| Follow Us: Facebook Twitter LinkedIn RSS Feed

Innovation & Job News

DC Entrepreneurship Week kicks off October 8, expands to other cities

D.C. Entrepreneurship Week (DCEW) kicks off its fourth iteration in the District next week. Between October 8 and 11, entrepreneurs from all over the region are expected to gather for a series of discussions and pitch sessions designed to help foster connections and collaboration among them. The organization recently brought on a full-time staff member and will be bringing on another, and is creating similar events in other cities around the country.
"We've got teams in Florida, the Triangle [Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill, N.C.], D.C., New York, Cleveland and more," explains Jon Leonardo, cofounder of DCEW. Leonardo recently became the organization's first full-time employee. "In January, we will relaunch and we'll bring [all the cities] under one brand." The Triangle region just concluded its third entrepreneurship week (EW). According to Leonardo, Cleveland will have its first EW in November, and South Florida's inaugural EW is at the end of January.

"Strong partnerships with our national sponsors have allowed us to expand," Leonardo says, "and strong players in D.C. have given us the back end [we need to expand]." The organization's national sponsors include American Airlines and Herman Miller, among several others.
DCEW also plans to expand to other cities in the coming year. To help with that expansion, Leonardo says DCEW will hire another full-time staff member, in operations.
Leonardo says that DCEW came about in 2010 after the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council rated the District as the worst place to start a business. "We [the cofounders] thought, 'That's not right,'" he explains. "We've got great investors, universities, and lots of businesses and support. What can we do to highlight [all that D.C. has to offer]?"
The events of DCEW are divided into discussions ("discover sessions") and pitch sessions. This year's week includes discussions on regulatory hurdles for startups, the pros and cons of being a female entrepreneur, creating brand loyalty and how D.C. is a city of social entrepreneurs, among other topics. Leonardo says that these sessions are boardroom-style and smaller than typical conference sessions. The pitch sessions, which give an entrepreneur five minutes to pitch to investors, are also structured somewhat differently. "You get five minutes to pitch, followed by Q and A," he explains. All parties sit around a table for the session. "It's a different setting when you're sitting at a table with investors. It's very intimate."
Entrepreneurs interested in attending DCEW can register for a week-long pass or for individual discover or networking sessions. The pitch sessions are free to attend. Enter the code "ELEVATION" to receive 50 percent off individual event registration prices.

Read more articles by Allyson Jacob.

Allyson Jacob is a writer originally hailing from Cincinnati, Ohio, and is the Innovation and Job News editor for Elevation DC. Her work has been featured in The Cincinnati Enquirer and Cincinnati CityBeat. Have a tip about a small business or start-up making waves inside the Beltway? Tell her here.
Signup for Email Alerts
Signup for Email Alerts

Related Company