The Story Behind StartCharlotte LIVE! 2016

While excitement is growing around the upcoming StartCharlotte LIVE! event, many people have asked us where the idea came from. We’re going to take you behind the scenes to the conception of this event and how it came to be.

With the shutting down of Detailed Block last year, Charlotte is one of the only major markets in the Southeast without a startup-focused media source. Atlanta has Hypepotamus, Charleston has Silicon Harbor, and Raleigh-Durham has Exit Event. We want to change that, and the StartCharlotte newsletter and the website in the works are our attempt to do this.

However, we aren’t limiting these efforts to digital. Earlier this month, StartCharlotte held the first StartCharlotte’s Intro to the Startup Community event with plans to do more in the coming months. And next month, we are planning to bring you a sampling of what this community has to offer in the inaugural StartCharlotte LIVE! event.

StartCharlotte LIVE! was first presented as an idea back in April of this year. The City of Charlotte invited several business and political leaders to a “design sprint” – a structured brainstorming session where we discussed how to grow the entrepreneurial community here. Participants were divided into groups to tackle different issues facing the community.

One of the challenges identified in the session was the lack of a cohesive, entrepreneurial brand – one that the community can rally behind. While we have organizations such as the CEA and CRFE working on various aspects of the problem, there is no single, easy-to-remember identity to build on.

Additionally, much of what goes on in the startup scene here in Charlotte is insular. Events often take place in the confines of uptown or sometimes as far away as Kannapolis. Average entrepreneurs working in South Charlotte or up near Huntersville don’t often get plugged into the community because they don’t want to battle the traffic or deal with parking.

StartCharlotte Director, Juan Garzon, was in a group charged with addressing these problems. From the group’s discussion came the idea of hosting a celebratory event that reached out to the community, complete with beer, music, lots of networking, and a pitch competition. You can see the original pitch here (complete with our physical prototype made of toys and fake money).

Lots of ideas were pitched, and the community is still using these conversations to develop new plans for nurturing entrepreneurship. But we decided to go ahead and make the event idea a reality. On Thursday, November 17th, we will bring together founders, investors, city officials, corporate partners, and community members to celebrate startups.

Sure, some of the event details have changed from the original pitch, but what has stayed the same is the idea that we can elevate our startup community and celebrate our entrepreneurs, while also bringing them out into the community. This is the perfect opportunity for you to meet the people behind the success stories and connect with key leaders in Charlotte.

Additionally, we think StartCharlotte has the opportunity to be that unifying brand the community needs. And we are going to continue working to create it.

So, join us at Sugar Creek Brewing Company in our quest to make Charlotte the next most-talked-about startup city in America. Details below, and register here or at the button on the top of the screen. $20 gets you in the door, a beer and a meal in hand.

We hope to see you all there for a night of fun, networking and tech learning!