On June 9th the thINCubator hosted the first in a series of networking events designed to connect Makers, Entrepreneurs, Students and Hackers (MESH). One of the common problems in our region is that there are young entrepreneurs who don’t know the makers, who don’t know the hackers, who don’t know the seasoned entrepreneurs, etc. To build a startup ecosystem and to create a culture of entrepreneurship in upstate NY, there needs to be a focus on connecting these individuals on a regional level as well as a local level.
The MESH Kit was a first attempt to help foster some of those connections to help people build out their network (or their MESH Kit), and to become aware of some of the programs and opportunities in our region. We partnered with the Alva Group, which specializes in the commercialization of existing IP tech coming out of labs (such as our own Air Force Research Lab in Rome, NY), and Roux – a startup from Syracuse who specializes in a pop-up dining experience that cross-pollinates food and design.
We couldn’t believe the diversity of talent that attended. There were teams working on advance manufacturing algorithms, drone software, lifestyle brands and all points in between. Attendees came from Utica, Rome, Syracuse and Schenectady. We had programmers, industrial designers, serial entrepreneurs, and first-time entrepreneurs.
While enjoying a series of dishes prepared by Roux (they also handled all of the graphical elements and experience design for the evening), attendees were asked to identify themselves as part of the MESH – whether they thought of themselves as a Maker, Entrepreneur, Student, or a Hacker. Through a series of speed-networking rounds, everyone had a chance to learn about each other’s businesses, interests, projects and initiatives.
More importantly – each part of the MESH had a whiteboard where attendees could post their contact info and a list of the skills they bring to the community. They also could list the skills or the types of people that they’re looking to mesh with to get a business or a project off the ground. Anyone could walk around the room and could then see if their skill set was in immediate demand, and a connection could be made.
The MESH Kit was also an opportunity to showcase some local opportunities for attendees who want to take their idea to the next phase via the thINCubator Summer Cohort, or who might like to work on existing IP via AlvaStars’ Crucible Weekend.
The thINCubator will be a supporter of the MESH Kit moving forward (the next event is tentatively scheduled for July 28th, location TBD) and think that it will be a welcome supplement to the great lineup of local programming and events that we’re working on. We’re helping to build a startup ecosystem through creative collisions.The passion for new ideas and building businesses is alive and well, and we hope we were able to help build some lasting connections. Stay tuned for more information!