Innovation Week HOU

 Join us April 30th – May 4th for #IWHOU 2018!

Innovation Week Houston is a FREE week-long conference held during National Small Business Week. We’ll offer more than 30 workshops for Houston entrepreneurs and nonprofit leaders. Based on the success of our long-running Austin event, we’ll offer engaging panels, interactive workshops, and thought-provoking sessions designed to help you grow your business.

Join us at the Leonel Castillo Community Center, 2101 South St. Houston, TX 77009

Innovation Week

Houston 2018 Agenda

Mon Apr 30, 2018


Kick off a week of inspiration and education with coffee, breakfast treats, and valuable networking!

10 AM - 11 AM

How To Get The Loan Approved

WenFang Bruschett, Founder and Bankable Strategist, Bliss Finance

Do you know what it takes to get business loan approval? Understanding the hidden formula will increase your chance of getting a YES instead of a NO. Come and discover the secret sauce with WenFang Bruchett as she unveils how to think like a lender. In one hour, you will take away:

– How to prepare before meeting with a lender
– Identify key elements in your financial statements
– Learn key ratios that impact loan approval

Cris Houston, Professor, Texas A&M San Antonio

This session will go through the various types of business entities available to entrepreneurs as they begin their journey of owning a thriving business. This session will also cover basic business law issues that every business owner should know and will also cover the major pitfalls to avoid when starting one’s business. The session will focus on the keys to success in navigating the beginning stages of business ownership from a legal and business perspective.

Melvin Wang, Tax Advisor at Durbin Bennett Tax Advisors

Navigating tax deductions can be tricky and challenging. Learn how to determine what expenses are deductible in your business, and what has changed due to the new tax law.

Houston Volunteer Lawyers

With the new changes to the tax code, it can be hard to know if you’re in compliance on on your way to crooked practices. Learn from a special panel from Houston Volunteer Lawyers tips and tricks for tax filing, small business incentives, and best practices to keep your small business on the up and up.

2 PM - 3 PM

Need rescuing from your taxes?

Sandra Morno, Founder, SSBM Consulting LLC

Join Sandra Morno, Founder of SSBM Consulting LLC for a deep dive into the new tax code changes and how it will impact your small business. She’ll also review best practices for tax planning and how you can streamline your tax preparation for minimal work and maximum dollar.

3 PM - 4 PM

How to Find Funding for Purpose Driven Businesses

Erin McClarty, Attorney, Erin McClarty PLLC

Erin has over 8 years in the social impact space, working with  museums, county departments, tech startups and charities on  issues ranging from copyrights,  compliance or business operations to gifts, registrations  and cause-marketing. She’ll discuss how to find funding for your social enterprise so you can build up your community and expand your business. 

4 PM - 5 PM

Accounting for Management Decisions

Gustavo Suarez, Co-Founder, JPG Accounting

As an entrepreneur, you’re CEO, CFO, and COO all in one. Learn from expert accountant Gustavo Suarez about how to build beautiful financial statements that will drive your business and help you prepare for your next big decision.

Tue May 1, 2018

9 AM - 10 AM

Credit and Crumpets


Kick off your day with inspiration and education with coffee, breakfast treats, and valuable networking!

10 AM - 11 AM

Federal Grants to Fund Your Innovation

Mark Winchester, Deputy District Director, Houston Small Business Administration

$2Bn – $2.5Bn is granted each year to support small business innovation.  Meet local representatives from the US Small Business Administration and learn about two of our programs, SBIR and STTR, that make grant funding available to American small businesses that innovate solutions.

11 AM - 12 PM

Creating a Culture of Innovation

Kelah Raymond, Founder & HR Performance Strategist, SPARC Solutions Group

During this human resources deep-dive, we’ll focus on how to leverage people, process, and systems to keep you and your employees innovating, iterating, and exploring for maximum return and maximum impact.

12 PM - 1 PM

Web Design Basics for Small Business

Loretta Smith, Digital Marketing Strategist & Founder, Best Website Designs

Even though we all live online these days, creating an effective website that drives sales and communicates your message can be difficult. Learn the pros and cons of website setups and learn how to create a professional website on any budget that will increase sales, community awareness of your business, and boost your presence.

