The all-stars of entrepreneurship are celebrating founders in Greenville during the first annual #StartupGVL Week, April 4-8.
The public is invited to join the City of Greenville and its partners virtually, in person, and on social media.
“Startup Weeks are a blast, and there's really no better rallying cry for a region than when we all come out and play together,” NEXT Upstate Executive Director Eric Weissmann said.
Festivities begin on Monday, April 4 with a social media celebration. We’re encouraging founders to share a snap of themselves at their business using the hashtag #StartupGVL. Bonus for adding #youcangreenvillesc! We’ll share some of the pics on our social media platforms.
Tuesday, April 5: GVL Starts Demo Day
On Tuesday, April 5, get a glimpse of what might grow into Greenville’s next big ventures at GVL Starts Demo Day. The program, powered by The Hill Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Furman, gives early-stage founders the skills they need to grow and fund their businesses and build a network of support for their journey. GVL Starts is an eight-week program covering topics such as business planning, marketing, and pitching.
On Demo Day, all 25 members of the GVL Starts cohort will pitch their businesses. Five finalists will hit the stage to compete for three $5,000 prizes. Judges will select a winner in tech and product/services, and the crowd will pick the third winner. You can get up close with all the founders by visiting their booths.
Wednesday, April 6: Tech Slam 'N Eggs
Wednesday’s event is sponsored by Greenville newcomer, Flywheel, and targets the software developer community. During Tech Slam 'N Eggs, engineers from the tech startups Kopis and Hexagon will talk about problems they overcame and what they discovered as they worked to bring their projects to life. Tech Slam 'N Eggs is a peer-to-peer event (not a pitch competition). It’s on Wednesday, April 6 from 8-9:30 a.m. at 101 N. Main Street in Greenville. Register.
Thursday, April 6: NEXT Launchpad
On Thursday, you can attend the first NEXT Launchpad for free. Launchpad is intended to help early-stage startups take their businesses to the next level. Sponsors who provide services to entrepreneurs in our area will give away more than $100,000 in prizes including a grand prize of $25,000 in seed money from the South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA). Other prize categories include design and branding, business services, human resources, valuation and legal services. Guest speaker Carl Sobocinski, founder of Table 301 Restaurant Group, will share insights from his entrepreneurial journey, and everyone will have a chance to network during a complimentary happy hour.
Friday, April 8: A Toast to Innovation
We’ll wrap up #StartupGVL Week with a Toast to Innovation. Join us at NOMA Square at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, April 8.
If you're still in the mood to celebrate with your fellow founders, you can end the night at the other end of Main Street with Friday night fireworks. The Greenville Drive will take on the Hudson Valley Renegades for opening night at Fluor Field. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m. Get your tickets.
NEXT’s executive director is excited about the strong start of #StartupGVL Week.
“Clearly we're just scratching the surface,” Weissmann said, “but think about the potential of lining up pitch competitions, workshops, seminars, happy hours and meetups - just wait 'til next year!”