In this week’s 5 questions, we chatted with the leaders of Kentucky’s Techstars Startup Week Louisville: Mike DiCenso, lead organizer and Austin Lopesilvero, organizer.
Despite the headlines of a looming economic downturn, Techstars Startup Week Louisville organizers say now is the time to invest into our local businesses. The locally organized event kicks off Sept. 19-22 at the Henry Clay venue in downtown Louisville (604 S. Third St.). Startup Week Louisville is open to all entrepreneurs, investors, the startup-curious and creatives with one simple goal: to connect, equip, and inspire attendees to launch and grow local businesses.
How have you helped move the event and startups forward?
Over the past three years, the event has grown to include sessions covering more industries, more stages of startups and more representation of our community. Because of this, we’re seeing lots of new names and startups hitting the headlines because more founders are getting the skills and network they need to build their ideas and scale their business. This year, we’re expanding the event to go beyond tech-enabled startups and include all founders and creatives who want to grow their business. It’s a shift that is a part of our bigger vision to grow the event into having a regional impact like South by Southwest.
Where do you see Louisville startups headed in the next 3-5 years?
We see a lot of collaboration among founders, which will result in faster growth, more funding, more exits and a stronger community. This starts with the in-person collisions at events like Startup Week where founders can learn from each other and share on where they need help, what’s worked well for them and people they should connect to. We continue to hear amazing stories of collaborations and business ideas that have started or grew out of a conversation that happened in the halls of Startup Week.
What tech trends are you watching?
We’re definitely watching web3 as it can and will affect startups in most industries. That’s one of the reasons we built a whole track around it. We’re also excited about how the no-code movement will make building out apps and websites accessible for all founders, so we have some speakers presenting on that also.
What do you like most about being in flyover country?
One thing we love about Louisville and even the surrounding flyover region is how accessible people are. You’re typically never more than two or three degrees of separation from anyone you want to connect with and they’re typically more than willing to help. We hear this often from founders, and it’s also been our experience while pursuing world-class speakers for Startup Week.
What is the newest skill you learned or updated?
Our team continues to learn and grow in our approach to making this as diverse of an event as possible. We have so many talented entrepreneurs of all experiences and perspectives in our city. We’re being very intentional about making sure everyone is not only represented but finds value and belonging when they attend. This includes our speakers, content, team, vendors and even the logistics of the event. Thanks to our sponsorship with University of Louisville’s new Health Equity Innovation Hub, we’re excited to offer childcare and ticket scholarships.
If you know a tech leader in flyover country you’d like to see in this space, send an email to Lisa@flyovermediagroup.com.