GreenhornTV: Boston’s Weekly Networking/Events Guide for Entrepreneurs – Episode 1

As I’ve mentioned in my recent series, The Young Entrepreneur’s Guide, it can often be difficult for young entrepreneurs to get “plugged into” the community. Some of this challenge is simply getting comfortable and experiencing the community first hand, but there’s also an issue of knowing what’s out there.  To help resolve that, we’re launching GreenhornTV, which will be a weekly webcast covering all the upcoming events for the week as well as highlighting major events to keep your schedule open for in the future.  So, without further adieu, here’s episode one for the week of November 9th-16th:

Notes from the show:

MONDAY:

Boston INNOBEER #InnoBeer
Description: “Join Boston-area innovators for beer and fun conversation about innovation, social media, and whatever comes up! Cash bar.”
Location: the Asgard Pub in Cambridge
When: 6:30pm to 9:00pm
Price: FREE

MIT Enterprise Forum Innovation Series –  “Vaccines & Global Health: New Technologies Create Global Opportunities”
Description: “Join us for a stimulating discussion on the state of vaccines and global health today and into the future.”
Location: 600 Memorial Dr., W98-1st Floor, Cambridge, MA
When: 5:30pm to 9:00pm (Networking then program begins at 6:15pm)
Price: FREE for Students, $25 – Forum Members, $40 – Non-members..

Where you’ll see Greenhorn: I’ve never been to InnoBeer, but it sounds great, so I’ll be checking it out.

TUESDAY:

WPI Venture Forum’s Business Plan Competition Final
Description: “Inventors and innovators with a new product or process test their business ideas with seasoned professionals, and the judges seek new and fundable ideas.”
Location: WPI Campus Center – Odeum Room
When: 5:30pm to 8:30pm (Networking then program begins at 6:30)
Price: Free for $125 members, $15 for $50 members, $30 non-members

Tech Tuesday
Description: “Join your fellow geeks, tech savvy professionals, DIY-ers, press, and other industry luminaries for this informal gathering. Bring your laptops, robots, OLPC XO’s, Amazon Kindles, new cell phones, gadgets, and other new-fangled devices.”
Location: Microsoft NERD, 1 Memorial Drive, Cambridge, MA
When: 6:00pm to 8:00pm
Price: FREE
Why it’s special: Huge turnouts and great demos including things like Rock Band. Great View at NERD too.

DartBoston’s Capitalize: #Capitalize
Description: “Capitalize has been created to help break down the barriers between VC firms and young entrepreneurs in Boston.  The goal of the series is to provide young entrepreneurs and students with the experience of what it’s actually like to pitch a start-up to a VC or Angel.”
Location: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/capitalize
When: Live @ 7:30pm or watch it anytime after
Price: FREE (Seats were raffled off to watch in person, check out any DartBoston event to get a chance to attend the next episode in December)

Where You’ll See Greenhorn: Enjoying the big tech loving crowd at Tech Tuesday, then rushing home to watch Capitalize

WEDNESDAY:

Mass Innovation Nights: #MIN
Description: Big event featuring: startup presentations, networking, tables for companies to show off their products and “Expert’s Corner”, where service providers like banks, investors, lawyers and other consultants will talk with anyone in attendance in 15 minute blocks.
Location: Charles River Museum of Industry & Innovation (Waltham, MA)
When: 6:00pm – 8:30pm
Price: FREE

Boston Young Entrepreneurs: Emergent Group Presentation: #BYE
Description: Emergent Group’s team was named by Business Week among America’s Best Young Entrepreneurs. They’ll be presenting their business plan to BYE. Join us as we learn what Emergent’s model of sustainability consulting is all about and help them solve a few problems.
Location: Workbar Boston, 129 South Street, Boston, MA
When: 6:00pm to 8:00pm
Price: FREE

Where You’ll See Greenhorn: Visiting our friends at BYE and Workbar to hear the great story of Emergent.

THURSDAY:

Ultra Light Startups: Leveraging Social Media: #ULS
Description: Hear from leaders in the social media field for best practices and great tips. Featuring: Rick Burnes – HubSpot, Paul Gillin – Social Media Marketer, B.L. Ochman – WhatsNextOnline.com, John Rogers – Local-Motors.com
Location: Workbar Boston, 129 South Street, Boston, MA
When: 6:30pm to 8:30pm
Price: FREE

DartBoston’s Pokin Holes #Pokinholes
Description: Podcast/live stream show for young people starting companies to get feedback from the most talented young professionals students and entrepreneurs in Boston. This week:  The Second Glass
Location: Hubspot
When: 6:45pm to 11:00pm
Price: FREE

Where You’ll See Greenhorn: Ultra Light Startups to learn more Social Media tricks then catching up with the after party with Dart.

