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Lehigh Valley Hosts Events for Global Entrepreneurship Week

By Colin McEvoy on November 18, 2014

LVEDC_ENTPosterMonday marked the start of Global Entrepreneurship Week, an international celebration of innovators and job creators. Running through November 23, it inspires hundreds of events across the globe designed to help participants explore their potential as self-starters and connect them with prospective collaborators, mentors and investors. Below is a list of Lehigh Valley events and activities taking place in recognition of Global Entrepreneurship Week:

Startup Weekend Lehigh Valley

Jenna Curtis, a teacher, would occasionally think of digital apps that could be helpful for her classroom, and would ask her husband, software developer Anthony Curtis, to build them for her. That led the duo to an idea: “Code My Class,” a business concept connecting teachers with developers so they can build games, demos or instructional applications to help teach educational concepts to students.

That idea was the first place winner in this year’s Startup Weekend Lehigh Valley, which was held November 14-16 at Ben Franklin TechVentures. About 50 participants in seven teams pitched their business or product ideas to a crowd and recruited a passionate and skilled team to start building a rough prototype. The purpose was not to craft a finely-tuned product, but rather to create something people could can provide feedback on and determine if it’s something prospective customers would find valuable.

Several participants in past Startup Weekends have gone on to launch companies, participate in accelerator programs or business incubation programs, or travel around the country sharing their idea. The winner of the first event in 2012 also had an educational spin: Rita Chesterton, also a teacher, created Skaffl, an iPad app that lets teachers distribute, collect, grade and return their students’ homework. Chesteron is now co-founder of her own company, which has just launched a second version of Skaffl.

LVTech Spotlight: Technology in the Valley
November 18, 6:30 p.m., Ben Franklin TechVentures

Any entrepreneur will tell you that some of the best advice they could expect to receive comes from other fellow entrepreneurs.

In recognition of Global Entrepreneurship Week, the organizers of Startup Weekend Lehigh Valley are launching the first LVTech Spotlight meet-up. A spinoff of LVTech’s ongoing series of meet-up events, it will feature a lively panel discussion about what it’s like to build, grow, and keep a technology-based company in the Lehigh Valley. Each speaker will each represent different stages of running such a business, from first starting up to having an established presence.

The speakers include Rita Chesterton, who will discuss her experience starting Skaffl; Patrick Clasen of EcoTech Marine, a designer of cutting-edge aquarium equipment, who will discuss expanding and relocating to larger space in the Lehigh Valley; Dev Chanchani, CEO and founder of INetU, which provides managed cloud services to companies in the healthcare, finance and e-commerce markets; and Phil Weinzimer,  a consultant with Computer Aid, Inc., a South Whitehall Township-based IT services firm that works with over 100 Fortune 1000 companies and government agencies around the world.

Creating Space: How Women Entrepreneurs Succeed
November 19, 6 p.m., starting at Velocity IA

When it comes to the challenges women entrepreneurs face in the often male-dominated business world, who better to turn to than those who have already faced and overcome them?

The Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation’s (LVEDC) Innovation, Talent and Entrepreneurship Council will host a panel discussion with four female entrepreneurs who will share their business experiences, major challenges they had to overcome, and their advice for others who would like to follow in their footsteps.

Visit these links to read Q&A stories about each of the four panelists: Katy Worrilow, founder of LifeAire Systems, LLC; Kristin Holmes, co-founder of Holmes Cunningham Engineering; Lindsay Watson, co-founder of FIA NYC, LLC; and Corinne Warnshuis, executive director of Girl Develop It.

Venture Idol
November 20, Ben Franklin TechVentures

Think American Idol. Except instead of singers performing in front of Jennifer Lopez and millions of television viewers, its entrepreneurs competing for funding for their projects.

Eight start-up technology company contestants seeking seed capital will make presentations before a panel of investors, and then audience members will vote which projects to “fund” in a crowdfunding style using fake investment dollars. Three finalists will be selected after two rounds of judging, and Ben Franklin will award $15,000 and a marketing start-up package to whoever the audience votes the winner.

Contestants, who were selected competitively, include companies that have created an alternative energy waste-heat-to-electrical-power generator, medical education and clinical performance management software, a personal-relationship management application for college students and professionals, and cloud-based software for electronic circuit board manufacturers. Check out the full list of competing companies on the Ben Franklin TechVentures website.

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