For the last few weeks, theCO has been rolling all around West Tennessee encouraging entrepreneurship through the BizTech Roadshow.
This year, one of theCO’s goals was to reach more counties outside of Madison through mobile outreach.
“We’ve been saying that for years, and really, that was the whole reason that the CO:mobile or a mobile unit even came up,” said Lisa Garner, Executive Director of theCO. “We knew we wanted to connect with these folks, and they’re not always just going to come to Jackson, so let’s go to them.”
Kevin Adelsberger, a CO:member and owner of Adelsberger Marketing, had already been speaking with different chambers of commerce in West Tennessee about holding social media and entrepreneurial workshops, so partnering with him seemed like a natural fit.
“Going to them gives some people who are just busy or have responsibilities an opportunity to see something that they may not be willing to drive just to go see,” Adelsberger said. “And when it comes to your front door, it seems so much more inviting than walking in and asking for a tour.”
Most of the stops on the BizTech Roadshow have been local chambers of commerce, usually around lunch or breakfast time. Adelsberger talks to them about social media—usually a basic overview and how to utilize it to promote business and create content—or about how he got started in his business and tools that have helped him. Afterward, people can explore the CO:mobile, trying out the different technology, like a tabletop CNC router and virtual reality, and learning about other business that incorporate tech like advanced manufacturing.
“Most people who come to these are pretty invested in their community, or they’re interested in technology or entrepreneurship,” Garner said. “They’re trying to think through how they can make something better or cooler for themselves personally or for their community.”
Essentially, the goal is to promote local entrepreneurship, and the tour members have noticed a positive response so far.
“People seem very excited about the bus, and they’ve been very engaged, asking questions, so we’re striking a chord with people,” Adelsberger said. “I hope they get some tips on growing their business or helping run their business better, but also, for some people there, they’re looking at the future; if I wanted to work for myself, what would that look like? Or if I wanted to start a new business, here’s some technology I can use for that.”
While on tour, members of theCO have been focused on starting conversations with people about what they do, what their interests are, and how theCO can help.
“If you have an idea for something and don’t know the first step, we are a connector, so we can connect you with someone who can tell you about how their process went. We could potentially connect you to funding resources or just help you brainstorm what’s next,” Garner said. “We’re trying to help make a stronger West Tennessee by reminding people there are resources throughout the state and beyond that you don’t have to move to San Francisco to get; you could just connect with great things that are right here in state.”
The BizTech Roadshow has six more stops and will be wrapping up the last week of April. Most of their appearances are open to the public. To see if they’re coming to you, check out biztechroadshow.com.