PubTalk, showcase aimed at startups

Events part of Global Entrepreneur Week

By Gordon Oliver, Columbian business editor



If you go

What: Clark County PubTalk. “Mythbusters: Raising Startup Capital.”

When: 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Where: Fort Vancouver Artillery Barracks, 600 E. Hatheway Road, Vancouver.

Cost: $30 online or at door; preregistration is encouraged.

Information: Southwest Washington Workforce Development Council

Members of Clark County's small but energetic cadre of entrepreneurial startups will be feasting next week on two big networking and educational events timed to coincide with the week's designation as Global Entrepreneur Week.

The first of those events, on Tuesday, is Clark County PubTalk, the popular bimonthly gathering for those engaged in local small businesses and startups. That event is from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Artillery Barracks building, 600 East Hatheway Road, on the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. Lead sponsors are the Columbia River Economic Development Council and the Southwest Washington Workforce Development Council.

The following evening, up to 150 technology company leaders and entrepreneurs will participate in a "Digital Innovation Showcase" in a downtown building that's aimed at becoming a launching pad for startups. That event, at the Gravitate Design Studio in downtown Vancouver, is also sponsored by CREDC and is by invitation only.

The PubTalk will be the last of this calendar year, and sponsors are hoping to ramp up energy on a common topic of startup financing with an energetic audience participation format. The event is titled "Mythbusters: Raising Startup Capital." CREDC sent out a mass email asking entrepreneurs to offer their top five common myths about obtaining startup financing to help shape the evening's presentation. Scott Sandler, fund manager for the Oregon Angel Fund in Portland since 2012, will be emcee responsible for sorting those comments into facts or myths.

"It's a fairly standard piece of content that we try to get in front of entrepreneurs with," said Sandler. "We're trying not to make it such a dry discussion. Common questions, Sandler said, include how to develop a funding strategy, the differences between venture capital and angel investment funding, and how to recognize when your company is ready to go after startup funding. Sandler will be joined by Jim Houston of the Portland Seed Fund.

The Nov. 20 Digital Innovation Showcase is a first-ever event for Southwest Washington. It's aimed at trying to bring together a number of innovative growth-oriented companies who often are unaware of each other, said Boonie Moore, the nonprofit vice president of business growth and innovation at the CREDC, one of many sponsors. One goal for the event, CREDC says, is to unveil a digital technology "brand identity" for Southwest Washington.

The showcase is also a celebration of the launch of a state Innovation Partnership Zone designation for the Vancouver/Camas area. The zone, one of 18 in the state, is called the Applied Digital Technology Accelerator and includes Vancouver's downtown and waterfront, as well as both sides of Southeast 192nd Avenue. The designation opens possibilities for funding of additional fiber-optic cable and development of a business incubator to develop technologies and talent.

The timing of both events in the same week is not coincidental, Moore said. They're both within the time boundaries of what is called Global Entrepreneurship Week,, a designation of entrepreneur-focused events that is coordinated by the Kauffman Foundation, a Kansas city-based startup booster and support organization.

Washington's Department of Commerce is one of the week's major sponsors, and both Clark County events are listed on the week's official calendar.