Economic Development Flourishes At Riverwalk 2013, Bradenton

From the grassroots,"un-conference" style of BarCamp Sarasota-Bradenton to the more traditional panel discussions at the Economic Development Summit, the entrepreneurial-minded can expect to be informed and inspired at Riverwalk 2013.

May 2 – 5 at the Riverwalk Complex in Bradenton, the community can attend one of four different events, all with the same purpose: to help entrepreneurs and the community at large navigate the changing business landscape.

The series kicks off on May 2 with a "Coding for the Non-Profit" event, bringing together designers, coders and project managers to provide technology solutions for Realize Bradenton – a local arts and culture council focused on downtown Bradenton.

The Economic Development Summit on May 3 at the Manatee Performing Arts Center features keynote speaker Jim Stikeleather, Chief Innovation Officer for Dell, who will speak on disruptive technologies and business models. The event will also feature panelists, including business leaders, funding professionals, educators and entrepreneurs, speaking on the full spectrum of entrepenueurial development, from seed through later stage funding. Panelists will discuss why they chose to create or move their businesses here, changing the perception of a "retirement community" to a place where people purposely come to live and grow their business.

May 4's event is BarCamp Sarasota-Bradenton at Manatee Technical Institute, an "unconference" with an open agenda and talks created on the fly. This participatory event allows everyone to contribute through talks, discussions, round tables and feedback.

The series concludes on May 5 with the U.S. Green Builders' Council’s green technology expo and music festival, as well as a special showing of Fiddler on the Roof at the brand new Manatee Players' Theater.

The event series was created by Spark Growth, a community-based company focused on social enterprise, as well as several non-profit community groups.

"Our goal is to create a destination event that will highlight the attributes of where we live and bring it all together," says Sara Hand, co-founder of Spark Growth. "People won’t just come to the events and get information, but they’ll be impacted and changed, with a call to action. We hope they’ll be inspired."

Some events require registration, others are open.

Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: Sara Hand, Spark Growth

Read more articles by Megan Hendricks.

Megan Hendricks is a feature writer at 83 Degrees Media in the Tampa Bay region of Florida.
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