High-tech entrepreneurs are being encouraged to meet up later this month at a networking session to help get their idea or business up and running.
The Rutland Tech@Vermont Meet-up on May 31 at Café Terra is the latest in a series of “no speeches” networking events that connect high-tech entrepreneurs with statewide resources, including investors, said Andrew Stickney of the Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies.
“In the past, if we provide a venue and a context and critical mass of people from both sides, that it turns into a very virtuous cycle,” Stickney said, “in that we’re introducing people throughout the event, and then the introductions continue and the mentorship can happen for these entrepreneurs.”
Stickney said previous networking meet-ups have proved successful.
In terms of the definition of high-tech, he said any idea that innovates a particular industry is welcome.
“That’s how we address the very broad sector of it but it is geared toward technology, which traditionally means software and hardware solutions that are scalable,” he said.
The tech meet-up road show evolved from the initial meet-up at a Burlington coffee shop in January of last year that was organized by Fresh Tracks Capital.
After hosting two more events, Cairn Cross of Fresh Tracks said the Shelburne venture capital firm teamed up with VCET to take the meet-ups statewide.
Cross said one of the benefits of the event is that it allows entrepreneurs to connect with a potential investor like Fresh Tracks in an informal setting.
“Organizing these events and participating in them was a way for us to be out there in a very non-threatening kind of way,” Cross said, “where someone can just sidle up to us and hand us a business card and say, hey, I’ve got something I’d like to talk to you about.
But just like a courtship, Cross said it takes time for an investor and entrepreneur to tie the financial knot.
“You know nobody usually proposes on the first date and nor should they,” he said. “You should know the prospective investor really well because if it’s not the right fit and the right chemistry then the money is kind of immaterial.”
He said the meet-ups can also connect entrepreneurs with mentors, who can offer advice, especially in the more rural areas of the state.
“They don’t have a good network to go to on a regular basis just as peers and kind of compare notes,” Cross said. “So part of the hope around doing these things is it allows a way to kind of begin that or reinforce it if it’s even happening.”
Also sponsoring the May 31 meet-up is the Rutland Economic Development Corporation, Community College of Vermont and several other private and nonprofit organizations around the state.
The event will take place from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on May 31 at Café Terra. The event is free and no reservations are required.
For more information, visit www.facebook.com/techatvt or email Andrew Stickney at Andrew@vermonttechnologies.com or Jamie Stewart at firstname.lastname@example.org.MORE IN World/National BusinessFinancial advice column Full Story
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