There are multitudes of books, articles, videos, and other coaching resources available to the young entrepreneur who is embarking on the path to business ownership but none take the place of asking questions in a live setting with people who have been at the beginning of a journey just as you are now. You may have an idea but don’t know how to start a business, register an LLC with your state, fund the business, and build your business in to the next game changing venture just as many have before you.
The problem is that many of these conferences are expensive. Those who are starting a new business don’t have a spare $1,000 to register for a conference and fly out to the site for a few days of seminars that they could have watched on a DVD or via a webcast.
Those who are in the business of helping young business owners have taken note of this problem and new options are becoming available. A new type of conference brings people together in a roundtable environment where participants can take what they want and need from the events. These conferences aren’t about a presenter speaking to attendees. It’s about conference participants calling on the collective knowledge of everybody in the room.
This new type of conference is called Startup Accelerator. The organizers of Startup Accelerator call it an “unconference” for both new business owners and investors who are looking for new funding ideas. Not only can you attend the conference for information, you may find somebody who is willing to fund your business startup or new idea.
What is an unconference? It’s everything that a conference isn’t. First, there is no conference fee. Payment is made by donating goods or money to a local charity of your choice although the organizers warn not to be too stingy with the donation. Next, although it has a schedule of different workshops and events, participants are encouraged to move in and out of these informal events. Startup Accelerator aims to solve the problem of personalization. Although traditional conferences are designed to help individuals, the sheer size makes them high impersonal. This is changing with each of these events.
But does it work? Kristen, a participant at one of the events said, “The sessions are so free to be exactly what they are and what they need to be. So, people are asking questions, people are interrupting…. They’re like, ‘I’m here to get what I need’ and I love that.” Another attendee, Jonathan, said, ““It’s a hive of knowledge and experts in one location.”
Of course Startup Accelerator events don’t take place in every city so you may still have travel expenses but new events are being added in cities around America.