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Wilmington plays host to Delaware Innovation Week

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Pg22_DIW-logoBy Christi Milligan

As Delaware advances its position toward the forefront of tech and entrepreneurial activity, Wilmington will play host to Delaware Innovation Week, an ambitious celebration of technology that promises 22 events in nine days, beginning Nov. 13.

Organized by Technical.ly Delaware and presented by 1313 Innovation, the event is modeled after top tech events like Baltimore Innovation Week, and Philly Tech Week, a medley of mini conferences, speakers, panel discussions and mixers that will highlight everything from Delaware innovators to digital marketing and tech-based advancements.

Organizers from Technical.ly Delaware, the digital publication for all things technology, said that Delaware’s event is designed to show that the state is no longer a tech outlier but a leader.

“Delaware gets lumped in with Philly,” said Technical.ly Delaware’s events manager Catherine Sontag. “We are different, we’re not Philly but we’re great in our own respect.”

Since summer, Sontag said the Technical.ly Delaware Team has partnered with Delaware contacts and community builders to line up a mix of technical and community players for the event.

Six different tracks define the event, allowing attendees to select the focus area that fits their role as business leaders or their interest in technology.  Tracks include Create; Civic; Business; Media; Access; and Development.

Events are varied, and range from a forum about women innovators in Delaware held at Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor; a panel discussion on the future of Tech in Delaware at World Café Live at the Queen; to a hackathon hosted by the University of Delaware; and celebration of “geek in pop culture” at the Crowne Plaza Wilmington North.

With an attendance goal of between 1,000 and 2,000, Sontag said her team has been marketing the event through their website and local chambers and community partners.

Sandwiched midway through the week is the second annual Tech2Gether conference, a showcase of emerging technology and networking opportunities.

According to Ryan Harrington, education and nonprofit coordinator at 1313 Innovation, the conference was streamlined to a single day for a leaner event that works in concert with the Innovation Week conference.

“Tech2Gether demonstrates that there is a need and forum to recruit valuable talent in Delaware and promotes the organizations and individuals at the forefront of innovation,” said Harrington.

Tech2Gether organizers have curated a list of 13 speakers, including keynote entrepreneur Charlie Horn, founder of the Horn Program in Entrepreneurship and Venture Development Center at the University of Delaware.

“This is an opportunity to see new innovations coming down the pipeline, whether you’re a lay person or a business person,” said Harrington. “If I’m average consumer I want to see what’s coming down the pike for me. Big data is a huge trend for the consumer, and people want to know how are companies making decisions for them.  Business want to see what thought leaders are doing and how I can ring this into my company.”

Also new to the Tech2Gether conference is a pitch competition featuring 15 winners from regional colleges.  Old favorites like the Demo Pit, Maker Experience by Frank’s Kitchen and a concert are also scheduled for the event.

“The startup community has grown pretty organically,” said Harrington, of the potential impact of Delaware Innovation Week. “These events draws attention to Delaware and says this is a community you need to be a part of. The more we can highlight that the better.”

Delaware Innovation Week is scheduled for Nov. 13-21 at various Wilmington locations. For more information or to register, go to 2015.delawareinnovationweek.com.


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