Innovation Week ATX

Join us September 18-22, 2017 for Innovation Week ATX.

Celebrate entrepreneurship in style with over 30 engaging panels, interactive workshops, and thought-provoking sessions designed to help you grow your business. Full agenda below – click on the dates to access session information.

Innovation Week

Austin 2017 Agenda

Mon Sep 18, 2017 General/all business workshops, 9-5pm

9 AM - 10 AM

#IWATX 17 Kick-off

Welcoming Remarks from PeopleFund CEO Gary Lindner

Kick off a week of inspiration and education with coffee, breakfast, and networking.

Lynne Marcus, Marcus + Company Strategic Communications

Email marketing is the #1 converting marketing channel, and it has one of the highest ROIs of any marketing effort. Are you making the most of your email marketing?

Do you know what makes people unsubscribe to your emails? Do you know when and where your contacts read your emails? Are you testing to find out? Do you follow industry best practices to improve your open and click through rates? Are you paying attention to the reports generated by your email marketing service provider to see what you are doing right and what you can improve? Learn some of the tips and tricks of making your emails more effective whether you want to get more customer or clients, retain them, or increase your bottom line.

Nando Caban-Mendez, Ally Digital

From selling physical goods, to online ordering, digital goods, and even subscriptions and memberships, the web is making it easier every day for small owners to grow their businesses online.
This presentation is designed to bring awareness to macro trends that affect all businesses, while providing helpful tips to small and medium business owners to understand how to actually use these trends to their advantage. Bring your questions, and a notepad – this presentation full of useful information!

Nando Cabán-Méndez, the “Commerce Whisperer” is a veteran digital marketer and eCommerce consultant. Nando uses his skills and years of experience in design, development, online marketing, and entrepreneurship to help grow businesses with better eCommerce and digital marketing.

Rebekah Epstein, Fifteen Media

Learn how to get the media to pay attention to your small business!
During this one-hour workshop, you will learn the basics of public relations: 1) what kinds of story ideas capture the media’s attention 2) who you should contact at different outlets 3) writing pitches that don’t get deleted 4) following up to get through the noise.
With this valuable information, you should be able to start breaking through the crowded inboxes at media outlets…and hopefully scoring some awesome stories for you and your business!

1 PM - 2 PM

Everything You Need to Know About Electronic Payments

Michael & Meredith Casey, EPMG Advisors

Ever wonder how to actually read your statement? Want to know what fees you should expect to pay?
EPMG Advisors is deeply entrenched in the world of electronic payments and has made it a priority to educate business owners and managers on navigating the ever-evolving world of payment card acceptance.

2 PM - 3 PM

Money is Just a Tool - Here's How to Use It

Kara Perez, Bravely

This presentation will focus on record keeping and budgeting for small business owners. Keeping the right paperwork for the right amount of time can mean the difference between an audit and a clean tax bill. We’ll cover how you can budget as a business owner and what papers you actually need- and what you can toss.

Judy Lou Brown, Attorney at Law

Congratulations on making the exciting decision to become your own boss. There is no feeling in the world quite like it. One day you are on top of the world, and the next you wonder how you are going to survive. But now that you are on this roller coaster ride, it is important that you make sure that the structure of your business is sound, so that when you face the inevitable ups and downs, you know that your business is fundamentally based on solid ground. For the last 30 years, I have been helping business owners such as yourself figure out how to do just that. Come and learn about your entity options, and what is the best structure for you. And as an added bonus, I’ll also show you how to save 15% on your income taxes!

4 PM - 5 PM

Do You See the "I" in Leadership - Holding Onto Your Dream

Lisa Bargsley, Sage Speaking, LLC

A systems method to managing your business successfully.

What words can you think of to describe leaders you know that begin with the letter “I”? What word that begins with the letter ‘I” would you choose to describe your leadership style?

In this fun and interactive workshop, we will create a list of “I” words to discuss the characteristics of self-differentiated leaders, the concept of systems thinking, and tools for strategic thinking.

Become familiar with:

  • the three-circle model of family business systems
  • how you as a leader can affect the systems
  • tools to help you refine your thinking

Tue Sep 19, 2017 General/all business workshops, 9-5pm

Jessica Scanlon, Hot Dog Marketing

Did you know that there are 400 million users on LinkedIn? And while that might be small compared to Facebook, the users on LinkedIn are engaged and listening. Are you doing what you can to attract attention on LinkedIn? Jessica Scanlon, the founder of a local marketing agency Hot Dog Marketing, walks through a guide to getting the most out of LinkedIn.

