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Danville hosts Begin-Up Slam for aspiring entrepreneurs

Danville hosts Begin-Up Slam for aspiring entrepreneurs

Danville’s River District Affiliation is internet hosting its third Begin-Up Slam this week, an occasion modeled after a poetry slam the place contributors share their enterprise concepts for the possibility at a money prize. 

The occasion shall be held Feb. 23 from 6 p.m. to eight p.m. on the River District Occasion Heart on Ridge Avenue in Danville. 

The RDA has a number of applications to assist encourage native entrepreneurship, and Begin-Up Slam is probably essentially the most informal and best to take part in. There are not any enterprise plans required, and anybody over the age of 5 can share their thought. 

The occasion is $10 to attend — money upon entry — and on the finish of the occasion, attendees vote on their favourite enterprise thought out of presenters. As much as 15 presenters are allowed, and the winner will get all the cash collected on the door. 

As of Feb. 17, there are 40 individuals registered to attend.

The RDA doesn’t care what the prize cash is used for, mentioned govt director Schwartz. It doesn’t need to go towards really beginning a enterprise. 

“We simply needed to have some solution to incentivize sharing good concepts,” she mentioned. “Why not have the possibility to earn just a little bit of cash for it?”

Contributors who wish to share their thought will write their identify down once they arrive, and as much as 15 names shall be drawn randomly to current. 

“If greater than 15 individuals put their identify in, not all might be able to current,” based on a Feb. 20 launch from the RDA. Every presentation is proscribed to three minutes. 

Schwartz mentioned that Begin-Up Slam is supposed to encourage Danvillians to share their concepts in a low-stakes setting the place they’ll additionally community with different neighborhood members. 

“Not everyone desires to pitch in a extremely formal competitors, however that doesn’t imply that they don’t have an exquisite thought,” she mentioned.

Scwartz mentioned she first obtained the inspiration for Begin-Up Slam throughout a convention for Important Avenue organizations about seven years in the past. There, she realized about Detroit SOUP, a company that works to advertise community-based improvement in Detroit, which hosts an analogous occasion. 

On the time, Schwartz mentioned she was working in a neighborhood the place this type of occasion wasn’t relevant. However when she got here to Danville to work with the RDA in 2019, she nonetheless had the thought behind her thoughts, she mentioned. 

Nonetheless, different RDA entrepreneurship applications got here to fruition first. 

The RDA started internet hosting Dream Launch, a extra formal entrepreneurship program, in 2019. It’s a free program that teaches contributors abilities and data that enterprise homeowners want in a 6-week bootcamp-style workshop. 

Because the begin of this system, 400 people have participated. 

Entrepreneurs or present companies who full the entire Dream Launch bootcamp periods and wish to open brick-and-mortar areas within the River District can apply to compete within the RDA Ignite Enterprise Pitch Competitors, the place they might win as much as $50,000 in awards and incentives. 

“The Dream Launch program has opened or expanded 18 companies within the River District, simply instantly from pitch contributors,” Schwartz mentioned. “And we’ve had different pitch contributors that we weren’t in a position to give funding to, and so they opened anyway.”

The Begin-Up Slam program is a bit newer than Dream Launch and Ignite, first held lower than a 12 months in the past throughout Summer time 2022. There was a second Begin-Up Slam in September, and this week’s would be the third.

The primary winner of Begin-Up Slam used the prize cash to purchase tools for a enterprise that he’s working to launch, Schwartz mentioned. A youth group received the second Begin-Up Slam and used the cash for his or her group, she mentioned. 

One of many targets of the occasion is to create an area for aspiring entrepreneurs to fulfill each other and really feel the assist of the neighborhood. 

“A problem you come throughout with individuals who wish to begin companies or be an entrepreneur is it may be a really, very lonely solution to go,” Schwartz mentioned. “Having assist from different individuals who know what you’re going by means of and have been by means of it themselves is important.”

Begin-Up Slam, at its coronary heart, is a low-cost solution to join with individuals and share concepts, she mentioned. 

“I’d like to see individuals come simply because it sounds attention-grabbing and enjoyable and so they wish to socialize and provides their $10 to assist somebody locally,” Schwartz mentioned. “We’re simply attempting to until the soil and create a fertile floor the place entrepreneurship can develop.”

Contributors within the September 2022 Begin-Up Slam. Courtesy of River District Affiliation.