Over the past 8 months, I've been working with a team of passionate entrepreneurs from the Midwest. We all have experience and take part in unique communities, startup events, and other opportunities to grow our networks and businesses.
We noticed a very common issue among entrepreneurial communities here in Iowa. That issue is, unless you are already a part of a local group, or you have stumbled into a startup community, opportunities and resources can be hard to find. Though they are not secretive, and I have yet to step foot into a community that didn't welcome me with open arms.
So what do you need to do in order to help people realize opportunities and resources are out there?
Our answer? Hold an event that brings everyone together, right in the heart of Iowa.
As I write this, Young Entrepreneur Convention (YEC) is just over 72 hours from launching in Des Moines.
Brandon, Amanda, Pete, Ariel, Chris, Andrew, Shaun, Blake, Angelo, Phillip, Sabah, Sarah, and countless others are my teammates on this year's YEC. Find out more on the team here.
Collaboration is a beautiful thing, but grit and not being afraid to fail makes success inevitable. Our team is exactly that.
Friday, April 22nd
At 6 pm, doors will open at the Varied Industries Building (Iowa State Fairgrounds - 3000 E Grand Ave, Des Moines, IA 50317). Everyone can enjoy networking, drinks, and a great atmosphere. At 8 pm, Iowa Fashion Project will host an amazing fashion show to feature Iowa fashion entrepreneurs and the impact they're having on the industry. We'll wrap up the night at 10 pm, so everyone can get a great night's sleep.
Saturday, April 23rd
Doors open bright and early, at 7:45 am. We know plenty of people need their morning coffee, so we'll have that available, but you'll also have the opportunity to Upgrade Your Morning with a Bulletproof Coffee Demo & Tasting with TJ Anderson (8 - 8:45 am).
At 9 am, two things will happen. John Lee Dumas, Host and Founder of Entrepreneur on Fire, will take the stage to deliver the morning keynote speech. The other kickoff at 9 am will begin the first round of the YEC Elevator Pitch Competition. Participants will be off to pitch their business ideas in 90 seconds. These pitches will run throughout the day, leading up to the Finalists pitching again, on the main stage, in front of everyone, in the evening. Our judges are passionate professionals excited to hear your ideas. Give it all you have!
If you find yourself in the finals and preparing to pitch for your share of over $30,000 in cash and prizes, you'll have to enter the Shark Tank. We brought in original Shark, Kevin Harrington, to help judge the finals. Elevator Pitch Competition finals will take place starting at 6:45 pm.
Back to the morning agenda.
After John Lee Dumas delivers his value-packed speech, we'll hear from Megan Watt, Chief Dream Maker of Dream Catalyst Labs. Following Megan's inspirational speech, the exhibitor area will open up.
Exhibitors from all over the US will be in attendance. Most of our sponsors you can find here will have booth space. They'll be happy to share with you what they're working on and what they offer, along with advice and helpful tips for your own entrepreneurial journey. Make connections. Bring business cards. Follow their journey on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
At 11:15 am, you'll have a few options to choose from, in a YEC Track Session.
Katie Patterson from Happy Medium
Tim Zarley from Zarley Law
At 11:45 am, it's lunch time. From the beginning, we set out to support entrepreneurs of all industries, and food entrepreneurs from the Des Moines area are awesome! We're bringing in Food Trucks!
The Outside Scoop
Ferinheit Wood Oven Pizza
Miss Molly's Jamaican Patty
There will be plenty of time to eat, network, and enjoy the sun. We'll jump into a welcome back and speech from Brandon T. Adams at 12:45 pm.
Just under one hour later at 1:40 pm, it's time for another YEC Track Session!
Cactus Jack Barringer
After the second YEC Track Session wraps up, get back to the exhibitor space and meet new people!
At 2:55 pm, we'll be setting up for our final Track Session of the day.
The speaker momentum will continue onward, as we'll welcome Des Woodruff and Ken Shamrock to the main stage at 3:40 pm.
After Des and Ken, we're bringing in Jeff Hoffman to share his entrepreneurial wisdom (4:30 pm).
We'll break for dinner at 5:15 pm. By this time, we hope you've been able to obtain a stack of business cards, taken a lot of notes from the speakers, and checked out all of the exhibitors. You can do it! Your future self will thank you!
At 6:45 pm, the YEC Elevator Pitch Competition finals will happen on the main stage!
Finalists will again have 90 seconds to deliver their pitch, followed by 2 minutes of Q&A from the judges. It's a lot of pressure, but the rewards are worth it. Prizes can be found here.
After hearing the finalists pitch in our very own shark tank, the judges will leave the main stage to deliberate.
Don't worry, though, Kevin Harrington will swim back out to the main stage at 7:40 pm, where he'll deliver the closing keynote speech.
At 8:30 pm, the closing remarks and first-ever YEC Elevator Pitch Competition Champion will be announced.
At 9 pm, it's time to party! We'll have the band, Decoy, an awesome DJ, and drinks!
Phew, I could barely stay calm while writing all of that. YEC will be an incredible event!
While I'll be running around the place like a mad man, making sure the pitches are going well and the social media is a boomin' (with the help from Laura and Natalina), I encourage you to stop me and introduce yourself.
See you soon, entrepreneurs, founders, investors, students, intrapreneurs, supporters and sponsors, family, friends, aspirers, future leaders, and wisdom seekers.
-Clayton Mooney (@MooneyMillions on Twitter)
P.S. The official hashtag for YEC is #YECDM
I encourage you tag us in Facebook posts, Tweets, and on Instagram.
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