10 AM - 11 AM

The One Document That Can Make or Break Your Business: Job Descriptions 101

Shasta Erickson, helpdeskHR

Well-written job descriptions are the cornerstone of a solid business practice. More than “to-do” lists, these multi-tasking tools can help to protect and grow your business. Job descriptions determine how employees can be legally classified and compensated. Compliance with state and federal labor and employment laws is critical, and it gets more complicated as the number of employees increases. Nearly every aspect of your business is affected by this one document: recruitment, engagement, retention, compensation, compliance, growth, succession planning and much more. Learn what should be included in every job description, why every employee should have one, and why you will never hire without one again!

11 AM - 12 PM

Pitch Please: How to effectively pitch your business

Hayley Netherton, Capital Factory

Does your business need customers? What about employees, investors, or corporate partners? To convince these key stakeholders to invest their time and money in your business, you need to be able to effectively communicate what your business does. You need to be able to effectively pitch.

Hayley Netherton is a Venture Associate at Capital Factory, the center of gravity for entrepreneurs, and the most active investor in Texas startups since 2013. She spends her days getting pitched by tech startups, and getting them plugged into the Capital Factory Accelerator and Venture Fund.

Christina Mascaro, Untamed and Creative

Facebook is one of the most effective return on investments you can make for your business. If
done right, you can build relationships, develop your SEO, find new leads, and build a business
base for less than a monthly coffee addiction.
What You Will Learn
• Overview of Facebook Best Practices to optimize business and brand
• How to ‘maximize’ your exposure using ads
• Learn the big ‘no-nos’ for Facebook (what NOT to do!) ads and boost posting
• The true cost of using Facebook to find leads and HOW to do it

1 PM - 2 PM

Fostering Innovation: Creating Space for New Ideas

Vaishali Jadhav, Conscious Capitalism

Where do you get your best ideas?  It’s probably not in front of the computer.  In this interactive session, participants will discuss how to create the space for new ideas to flourish, whether on your own or as a team, including:

  • The phrases that kill new ideas and the words you can use to get great ideas out of your stakeholders.
  • Quick exercises you can use to bring fresh thinking into old, out-moded processes.
  • Tips on how to structure your day to allow for “free thinking” and “tactical doing”.

Discover new language and tools you can immediately use to get some new thinking out of your day!

2 PM - 3 PM

Commercial Leasing - What You Need to Know

Cathy Coneway & Liz Rogers, Stanberry & Associates

Issues to consider when leasing retail, office or industrial space for your business presented by Cathy Coneway, Commercial Broker –  Stanberry & Associates, Realtors® and Liz Rogers, Realtor® – Stanberry & Associates, Realtors® and PeopleFund Mentor

3 PM - 4 PM

Simplifying Quickbooks

Bill Grosskopf & John Conniff, SCORE

The first hour of this introductory class is offered by SCORE volunteers to present QuickBooks as a tool for storing transactions data for your business. The desktop and online versions of QuickBooks are compared to help you make the best choice to meet your specific needs. You will be introduced to the interface for data entry and how to generate reports to aid tax preparation and to monitor the financial status of your business.

4 PM - 5 PM

One-on-One Quickbook Assistance

Bill Grosskopf & John Conniff, SCORE

For this session, attendees will have the opportunity to have an individualized session with a SCORE mentor or other adviser who will guide you in setting up your company in QuickBooks and help you to begin the data entry process.

Wed Sep 20, 2017 General/all business workshops, 9-1pm; Food+Business track 1-5pm

9 AM - 10 AM

Banker Breakfast - Ask the Experts

Grab some coffee and join business and consumer bankers from across Austin to learn more about special savings and retirement accounts, small business loans, merchant services, and what banks are looking for when they receive a loan request. We’ll have subject matter experts from banks large and small waiting to answer your burning questions.

  • Is now the right time to apply for a loan?
  • Are you at risk by not accepting credit card chips?
  • When should you start saving for retirement?

Learn the answers to these questions and more and start your day empowered with new insights and skills you can take back to your home and business.

10 AM - 11 AM

Financial Considerations for Small Business Owners: Growth Is Good, but Profits Are Better

Tim Plachta, Reliant Consulting Partners

What’s the hardest part of running a business?

Many business owners would say the first challenge is acquiring sales. But a very close second is overseeing the company finances, especially if you’re not a “numbers person.” When you consider all the reasons companies go out of business, financial management remains a leading cause.

Some of the most common challenges include:

  • Picking a profitable business model
  • Having an adequate safety net
  • Properly setting prices
  • Controlling cash flow
  • Controlling overhead and expenses
  • Capitalizing on unforeseen opportunities
  • Accurately analyzing financial statements
11 AM - 12 PM

In It to Win It

Christa Rose, Action Point Consulting

The best thing about being an entrepreneur and the worst thing about being an entrepreneur: all of the ideas are yours. Success or failure can depend upon how you focus your time, talent and tenacity as the driver of momentum for your business. This session will help you to think through strategic decisions about your business and plan for growth:

  • Where to invest time and where to outsource
  • Partnerships that will help you reach the next level
  • Applying market testing and feedback
  • How to open the doors you need to open
  • Developing and maintaining key relationships
  • Working with decision makers
  • Landing the big deal – and the next one

Reinvesting in your businessBuilding something of value from the ground up requires discipline and hard work, make the most of your opportunities to plan and execute your roadmap for success.