1 PM - 2 PM

PCI DSS - What it means and Why you need to know

Meredith and Michael Casey, Co-Founders of EPMG Advisors

PCI DSS – The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a set of security standards designed to ensure that ALL companies that accept, process, store or transmit credit card information maintain a secure environment. 

Join us for an engaging presentation that discusses what your responsibilities truly are and why completing the annual self-assessment questionnaire isn’t really about what you think it is.

2 PM - 3 PM

Credit for Small Business

Glynda McGinnis, Vice President/Houston Small Business Leader, Wells Fargo

Let’s talk about credit. Join me as we review credit best practices for small businesses, how to  improve your current credit situation, and build your business credit.

3 PM - 4 PM

Starting a Business in the City of Houston

Abigail Gonzalez, Business Development Coordinator, City of Houston Office of Small Business Opportunity

The workshop will include general permit and license information for new businesses in the City of Houston, resources for small businesses offered through the Office of Business Opportunity, including how to get certified as a minority-owned, woman-owned, or small business, and information about the City of Houston’s only business plan competition, Liftoff Houston.

4 PM - 5 PM

Introduction to Social Media Managment

Sandra Fernandez

Sandra will teach you how to analyze and monitor your social media efforts in order to maximize your presence online. You will learn how to identify what is working and what is not working in your current social media efforts; how to evaluate an appropriate growth strategy; and how to monitor your ongoing social metrics on a regular basis.

Wed May 2, 2018


Kick off your day with inspiration and education with coffee, breakfast treats, and valuable networking!

Toni Harris Taylor, Drastic Steps Marketing

Learn why using your voice to showcase your expertise increases your credibility and generates more leads than cold calling ever could. But speaking is not just speaking. There is a special formula to creating the right talk that touches, moves and inspires an audience to want more of you. In this workshop, you will learn:

  • Why speaking is the best marketing tool ever
  • The signature talk success formula that move your audience to action
  • How to get more speaking gigs
  • How to create follow up strategies that lead to more sales
R. Leigh Johnson, Principal Consultant, Livication Business Group LLC

This course will cover the four key elements that you need deliver winning pitches to anyone, anywhere, at anytime to obtain the money and support needed to bring their ideas to fruition. These keys will help entrepreneurs overcome their fear of pitching to influential stakeholders, narrow-in on what truly matters, and #OwnTheMoment while securing support from the people they are pitching to.

Michelle Lenzen, Founder, Humans at Heart

You can’t shortcut your way to connection. Meaningful brands take time to build. In this session, we’re going to learn strategies for getting feedback on what you’re selling and how you can start connecting with the people who matter most.

1 PM - 2 PM

Beyond Facebook: How to Develop an Omnipresent Marketing Strategy that Yields Profitable Results

YC Lawson, Advertising and Marketing Strategist, Advertising Diversity

During this workshop, we will teach local business owners how to attract more clients, and ultimately more revenue, by meeting their clients where they gather…ONLINE! Facebook is an awesome platform to engage new customers but there are also more resources which local business owners can integrate online to capture the attention and business of new & repeat customers that yields great profitability

Joy Hutton, Principal Consultant, Joy of Consulting

Starting a business and managing an existing business is both exciting and scary! As a business owner, you must give attention to creating fundamental business systems and processes in order to set yourself up for success. Some systems should be developed before you actually start the business, while others can be created and refined during the first year. In this workshop, we will discuss what systems you should put in place in order to improve your overall efficiency so that you can work ON your business and not IN your business.

Barry McCabe, Business Growth Incubator

Learn how to be a brand and build a brand that keeps customers, highlights your business, and gains momentum. Most of us have the skills to be a brand, but we didn’t realize just how simple it can be.


4 PM - 5 PM

Compressing Time Frames

Nolen Davis, CEO and Founder, Vids Inc.

Find the proper vehicle that could fund your dreams and business. How to open untouched markets.  How to create real leverage.

