Global Entrepreneurship Week was surely an exciting time for St Louis and all of the innovators that make this great city their home. Not a day went by when I wasn't involved in something that challenged my thinking, made me consider how I can contribute to what comes next or simply allowed me to celebrate the entrepreneurs around me.
Now that the week has come and gone, and I've caught up on some sleep, I'm hoping that in addition to feeling good about this work I get to call mine, I might have learned something, too.
Friday 14th Women In Science and Entrepreneurship Conference
Its not even Global Entrepreneurship Week yet and my little women-business-supporting, equity-loving, youth-encouraging heart heard this:
Monday 17th Sutton Lasater Jewelry Party
It's important to be tenacious, work hard and not let anything stop you. But sometimes you just need to gather with some friends, drink some wine and do some shopping.
Tuesday 18th Young Nonprofit Professionals Network "Blog Out Loud"
I've been honored to be a member of the planning committee for "Blog Out Loud" for a few years, which means I'm old and wise, or just old. But it is always exciting to feature the ideas people working hard in the sector have for making our community better. Natalie Clay's piece on thinking about inclusion - not diversity- struck a chord with me. I've had one foot in the nonprofit space and one foot in the for-profit space for a while, and I often disagree with people who suggest that running nonprofits "like a business" is a cure-all. We in the space tend to tip toe around this debate a bit. But Natalie came right out and said it. Businesses don't think about inclusion because it feels warm and fuzzy. They have learned that inclusion is simply good for the bottom line. Nonprofits need to stop giving lip service to diversity and start recognizing the same. Refreshing.
Wednesday 19th Startup Connection
While emceeing the two hour elevator pitch competition for this year's Startup Connection event (yes, I wore heels), I learned a bit about the types of pitches given by folks in different industries. Biotech ventures are hard to pronounce, but their founders are very understanding about that. Financial services founders will be the first to go over their time limit and require the hook. And product and manufacturing ventures will have really cool demos.
Thursday 20th Venture Café
Knee deep in Global Entrepreneurship Week, and people are carrying around a lot of business cards. So at Venture Café this week we asked, now what? We know that the worst thing is to not follow up, to let those cards collect dust in a stack on your desk. But... now what?
- While still fresh in your mind, make a note of where and in what context you met these people.
- Prioritize the people you most want to connect with, be it for an informational coffee, a potential business lead, a possible job contact, or just someone that was really interesting.
- Contact them! Sit down and write a few emails reminding them of how you met, stroking their ego with something you remember about them, and suggesting a time for coffee or further connection. (Stay tuned for another post on how to craft an introductory email.)
- Some of the business cards you collected will end up collecting dust in a stack on your desk (maybe just toss them now), but a few really good connections is better than letting the "now what?" paralyze you completely.
Thursday 21st Nine Networks StayTuned
This community show dedicated an hour to entrepreneurship in St Louis: what's been accomplished? what's yet to do? how will we get there? There are really smart people on this show who work really hard in the community to connect people and move the effort forward. And I talk with my hands A LOT.
Friday 22nd YWCA Emerging Entrepreneurs
What better way to close Global Entrepreneurship Week than with the next generation of innovators? I spent the morning judging elevator pitches for the YWCA Y-Teens Emerging Entrepreneurs Program. These high school entrepreneurs had ideas for connecting community members to the elderly, starting a school business and even making a trip to the dentist less awful. And they get the quote of the whole darn week: "Vision without execution is hallucination."
Until next year, #GEW2014.