Check out what makes Ohio’s capital city startup central
Summer may be coming to an end, but the Columbus startup scene is heating up, which means it’s the perfect time for Columbus Startup Week, powered by The Ohio State University, Chase Bank and Rev1 Ventures. The week of networking, learning and growth features an upgraded venue and layout that co-organizer Branden Jones expects to bring more excitement and an improved flow to the week. A surplus of Columbus-based and out-of-town speakers combined with a variety of workshops and discussion topics should give the fifth annual Columbus Startup Week something for entrepreneurs of every level and field.
“The mission is to highlight the startup community and celebrate what everyone has accomplished while fostering new partnerships,” said Jones. “The biggest component of any event of this magnitude is always going to be networking and building new relationships. In past years, plenty of people come to this event and get hired or meet their next employer. You can also connect with your future investors, partners, co-founders or an advisor who gives you a tidbit of info in a session that can help you move your company in a different direction.”
For Jones, September marks the perfect time for this year’s event. Multiple Columbus companies have been in the news lately for their growth, and interest in Startup Week has been as high as ever. The goal of the week will be to capitalize on the momentum of the city’s startup culture.
“We see a ton of new startups popping up,” said Jones. “You see people raising more money than ever. The energy is great, and it makes things exciting. After CoverMyMeds’ and Oris Intel’s big exits, we’ve got new targets to aim for. Now, it’s about keeping that conversation flowing throughout the year. Startup Week highlights the great community, but the startups are the ones who keep it going.”
Not a veteran entrepreneur? No problem! Jones and Startup Week organizers want to make the event a destination for all, not just those who have been longtime players in the startup scene.
“Whether it’s a tech platform or a food truck, the lessons are universal,” said Jones. “ You figure out how to leverage the information and the people in the room. You may not need them right now, but when you’re growing and scaling, you’ll need to figure out how to use those relationships.”
This year’s Startup Week will be held September 9 – 13 at the Lincoln Theatre. You can check out the complete schedule of events here. There are dozens of different events and sessions to explore — below we’ve included some “must-sees” for every startup lover:
Monday, September 9:
Welcome to Startup Week 2019 (9 a.m.)
Inspirational speaker, poet and entrepreneur Caroline Bennett serves as the week’s first keynote speaker. She’ll discuss her journey from Tulsa, Oklahoma to Columbus, her own business history and bridging community gaps.
Opening Kickoff Party (5:30 p.m.)
Hosted at TopGolf, the opening kickoff party serves as the perfect place to network and interact with Columbus colleagues to start the week off right.
Tuesday, September 10:
Upstart’s Unique Opportunity in Columbus (10 a.m.)
Upstart’s Paul Gu and Grant Schneider discuss building a startup, unlocking opportunity and the unique potential for scaling that Columbus provides.
Accelerators: What to Expect (2 p.m.)
A panel of accelerator experts discuss how to know whether an accelerator is right for your company, how to choose the best one and how to catch their attention.
Wednesday, September 11:
Connecting with Economic Development Offices (and doing it earlier) (10 a.m.)
Representatives from the Cities of Columbus, Delaware and Westerville and the Village of Johnstown share their experiences working with businesses. They’ll detail how to use relationships with economic-development departments to secure grants and other funding to help grow and scale your startup.
SEA Change Demo Day (4:30 p.m.)
The Social Enterprise Accelerator provides training to help social entrepreneurs develop sustainability and social impact and access tools to successfully launch their business. This event celebrates the businesses of the SEA Change 2019 Signature Cohort as the competition gives away over $100,000 in cash and prizes.
Thursday, September 12:
Mentor Madness (11:30 a.m.)
Find your next mentor, mentoree or advisor and learn from one of the week’s biggest networking events. This speed dating-style event partners dozens of mentors with mentees who can pick their brains about problems in several five-minute one-on-one sessions.
Friday, September 13:
Startup Week Wrap-up Breakfast (9 a.m.)
Close out Startup Week in style with a breakfast among fellow startup enthusiasts. The wrap-up breakfast features a special panel discussion among community leaders who will talk about the Columbus business community and startup environment.