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Features AdvantageWest is sponsoring networking, professional development event set for May 5

AdvantageWest is sponsoring networking, professional development event set for May 5

Registration is now open for Carolina Connect 2011, coming May 5 at Renaissance Asheville.

Carolina Connect is Western North Carolina’s signature event for connecting entrepreneurs and investors across the region and beyond. Registration is now open, with special early bird rates of $110 per person, which includes a breakfast reception, lunch, and post-conference refreshments and beverages on the terrace. This much anticipated event is Thursday, May 5, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Renaissance Asheville (registration and pre-conference breakfast begins at 7:30 a.m.).

Carolina Connect is a full day of networking, professional development and idea-sharing. Produced by AdvantageWest in partnership with Mountain BizWorks, this is sure to be the best attended Carolina Connect conference since its start in 2002.

This year’s lunchtime keynote speaker is Peter Shankman, a globally recognized PR and social media entrepreneur, author and angel investor. He travels roughly 300,000 miles a year speaking and consulting - by the end of February alone he will have traveled to London, Frankfurt, South Africa, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Las Vegas, Atlanta, and his hometown of New York City, with other recent trips to Saudi Arabia, Tokyo, Thailand, Mexico and major cities across the U.S.

Shankman has appeared in countless national publications, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Daily News, USA Today, the Associated Press and Reuters. He has also appeared on CNN, MSNBC and Fox News.

Throughout the morning and afternoon, breakout educational sessions will provide key concepts and ideas for entrepreneurs at all stages of business development, as well as investors. These will be organized within three concurrent tracks focused on innovation and high growth, green business initiatives, and capital and finance.

The popular Critical Conversations Networking Cafe is back with a dynamic series of new topics relevant to trends in the global economy. Join peers and industry professionals for up-close-and-personal discussions in a fun, interactive environment.

Carolina Connect sponsorships available

AdvantageWest and Mountain BizWorks, both nonprofit organizations, rely on the generosity of sponsorships to bring this day of professional development and networking opportunities to the business community at an affordable price.

AdvantageWest’s entrepreneurial development program and VERVE, a monthly magazine targeting WNC women in the arts, business, fashion and design, continue to accept submissions for the VERVE-aciously BIG Idea Business Plan Competition, a contest for women entrepreneurs. The winner of the business plan competition for women entrepreneurs will be announced during Carolina Connect. Deadline to enter is April 1.

The competition targets women-owned, for-profit businesses, both established ventures seeking expansion and would-be entrepreneurs with ideas for a startup. A total of $10,000 in cash, prizes, business support services and expert advice will be awarded.

Businesses participating in the competition must be located in the 23- county region served by AdvantageWest. The contest is open to businesses in any industry segment, though high-growth businesses or those that use technology in an innovative way are encouraged to participate.

AdvantageWest is the regional economic development partnership serving the 23 westernmost counties of North Carolina. Chartered by the state General Assembly in 1994, AdvantageWest is a nonprofit, public-private partnership governed by a 21-member board of directors. Our program of work focuses on advanced manufacturing, entrepreneurial development, agribusiness, and the green economy. AdvantageWest also maintains the WNC Film Commission.





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