Tucked in the middle of the heartland is a growing community of entrepreneurs. Fueled by the efforts of our friends at Silicon Prairie News (SPN), this community of entrepreneurs is quickly becoming one of the top emerging startup hubs in the world, according to the Grasshopper Group. This energy was evident in the top-notch Big Omaha event, held May 11-13, 2011 in downtown Omaha, Nebraska.
So what’s so unique about Big Omaha? For one, it’s an event designed to build community. There’s only one track of speakers, so all participants hang out in the same room, leading to easier networking during breaks. Many of the speakers stay at the event throughout the day and even attend the evening parties, giving participants plenty of facetime with people the likes of Bo Fishback, Gary Vaynerchuk and Mark Ecko.
And speaking of the speakers: top shelf. Most of them spoke from the heart, leading to inspirational talks that, while wide-ranging in topic, arced across common themes that got to the core of entrepreneurship. Nuggets of wisdom included:
- Ideas don’t matter; execution does.
- Find your unique voice.
- Hustle is the antidote to fear.
- Entrepreneurs are everywhere, everyplace, everybody.
- The biggest barriers to innovation are excuses.
So what can we learn from Big Omaha? Community matters. Big Omaha rocks because it’s founded and run by a group of people who care deeply about connecting entrepreneurs and building community.
Our very own local startup scene news blog, Silicon Bayou News, used SPN as a model when it launched. It’s exciting to envision how this blog, Silicon Bayou, can make a difference in our community. We can see our own future by looking at the results of Big Omaha and the work of its organizers, Silicon Prairie News.
Building community is a person-to-person effort. So let’s start. I’m Wendy Overton. Nice to meet you. You can reach me at wendy.overton at gmail dot com, or (225) 241-0659, or follow me on Twitter @woverton. I’d love to collaborate with you to help make great things happen here in Louisiana.