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Memphis incubates young entrepreneur community

By Lisa Babb
On January 29, 2013


One of the nation's largest startup conferences called Everywhere Else is coming to Memphis next weekend.  

The event brings entrepreneurs, investors and founders from all over under one roof in the heart of Memphis.

"We have over 2,000 tickets sold from across the country and around the world," said Kyle Sandler, co-founder of Everywhere Else.

Attendees can expect tips on startups, advice on how to flourish and opportunities to network.  Education about entrepreneurship will be provided through panels, keynote speakers and fireside discussions.  

"We have Scott Case, who is the founding CTO of Priceline-Steve Case, who founded AOL-Bill Harris, who was the first CEO of Paypal and a number of other speakers," Sandler said.

The conference will be held at the Memphis Cook Convention Center Feb. 10 - 12, and advanced tickets are on sale for $39 on the website 

The FedEx Institute of Technology is in the process of creating its own startup lab, the Crews Venture Lab, aimed at equipping Memphis' next generation of entrepreneurs. 

"It can really make a difference, not only for the school, but for the students and faculty as well," said Trish Kalbas-Schmidt, manager for the Crews Venture Lab. "It is an incredible hands-on learning environment where we hope to help diversify peoples' skill sets and knowledge in the hopes that they will start a company."

The 8,000 square foot lab will open its doors in August of 2013. It will house offices, conference rooms and a prototype lab with a 3-D laser printer and laser cutters. 

It will offer a variety of programs including incubation programs, space for people to start teams, training programs, networking events and mentoring programs. 

"Entrepreneurship is learned through apprenticeship, so you learn by doing and being guided and mentored along the way," Eric Mathews, executive director of EmergeMemphis, said.  

Students of all backgrounds and majors will be welcomed to utilize this facility.

"We hope to foster an amazing environment where the walls come down," Kalbas-Schmidt said. "It could be a business major, an art history major, a marketing major, a political science major-they can come together, form teams and start to look at ideas and potentially start companies."

Kalbas-Schmidt hopes that the Crews Venture Lab will not only attract students and faculty to Memphis, but also foster relationships between young entrepreneurs with businesses and investors in the area. 

"It will be an amazing bridge between the University and the community," Kalbas-Schmidt said.

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