Luci Harris, Yelp

Led by Community Manager in Austin representing Yelp’s core values, this workshop will educate business owners on how best to use their free Yelp Business Tools. From Event Planning, to Marketing, Luci’s main objective is to connect Austinites to great, local businesses!

1 PM - 2 PM

Founding & Funding a Food Business

Profit Mover Team

If you are a “foodie” and have always dreamed about a food-related product or service business, you have over 50 options. The 6-member Business Success Center Profit Mover™ Mentoring Team will examine your options so you can arrive at the growth model to match your goals, timeline, resources and access to capital. Your decision should be based on the legal (including Intellectual Property worth protecting), financial, sales, marketing (including social media), pricing, operations, hiring, and fundability issues that can contribute to or hinder your success. Team members will share their expertise and get you thinking or rethinking your model based on those criteria. All are independent business owners with specific food service and food product (CPG) marketing and management expertise as well as the best funding methods different options. Your takeaway: fill in gaps and expand your opportunities. Be prepared to talk about your idea — but not too much since we don’t want you to give away your “secret sauce”. Our IP attorney will make sure you don’t!

2 PM - 3 PM

Your Mother is not a Valid Test Market

Peg Richmond, Texas State University Small Business Development Center

Whether you make the best BBQ sauce ever or are launching the next viral app, without market buy-in, you may be going nowhere fast.  But, if making sure there’s a market for your product or service is so important, why is it so often overlooked by early-stage entrepreneurs?  Two reasons—first, it’s hard and market feedback may be unwelcome, and second, most of us just don’t know how to go about it.  Conducting market validation, however, helps entrepreneurs gain valuable insights into the competition, why consumers buy, what they’re willing to spend, how products and services should be delivered, and whether or not to move forward—all before spending thousands of development dollars on an idea nobody wants.  In this session, the presenter outlines various ways to conduct market validation, what questions to ask and how to ask them, pitfalls to avoid, and how to know when you’re done.

3 PM - 4 PM

Food & Business - Advice from a Serial Food Entrepreneur

Min Choe, Jenna's Asian Kitchen & Tso Chinese

Min has lived in Austin for over 30 years and graduated with a BA in Management at the University of Texas Red McCombs School of Business. He and his wife, Jenna, have paired up to start and grow three successful restaurant concepts, and are currently working on their fourth, a food-tech company called Tso Chinese Delivery. He is on the Board of the Greater Austin Asian Chamber of Commerce, where he is focuses his attention on the economic development and growth of small businesses. He enjoys spending time with his wife and three beautiful children, and the occasional round of golf when time permits.

4 PM - 5 PM

Commercializing Your Food Product or Service

Dwight Flinkerbusch, Cook's Nook

Join Dwight Flinkerbusch, Director of Programs & Business Development at Cook’s Nook to learn about what you need to think about when bringing your food product/service to market

  • What’s product/service? What’s the value of that? What problem/niche are your serving?
  • Who’s going to buy it? why?
  • What’s the price? Will that sustain you/your business?
  • How will you reach your buyer?

Thu Sep 21, 2017 Creative+Business track, 9-1pm; General/all business workshops, 1-5pm

9 AM - 10 AM

Starting your Creative Business: A Checklist for Success

Celina Zisman, Dug Fresh Productions

Taking the leap from passion to profession can be a big one, but there is no reason you have to go in blind. This workshop is for artists, makers, musicians, and creatives ready to establish themselves as small businesses.

The course will cover the essentials for success, and include information on: legal documentation, accounting and tax prep, identifying your brand, building an online presence, marketing, SEO and more. We will address specific issues as they relate to the music, craft and visual art industries and include educational and financial opportunities available within the Austin community.

10 AM - 11 AM

Creatives & Makers: Making Money is Easy

Ricardo Palomares, Leadership Coach, Author, TEDx Speaker

As artists, creatives, and entrepreneurs we tend to believe that making money is hard. That in order to meet our financial goals we have to spend too many hours working, or that we need a ton of clients, or that it is going to take us forever to get there. In reality, the biggest hurdle that we have to overcome is believing that we are worth the fees that we need to get to financial freedom. Develop strategies to value your work, negotiate contracts, and leverage your creative talent to make a living.

