Cincinnati has become a hub for startup activity, and is home to a number of business accelerators and incubators. But that energy is starting to spread beyond Greater Cincinnati.
Dayton is home to its own startup ecosystem, and the second annual Dayton Startup Week will be held June 12-16. The five-day event will offer about 100 sessions, all for free.
“Startup Week grew out of a give-first mentality,” says co-organizer Tiffany Ferrell. “It’s community driven and run entirely by volunteers. Over 100 people helped out last year. Fortunately, we have sponsors to help pay the bills and keep the event free and accessible.”
Dayton Startup Week, organized by the Dayton Tech Guide and sponsored by the Wright State Research Institute, The Entrepreneurs Center and the City of Fairborn, will feature regional CEOs, CTOs, CIOs and others who will present their successes and challenges at workshops, panel presentations and keynote talks.
With so many sessions running from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily — and covering subjects like The Lean Startup Workshop: How to launch on a shoestring budget and Social Media Masters: How to create a social media game plan — the schedule could become overwhelming.
But the online registration organizes the sessions by tracks, such as funding, marketing and technology, and the app will provide a customized calendar accessible on attendees' smartphones.
“We’re trying to ensure the event is as user-friendly as possible,” says Ferrell. “Dayton Startup Week will have sessions for everyone, it’s not just for startups or technology. Anyone in business in any industry or stage of business development will find a session that fits their needs."
Attendees will be able to choose from five specific tracks: Starting Up your Startup, Funding & Finance, Marketing & Branding, Talent & Culture and the Daily Grind.
“Last year exit surveys showed 60 percent of attendees were already in business," she continues. "They came to make new connections, to plug into the startup scene, be part of a community and attend sessions that addressed particular issues or problems they were facing.”
Dayton Startup Week is part of a global program run by TechStars, which is based out of Boulder, Colo. The inaugural event, held in September 2016, included 50 sessions and drew over 500 attendees from the Dayton area and beyond. This year's event is twice the size, and promises to draw larger crowds.
“We were looking for a high energy event to bring the startup ecosystem in Dayton together,” Ferrell says. “The TechStars model was exactly what we needed.”
Participants can register for as many or as few sessions as they’d like. In addition to the educational sessions, Dayton Startup Week will kick off each day with yoga, and will offer coworking opportunities throughout the day. Each day will wrap up with special happy hour events, including one at a Dayton Dragons baseball game.
Although the focus of the event is the Dayton startup community, several featured speakers will be from Cincinnati and Columbus, and the organizers anticipate attendees will come from a much wider area, drawn to the program by their familiarity with TechStars Startup Week brand.
“Dayton Tech Guide is working hard to create a collaborative relationship with nearby startup ecosystems,” says Ferrell. “There is great opportunity to share resources and leverage each other’s strengths.”
Registration for Dayton Startup Week opens on May 1.