Don’t Miss the Free Tech Brew This Tuesday! – Published in the SB News Press in April of 2011

As we move into Spring, we have another fantastic opportunity to attend a free event for entrepreneurs—The Tech Brew, Multidimensional Mega Mixer!  These events, sponsored by FD3, Maverick Angels, and SBEC (Small Business Entrepreneur Center)/Green2Gold, feature expert speakers, high-quality seminars, and are attended by a wide variety of entrepreneurs, experts and investors.  They are a must for any serious entrepreneur on the South Coast, who wants to make connections with the people that make things happen for business owners.

I have been privileged to be able to consult with many of the top advisors and angel investors in our area.  I have made some tremendous contacts, both in the investor and advisory/consulting community.  Although there are many entrepreneur-centric events that take place within our market, the Tech Brews are exceptionally valuable, because they are so well-known, so frequent, and, most of all, they are free to attend!
One of the most dynamic members of our entrepreneur support community is Alan Tratner.   Alan is a former professor of environment and energy, and the founder of the international, 40 year-old non-profit institution EEG/Green2Gold(G2G), (which is now a project of FD3—a world helping international non-profit organization). 
FD3/Green2Gold facilitates the creation of sustainable economic development incubators, hosts workshops all around the world, and has thousands of members working on developments in technology, with a strong focus on green technologies.  FD3/G2G is unique in that it also assists some 30 non-profits working in social and environmental sectors. 
Alan also serves with me on the Board and Executive Committee of the Clean Business Investment Summit of the California Coast Venture Forum, and is an Affiliate Sponsor of the Maverick Angels network.  Alan has personally presented some 4,000 workshops, seminars, and conferences, around the globe, from Stanford University to Moscow Russia, and has appeared on/in many of the world’s leading media, from CNN, CNBC, the Wall Street Journal, INC., Entrepreneur, Time, Business Week, Fortune Small Business, and USA Today, to Oprah, Good Morning America and NPR, and has been featured in hundreds of radio and magazine interviews. 
Alan is a dynamo, exuding enthusiasm for all things green, technology, and business development.  He is a huge resource for local entrepreneurs, and is just one of the many experts who make themselves available at each Tech Brew, so that entrepreneurs from all backgrounds can gather the information they need to help their businesses succeed.
The Tech Brew Mega Mixer will be held on Monday, April 18th at the Fess Parker Double Tree Resort, from 4:30 until 9.  I always advise attendees to arrive early, because a lot of the mingling and connection-making happens as people are getting situated.  Those with booths, like me, will be setting up their materials, and will have time to meet people and answer questions.  A savvy entrepreneur can get a lot of valuable, free information, just by asking a few pointed questions.
Several colleges and universities from Central and Southern California will be featured at this Tech Brew as well.  This is a great event for college students and young entrepreneurs just starting out, perhaps working on their first venture.  It is also a superb event for even the most seasoned business owners, looking to expand, or looking for help with increasing efficiency, marketing effectiveness, Internet/SEO expertise, and the like.  There is truly something for everyone interested in what makes businesses work along the Central Coast.
Of course, this weekend will feature all of the Earth Day celebrations, and we will see plenty of demonstrations of new, environmentally friendly technologies, and can meet the innovators who have created these great ideas.  Many of these same entrepreneurs will also attend the Tech Brew with booths and presentations, which should be highly entertaining and interesting.
For entrepreneurs looking to raise money, either for a start-up, development, or expansion project, the audience of the Tech Brew will be ripe with potential candidates for investment.  As we know, it is difficult, if not impossible, to get a loan, especially for a start-up business these days.  Investors, and in particular Angel investors, are probably the single most active funding source available to entrepreneurs at-present.  The difficult thing with Angels is to get in front of them to make your pitch.  The Tech Brew serves that purpose, bringing entrepreneurs and investors together in a casual, comfortable environment, which allows for direct contact and interaction.
Internet marketing, including SEO (Search Engine Optimization—getting your business to show up when someone does a search through a web browser), banner ads, skins, pop-ups, cross-linking, blogs, Facebook and other social networking approaches, are complicated, and require specific expertise.  Most entrepreneurs (including me) don’t know the first thing about any of this stuff.  As a result, many of us put off, ignore, or outright shun doing anything relating to the Internet, in terms of promoting our businesses.  The Tech Brew brings together a strong contingent of Internet marketing experts that are ready to assist with all things Internet marketing-related. 
The Tech Brew is also a great place to gather additional information about upcoming events, such as the annual Clean Business Investment Summit, coming up August 12th at the Corwin Pavilion at UCSB, where entrepreneurs will have an opportunity to qualify to present to a large group of investors.  There are also many great seminars sponsored by Green2Gold and other organizations, many of which are free of charge, that connect local experts in a wide variety of disciplines, each of which can be critical to business success. 
Perhaps one of the most beneficial aspects of the Tech Brew is connecting with other entrepreneurs within the same or complimentary business segments.  Business owners can share ideas, discuss common challenges, and refer colleagues to outside experts they have used with success in the past. 
One of the best things about living in Santa Barbara is that there are so many talented people here locally, who are willing to share their knowledge to help others succeed.  It is like no other community I have experienced, and it is a distinct privilege to live and work here. 
As always, I will have a booth at the Tech Brew, so stop by and say hello, should you decide to attend.  For more information, and to register (it is a free event), visit:  www.techbrewmegamixers.org.  I hope to see you there!
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