Kathleen Brady Stimpert, City of Austin Cultural Arts Division

This workshop will present fundamental public relations and marketing tips for artists and arts organizations. Kathleen Stimpert, PR & Marketing Specialist for the Cultural Arts Division, will review basic PR and marketing principles and present actionable plans for promoting artistic projects. The lessons will include:

  • Public relations and marketing overview and definitions
  • Creating your messaging and branding
  • Writing press releases and pitches
  • Media relations – including outreach, lead times, media previews etc.
  • Online listings
  • Cross promotion, community engagement and scene building
  • Social media marketing (basic overview)
12 PM - 1 PM

Collaboration Over Competition

The Refinery

A conversation with women owned creative business entrepreneurs about how collaboration elevates creatives, their work, and is an impetus for innovation.

Join Hayley Swindell, founder of The Refinery, a new coworking and event space made for creatives and makers launching this fall in downtown Austin, Sara Hussey of Sara Hussey Public Relations, and Ashley Green of Frankie Jean, an online boutique that supports local Austin artists, for an open and inspiring conversation about how a collaborative approach has launched their businesses.

Lunch will be provided for this session, courtesy of Snarf’s Sandwiches

Lisa Bargsley, Sage Speaking, LLC

Working from home can reduce your tax liability but is it the best decision for you and your family?  Not renting an office can save a lot of money, but can you stay focused or will you become distracted by household chores or neighbors dropping by? In this workshop, we will discuss the pros and cons of working from home including the physical boundaries for your tax deduction and the emotional boundaries to keep your sanity.

Become familiar with:

  1. the IRS requirements for a home office tax deduction
  2. the types of expenses that qualify
  3. how the home office tax deduction impacts your tax liability now and in the future
  4. the balance between work and personal time
  5. why home offices are not always a good idea
2 PM - 3 PM

How to Focus on Goals That Give You the Most Leverage

Ricardo Palomares, Leadership Coach, Author, TEDx Speaker

As entrepreneurs, one of our main struggles is how to maximize resources. Often the problem is not that we don’t have enough to create success. It’s that we spread our resources too thin across too many goals that are not going to move the needle for us. During this workshop you will learn how to recognize the goals that are going to give you the most leverage to move your business forward. By using all of your focus, energy and resources to those specific goals, you will create massive results.

3 PM - 4 PM

Market Analysis with The Beehive

Precious Azuree, Beehive LLC
In this session, participants will walk through a Market Analysis case study to explore the following concepts:
  • Target Market
  • Market Growth/Profitability
  • Market Trends
  • Key Success Factors


4 PM - 5 PM

Unlock the Secrets to Loan Approval

Jemerell Rogers, PeopleFund

Even though small business is such a huge economic driver in the Texas economy, most business owners state that accessing the capital they need for their business remains their biggest challenge. If you are wondering how you can get the money you need to grow, this session will outline the essential characteristics you and your business need to have to appeal to a  bank, community lender, or potential funders in general.

Fri Sep 22, 2017 Impact+Business track, 9-1pm

9 AM - 10 AM

Community and Collaboration: Building New Paths to Make a Greater Impact

Center for Social Innovation

What does innovation look like in the social impact space? How has collaboration created new opportunities and solutions? What does the Austin impact community need to thrive in the future?

Join Matt McDonnell, partner at Notley, Andy Brown, Owner of The Brown Firm, and Chelsea Elliott, Executive Director of Half Helen Foundation, for an open conversation about the innovative solutions to the challenges they’re tackling, and how the community can move forward to make even greater impacts.

10 AM - 11 AM

Being Human: Building a 21st Century Brand

Justin Foster, Root + River

A blend of understanding modern trends (like tech and millennials) along with the power of trust in building a brand and how each leader’s mission is a stewardship for the next generation. Weaving in his journey from growing up on a rural cattle ranch to becoming a brand marketer and consultant, Justin shares how organizations can best live and communicate their brands to the humans in their communities.

12 PM - 1 PM

Stress & Structure: Let's Get Practical (and Legal)

The Un.Incubator (@theunincubator

Join us for a intimate workshop with likeminded social entrepreneurs. We’ll unpack the practicalities of starting a venture for good. Whether you’re a freelancer, social enterprise founder or nonprofit leader it can be hard to know what structure is necessary, and where to draw the lines with pros and cons. Hosted by The Un.Incubator, featuring legal impact expert Kristin Scheel Downes.

The Un.Incubator (@theunincubator

When you’re starting out, it can be discouraging to approach marketing with no budget. In this hands-on workshop you’ll learn a new framework for marketing that is authentic to the community you serve. Come ready to talk about the challenges you face and brainstorm ideas with other likeminded social entrepreneurs and intrapraneurs. Hosted by The Un.Incubator, featuring impact marketing expert Liz Deering.

#IWATX Agenda at a Glance