Thu May 3, 2018

9 AM - 10 AM

Donuts and Business Development


Kick off your day with inspiration and education with coffee, breakfast treats, and valuable networking!

10 AM - 11 AM

Trademarks and Copyrights

Shahara Wright, Author; Speaker and Business Development Strategist, Business Lawyer, The CEO Effect, LLC

Have you been spending hours on the internet trying to figure out what copyrights or trademarks you need to protect your business?  Have you read countless articles and are still confused?  Look no further!

The workshop will go over what trademarks and copyrights and the steps to get them if it is necessary for your business.

11 AM - 12 PM

Time to Make Some Noise: 7 Steps to Creating an Influential Personal Brand

Michelle Ngome, Networking with Michelle Podcast, Life Strategist

We are in the age of influence where creating a personal brand is imperative for career growth. Michelle takes you through a step-by-step process on how to create and maintain a personal brand that drives business.

Monique LaCour, Founder, Career Management Services

The purpose of this program is to help you differentiate your business, so that the buyers who need your products and services see you as the CLEAR choice! You’ll have a vastly different idea of WHO to market your business to and how to reach them. You’ll probably be quite surprised at what you discover!

1 PM - 2 PM

Build. Grow. Collaborate: How to Build The BEST Innovation Team for your business.

Ebony L. Noir, Chief Innovation Strategist, SIBCOM Group

While most business owners start out as a company both ran and employed by one person, every successful entrepreneur faces the fork in the road of balancing time vs. income to expand and achieve lasting success. Are you an emerging entrepreneur or start up looking to establish partnerships and grow your brand? Do you have an existing team and desire to reach new performance levels and efficiency?  Discover the Chief Operational strategies to ensure that you have the MOST EFFECTIVE people in place to innovate for your brand. Learn how to quickly asses and value both existing and new on-boarding team members so you can continue to be a powerful force in the business world. It’s an eye opening and colorful conversation when you Innovate with Ebony L. Noir; Innovation Strategist.

2 PM - 3 PM


Tiffany Taylor-Hicks

In this workshop you will get tips for increasing client sales through a customized approach to strategy, training, coaching and consulting services.

3 PM - 4 PM

So you want to open your business...

Thomas Nguyen, Co-Founder & CEO, Peli Peli

Things every entrepreneur should know. Tips, tricks, and tradescraft from the CEO of Peli Peli.

4 PM - 5 PM

10 mistakes in preparing your financials correctly in QuickBooks

Dwayne Briscoe, CRM Consultant

The workshop will show the common mistakes of making financial statements on Quickbooks and give quick fixes on these mistakes.

Fri May 4, 2018 *Talleres en Español.

9 AM - 10 AM

Contaduría Básica

Gustavo Suarez

La necesidad de saber sobre contaduría al empezar tu negocio.

10 AM - 11 AM

Mercadotecnia y Promoción de tu negocio

Brenda Boral, Directora de Márketing, Boral Agency

El “¿Qué hacer?” para hacer uso de la publicidad/marketing para promocionar tu negocio y tener éxito rápidamente.

11 AM - 12 PM

Acceso a Capital

Nini Fun
Nini Gutierrez, Oficial de préstamo, PeopleFund

Un taller para saber lo que se necesita para obtener un préstamo para su negocio.

12 PM - 1 PM

Almuerzo y Networking en Español

Baker Ripley
1 PM - 2 PM

Como Impulsar y Promover tu Negocio

Tabbie Saenz, VP Community Engagement, Circular Board

Un taller de consejos claves para promover tu negocio a bancos e inversionistas.

2 PM - 3 PM

Encontrar el financiamiento Adecuado Para tu Negocio

Yessica Arrellano

Un taller para saber si lo mejor para ti es financiamiento bancario o fuentes alternativas de financiamiento.

3 PM - 4 PM

Empezando un Negocio en Houston

Abigail Gonzalez, Ciudad de Houston

Lo que debes saber al empezar tu negocio en la gran ciudad de Houston.

4 PM - 5 PM

Recursos Humanos

Soledad Tanner

Lo básico sobre Recursos Humanos y lo que necesitas para dirigir y administrar un negocio exitoso.