CREDC invites tech leaders to mingle at GeekDrinks

Clark County jobs promoter launches bimonthly networking events

By Aaron Corvin, Columbian port & economy reporter

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Clark County's largest nonprofit jobs promoter and business recruiter is launching a new bimonthly series of networking events aimed at bringing the leaders of local technology companies together to kindle ideas, and to boost the industry's growth and competitiveness.

The Columbia River Economic Development Council will roll out its first GeekDrinks event, focused on digital technology, from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday at the office of Vancouver-based Ascension Software. It's a private event for fewer than 50 people. But it's connected to a larger goal set by the CREDC to grow Clark County's knowledge-based economy.

Bonnie Moore, vice president of business growth and innovation for the economic development council, said there are about 200 technology companies in Clark County, 50 of whom are software and mobile app companies.

And while the CREDC is making a big push to help those technology companies expand and to recruit new ones, the digital technology companies that are already here don't necessarily know about each other, Moore said.

"There's an underground of these companies," she said. "They all think they're the only one in Clark County." With GeekDrinks, the CREDC hopes to turn that around.

Invited participants include leaders of local Internet, software, mobile app and e-commerce companies, Moore said.

Ascension Software, a mobile app developer for the hospitality industry, recently moved into a new, 11,000-square-foot space at 1406 S.E. 164th Ave. Suite 200, according to Moore.

Thursday's event will be an opportunity for Ascension to show off its technology, and for companies in the same industry to learn about a peer, she said. Moore said CREDC officials will be on hand, too, to learn more about an industry the agency wants to recruit and to help grow.

The GeekDrinks series is not the same as Clark County PubTalk, sponsored by the CREDC and the Southwest Washington Workforce Development Council. PubTalk connects entrepreneurs and investors to improve business plans and help startups raise capital.

Future GeekDrinks events may highlight other industries, such as mechanical engineering or robotics, where geeks are found in abundance. For information about future events, contact Moore at 360-567-1055 or bmoore@credc.org.

Aaron Corvin: 360-735-4518