Charlotte, NC is gearing up for a massive week of conferences. In a span of 4 days, from March 31-April 2, the queen city plays host to two high-profile conferences: the Southeast Venture Conference (SEVC) and the Digital Summit. The SEVC – the first of the two events – “showcases the most promising emerging technology firms in the southeast region and provides these companies with unmatched exposure to the region’s top venture capitalists and private equity investors.”1 The SEVC format follows, more or less, the standard startup conference format. That is, there will be a ton of pitches, and some keynote and round-table chats. The Digital Summit, on the other hand, is a more focused, more topic and strategy driven event. The marketing-centric event will in-depth workshops and talks on various aspects of digital marketing.
This years SEVC will also feature the Charlotte Venture Challenge. The Venture Challenge – a stand alone event sponsored by UNC Charlotte prior to this year – is a startup competition with more than $150,000 up for grabs. There are a few criteria that a startup has to meet to be considered:
The competition is open to early-stage companies from the Carolinas, Tennessee, Virginia, Georgia and Washington, D.C. Commercial companies compete in one of four categories 1) new energy and high tech; 2) IT and informatics; 3) health IT and biotech sciences; and 4) general, which includes consumer products. Student teams will compete in either graduate student ventures or undergraduate student ventures.2
The fact that the Charlotte Venture Challenge will be held within the SEVC this year adds a new element. Though the event can boast some pretty solid turn out numbers, the attendance this year is bound to blow all of the past years away. Devin Collins, the assistant director of business and entrepreneurial development at UNC Charlotte’s Charlotte Research Institute, said as much in the announcement: “This will be the first time that our region’s emerging companies will have a chance to present to and connect with such a large audience of investors and potential first customers.”3
You can apply to be a part of the Charlotte Venture challenge until noon on March 3.