Summer doesn’t slow down for the Four Athens startup community. Local companies and community partners have kept up the momentum generated from the first official Athens Georgia Startup Week in March, with a slew of activities that continue to strengthen the community of support for startups and small business success in Classic City. Here’s a roundup of #StartupATH community, tech education, and entrepreneurship events from summer 2016:
In the Community
On May 5th the team at Perfect Pitch Concepts held the 3rd annual SoundBoard conference at the historic Morton Theater. Designed to integrate creative, technical, and business best practices with an eye towards crafting a more holistic approach to online marketing, SoundBoard brought together an impressive roster of speakers, including guests from Salesforce, Google, Moz, WP Engine, and Thames AgencyWorks, as well as university representatives, specialized consultants, and local expertise, over a day of knowledge sharing and relationship building for Athens marketing professionals and business leaders.
Rolling on a river...
Now a favorite summer tradition, the Annual Four Athens Kayaking Trip gathered a group of 10 startup founders, staff, and supporters for an afternoon of river recreation Friday June 3rd. Meeting at Big Dawgs on the River.
Later that day and throughout the weekend, Developers of Athens organized a weekend hack-a-thon at the RoundSphere for National Day of Civic Hacking as part of the Code for America nationwide effort to unite the public sector, private sector, and individuals to solve our country's social challenges through innovation. Projects submitted for the weekend included those posed by local entities and some from the national challenge. See the list at civichackathens.com/projects. Also check out the Online Athens article here.
Summer Grillin & Chillin...
On Friday July 24th, the first day of AthFest, the annual music and arts festival that takes over downtown Athens each summer, members of the Four Athens community gathered outside the Hancock Avenue offices to kickoff the weekend.
A networking mixer for small business leaders and community organizations in Athens organized by Richie Knight of HW Creative Marketing was held at Hotel Indigo’s Rialto Room on Thursday June 30th. A fierce sudden thunderstorm taking out the power didn’t phase the crowd gathered for a happy hour of building new connections.
A new monthly meetup started this summer for tech professionals in the area. Held the second Tuesday of each month at the RoundSphere offices, the new meetup is designed for Information Technology professionals in Athens and Northeast Georgia and plan to feature a volunteer presentation, Q&A, and plenty of time to talk with others in the industry. See the upcoming schedule of topics at meetup.com/Athens-IT-Professionals-Meetup/.
The longstanding Developers of Athens group continues to meet on the first Tuesday of each month, and this summer re-started the much-loved Developer Tacos monthly lunch on the third Thursday. Get the schedule at meetup.com/Developers-of-Athens/.
Meanwhile, code classes for adults continued at Four Athens throughout the summer, with two rounds of 6-week courses held between April and July, along with four one-day boot camps, preparing 9 Athens residents in total for the next level of web development skill building. The next round of beginner and intermediate level adult classes starts at Four Athens on August 29th, with several one-day boot camps scheduled for the Saturdays of August 6th, 20th, and 27th. Register at fourathens.com/beginnerclasses.
The newest gathering of startup founders and supporters designed to foster peer-to-peer idea and information exchange is going strong. This summer Coffee Catch-Up, held at 11am on every other Tuesday, has introduced new community members BetaJet, Venn Collective, and Geave Inc., among others, as well as covered topics such as MailChimp best practices with Alyssa DeHayes of Riot Act Media, free and low-cost business automation tools with LiveSyphon founder James Preston, and a recent round table discussion on connecting to university talent featuring a panel of local startup leaders and UGA representatives. The next Coffee Catch-Up is Tuesday, August 9th with RentPost founder Jacob Thomason sharing his successful B2B marketing efforts.
Monthly Lunch & Learn events also continue to bring Athens area entrepreneurs together for valuable discussion and support around key business success topics such as Raising Your First Round with Jim Flannery of Four Athens and Athens Angel Fund, Tips for Hiring and Managing Developers from IT Senior Manager for Web Services at University of Georgia Franklin College Stephanie Sharp, and insights into the new JOBS Act and what it means for startup crowdfunding with Founders Legal and new Normaltown Brewery founder Damien Schaefer. The next Lunch & Learn is Wednesday August 31st with HA&W about important updates to available Tax Credits and revenue recognition standards that Georgia startups and small businesses should know.
The Four Athens partnership with ATDC continues to infuse the local entrepreneurial community with unique expertise and resources through the ATDC @ Four Athens series of events. These monthly events held on the third Wednesday include a morning meet & greet, lunch presentation and discussion, and afternoon office hours with a guest from the ATDC roster of startup and small business experts, including FinTech expert Michelangelo Ho on the establishing the best value proposition, an overview of early stage investment sources in the area from Lead Entrepreneur in Residence Richard Nailing, and a look at the journey of an invention from idea to prototype with Shane Matthews. The next ATDC @ Four Athens day is Wednesday, August 17th with Frank Tighe discussing key success factors for medical device and BioTech startups.
Save the Dates in September:
The twice-annual Students2Startups event held at the University of Georgia campus is not your average career fair. Designed to connect students with area entrepreneurs and founders to explore real world work experience opportunities at local startup companies, the next Students 2 Startups is scheduled for Tuesday, September 6th in partnership with the UGA Terry Entrepreneurship Program. Get details about the Fall 2016 event coming soon at fourathens.com/students2startups.
On Friday, September 9th, Four Athens Turns 5! Be sure to join us for a celebration of building the Athens startup ecosystem since 2011.
The next Startup Stories event on Thursday September 29th promises to be another exciting evening of hearing real stories of startup success (and failure) directly from local founders and business leaders, plus a very special keynote we can’t wait to reveal! See details about the previous Startup Stories held earlier this year at fourathens.com/startup-stories-iv/.
Meanwhile, the Fall 2016 Idea Accelerator kicks off on Monday, September 19th. Applications to be part of the next cohort to run the 8-week gauntlet are open through September 14th. Think your idea has legs? We invite you to test that theory at fourathens.com/accelerator.