Local and Regional Sustainability Events Offer Entrepreneurs Powerful Information and Exchange (published in October of 2010 in the SB News Press)

Santa Barbara is truly one of the most amazing places on the planet.  I don’t think there is another city of this size that offers such a diverse array of activities for virtually every interest under the California sun.  For entrepreneurs and business owners, this is certainly the case.

The Santa Barbara Tech Brew, “The Premier Networking Event for High Technology Professionals, Cutting Edge Innovators, Business and Community Leaders, and Related Non-Profits,” offers a fantastic opportunity on a regular basis for those interested in all things technology and innovation to congregate, communicate, mix, mingle, and connect. 
A key driver of these events is the focus on sustainability, which underscores a sizable part of the regional innovation taking place along the coast.  In my role as a business consultant and business plan writer, I see a substantial percentage of deals coming from green innovation.  The Tech Brews offer a compelling combination of information, insight, and linking of ideas, all in an atmosphere of innovation and sustainability.
This month’s Tech Brew will be held at the Fess Parker Double Tree, from 4:30 to 9, on Monday, October 18th.  Taylor Reaume of The Search Engine Pros. will kick off the event with a one hour seminar: “WHY IS SEO AN IMPORTANT PART OF THE MARKETING ARSENAL?” from 4:30 to 5:30.  The Tech Brew networking Mega Mixer then begins at 5:30, and will feature industry-related exhibits, complimentary snacks, and a cash bar. On display will be the 3rd prototype of Life Cube, which was recently endorsed by the American Red Cross, and which I wrote about recently for my column. In addition, there will be a special presentation by the California Space Authority on the latest developments of the California Space Center, including how professionals can have their part in this $220,000,000 project.
SBCC Center for Sustainability will have a booth where guests can learn about upcoming programs, including the Last Paradise film event at the Arlington Theater on October 20th at 7p.m. (a fundraiser, $10, tickets at the door); and the Cities as the Solution speakers series, scheduled to begin February 2011, with Richard Register from EcoCity Builders, San Francisco, ecological city planner and organizer for EcoCity World Summits.
Tech Brew attendance is free either by registration at: www.smallbizentrepcntr.org or you can just show-up.  Enterprise and non-profit exhibits, sponsorships and advertising in the program are available. Contact Alan Tratner at 805.879.1729 or [email protected] for more information. 
Another amazing event that local entrepreneurs should attend is The Global Summit II (TGS), which will showcase “Twenty-First Century Sustainable Cities” in their Sustainable Technology Exposition (STE).  The Global Summit biennial meeting in San Francisco brings together citizens, businesses and non-profits for three days of education and planning to make global-scale vision, engagement and leadership a reality.  The Global Summit will be held in 

San Francisco on November 8th-10th.  The TGS was launched as a planning symposium in 2008, and focuses on a new framework for tackling global sustainability by linking the ideological, social, economic, and technological divides that often keep various constituents from working together in meaningful ways.  The Sustainable Technology Exposition is a core part of this event, with this year’s topic being “Twenty-First Century Sustainable Cities.”
The Summit will be held att the Fort Mason Center Herbst Pavilion and will include “Solution Councils,” mini think tanks intended to generate achievable solutions to address pressing world issues of our day: climate change, poverty and economic security. Additionally, the Summit will include educational seminars, the Sustainable Technology Exposition, multimedia demonstrations, interactive workshops, daily musical performances and art installations, all designed to ignite the imagination and move people to identifiable action that will have a positive impact on our world.
Over the course of the three days, local and international representatives from communities, governments, businesses, and non-profits will discuss the following eight industry sectors:
  • Agriculture
  • Renewable Energy
  • Waste and Recycle Management
  • Green Construction
  • Smart micro grid
  • Information & Communications Technologies
  • Air Purification
  • Water Purification
The representatives will be working on action items to address pressing planet wide issues in a collaborative format.  The STE will feature cutting edge, deployable ideas in renewable energy, materials, pollution control, and design that can be adopted by nations around the globe.  The STE is a cooperative project of the Green2Gold series of incubators/workshops and Empowerment WORKS, the fiscal sponsor of The Global Summit.  Inventors, environmental entrepreneurs, non-profits, and many more will display a wide variety of achievable initiatives that can help drive efficient economic development and address environmental cancerns.
In addition to The Sustainable Technology Exposition, which is open to all TGS conference attendees, the Summit will offer evening programs.  These programs will be held on Monday, Nov 8th and Tuesday, Nov 9th from 6-10p.m. and are available to the public for a fee of $10-$20.  Evening programs include cultural performances, music series, artist installations, and a fashion show. 
A featured portion of The Global Summit is The Funding Round Table—a workshop being held on Tuesday, November 9th.  The Funding Round Table will feature international experts in enterprise financing, funding for non-profits, angel investors, venture financing, debt/lending capital, and unconventional sources, many of which will have exhibits in the STE. Among the organizations presenting will be: Maverick Angels, the Clean Business Investment Summit, the California Coast Venture Forum, and the SBA.
A companion partner to TGS is Where’s the Money?—a workshop being held at the Hyatt Hotel, Saturday, November 6th, prior to TGS.  This regional conference is being presented by banking institutions and offers resources for small business.  (Visit www.vedc.org for more information).
A special workshop during TGS will present Entry into the “green economy”–on Sustainability, Inventing, Innovation and Entrepreneurship; by Green2Gold, with speaker Alan Tratner, who has appeared on Oprah, CNN, CNBC, NPR, Good Morning America, and in the Wall Street Journal, Business Week, Time, Fortune Small Business, INC, Entrepreneur, and USA Today.
A special youth program will also be presented for the three days of TGS for parents, educators and kids, including a presentation on sustainable college/university campuses by Green Tower Sustainability.
Both the Tech Brew and the Global Summit II offer exciting and valuable opportunities for local entrepreneurs to connect with experts and funding sources, to help drive success for their businesses.  For those in the sustainability sector, there are many additional opportunities to gain a better understanding of the current state of the green space, and to collaborate with other business leaders and investors to drive innovation and profitability.  I will be in attendance at both events, and hope to see you there!
The Global Summit II evolved out of its producing organization, Empowerment WORKS, which is a non-profit organization founded in 2001 with a mandate to advance interdisciplinary, collaborative, multi-sector, local asset-based approaches to global community development issues.  For additional information on The Global Summit II, sessions and speakers, please visit: www.theglobalsummit.org.

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