start Co. The organization saw such highlights in the last 12 months as the creation of women-focused accelerator Upstart Memphis and the creation of a venture mentor talent pool for startup founders, among other things.

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