This past weekend, Picmonic was invited to the 48-West food, music, and tech festival to celebrate innovation in the Valley of the Sun. The event featured over 20 seminars from leaders in Arizona’s business communities, representing interactive technologies, new media, education, startups, and entrepreneurs. Hosted at Chandler City Hall in Chandler, Arizona, 48-West not only provided us with incredible networking opportunities, but also a stellar lineup of musicians at the two-night concert.
Here are some of our major takeaways:
1. Arizona is lucky to have leadership at the capital working to inspire innovation and creative thinking in business and education.
Senator Bob Worsely addressed the conference in a town-hall style, engaging with participants about entrepreneurship and innovation in the state for the next century. Startup representatives shared struggles in the business ecosystem related to talent droughts and limited funding resources. Rebecca Gau from the Governor’s Office of Education Innovation promoted the Arizona Ready program, which inspires innovation in state education programs and initiatives.
2. There are funding and resource support opportunities for small businesses in Arizona if you know where to look and who to ask.
CJ Cornell of Propel Arizona hosted a workshop on the art of crowdfunding, and representatives from the Arizona Commerce Authority addressed the $18.2 million Arizona Innovation Accelerator Fund Program. While feedback from startups at the event offered concerns about investment and funding opportunities in the state, these presenters demonstrated some light at the end of a long fundraising tunnel.
3. Innovation in education is happening right before our eyes! If you’re not already riding the tech wave, you’re missing out.
An inspiring presentation from Jaime Casap of Google generated conversation about changing today’s education model to prepare students for the future. Picmonic is thrilled to hear that technology is already changing the education game, restructuring the learning styles of even our youngest students.
4. Today’s online trends are making social media and digital marketing strategies essential to any company or organization.
Marketing professionals from IDS Technology Marketing and Melt Media expressed the importance of having a solid digital and social media marketing strategy to propel your business to the next level. It reinforced our current efforts, so connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+!
5. Social connection and follow up is a key component of maximizing your conference experience.
One of the ways we were able to maintain connections throughout and following the conference was through our social media efforts. We tweeted throughout the conference using the hashtag #48WestAZ to connect with other participants, and we connected in real time with other tweeters. We’re looking forward to keeping the innovation conversation going online until our next big conference #SXSWEDU!