SPECIAL WEEKEND:

Intersection 2.0 – “The Heart of a Leader”  (A White Rhino Event)
Description: Two day event ““Exploring the Art of Leadership Together “
Location: Microsoft NERD, 1 Memorial Dr, Cambridge, MA 02142
When: Saturday, 8:15am to 9:00pm, Sunday, 10:30am to 4pm
Price: $25 to $65
Why you should check it out: Hear Scotty Smiley – West Point Instructor blinded in an IED explosion in Iraq.  After sustaining his injuries, Scotty climbed Mt. Rainier, learned to surf and finished an MBA at Duke!

Events you should register for now:

Northeastern University Entreprenership Week
* Informative and interactive events promoting entrepreneurship at the collegiate level occur from Nov. 16th – Nov. 20th
*Invention to Venture: All day workshop showing you how to turn your technology idea into a commercial opportunity

MassChallenge’s MassAccess: Speed Networking
* The event provides an opportunity for students, entrepreneurs, industry leaders, service providers and investors to discuss innovative ideas and prime future collaboration through speed dating style meetings.
* Cambridge event, Nov. 17th
* Amherst event, Nov. 18th

Web Innovators 24
* Large event featuring informative presentations, companies with tables to present their products, and lots of networking. Bonus: companies that are actively looking to hire wear a sticker with their name tag, so you know who to approach.
* Dec. 7th, 2009

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This will be a weekly show, airing on Sunday nights, so stay tuned for future episodes and if you have any feedback or ideas for improving the show, please comment.

If you have an event you’d like featured on GreenhornTV, please send an email to jason [at] greenhornconnect.com and put “GreenhornTV” in the subject line.

Mass Innovation Nights: Great, but Not for Young Entrepeneurs

Mass Innovation Nights has always been one of those events I intended to check out, but never did.  There were a lot of reasons, but the biggest was it’s out in Waltham.  Like many young people in the city, I do not have a car and so I depend on public transportation.  To make it to Waltham requires about a one hour trip each way, which is certainly not something I look forward to.   Last night, I finally decided to make the trip.

One of the reasons I finally decided to go was because a member of Mass Innovation Nights told me that they are, “steps from the commuter rail station.”  While that statement is technically correct, it is not obvious to find them.  I ended up walking up and down Moody Street multiple times in both directions, completely perplexed as I watched the street numbers jump from 138 to 200 (The event location, the Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation is 154 Moody St). I finally noticed a sizable industrial-looking complex (it looked like a bunch of old factories) tucked away before the bridge over the Charles River.  It was there that I met Dan, a fellow young entrepreneur, who upon parking his car, could not figure out where to go either.  After more searching we finally stopped at the local movie theater and got directions.  As it turns out, you head down a dark pass between some buildings, walk around a corner along the river and then a modest entrance to the museum appears.

Entering the museum was an interesting experience as we were surrounded by giant, old machines and barely heard any talking.  As we wondered deeper into the museum, we finally found some people chatting in an open room.  It turns out, all the action is on the second floor, so we both went up there to check things out.

On the second floor of the museum is a large, open room.  Like many other events, it has tables set up along the walls for each presenting company.  The crowd is then free to move around and interact with the companies and other visitors.  While this set-up is the same as events like WebInno’s “side dishes” and TechCocktail, the crowd and company types is definitely different.  The vast majority of the crowd was much older than I and most of the presenting companies were in the B2B and enterprise space.  The crowd seemed much more serious than others I’ve found at events like these, as many of them quickly moved from table to table and had closed off conversations with specific people.  There is nothing wrong with this; I’m sure many were setting up meetings that could lead to important business deals. However, this is certainly not the kind of open discussion I’m used to seeing at many Boston based events.

After quickly moving through the company tables, I moved over to check out the “Experts Corner.” In this area, there were experts in venture capital, finance, banking, PR/marketing and more.  Visitors could reserve a 15 minute slot to talk to any one of them.  I had a great conversation with two members of Square 1 Bank, who specialize in the banking needs of startups.  I also noticed a few familiar faces from other Boston events on the experts side such as VC Ready Law Group and Launch Capital.   This “Experts Corner” is a great idea. It brings together groups of people that may otherwise have difficulty finding each other: new businesses and the services that can help them.

In the end, I think that Mass Innovation Nights is a great event; it’s just not for young entrepreneurs.  There is a laundry list of organizations in this area, and many of them go to great lengths to attract a younger crowd.   With so many choices, there is no need for every event to focus on the same types of businesses or groups of people.  Mass Innovation Nights represents a different look on new businesses in the area, focused on an older crowd starting small businesses.