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Wichita innovators encouraged to attend Pipeline’s regional event

  • Published Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013, at 11:28 p.m.

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Tickets for the Innovator of the Year event start at $185 each. More information is available at www.pipelineentrepreneurs.com/ioty2012/

Kansas has held the stage alone for six years at Pipeline’s Innovator of the Year event, and Wichita has been a key player. Now with Pipeline’s regional expansion it is more important than ever that Wichita attend in significant numbers.

This year’s IOTY event on Jan. 24 provides even more opportunity for Wichita entrepreneurs, investors and small business advocates to make connections, gain insights and see why Pipeline is the most innovative and effective program of its kind — as well as the substantial part Wichita has played in that success.

Wichita has a history of being a strong, vibrant entrepreneurial and technology community. Sometimes, however, it seems as though so many things center on the Kansas City area, that Wichita is in danger of being overlooked. We have years of Pipeline entrepreneurs hailing from Wichita, and we are all still engaged with each other and our regional peers. It is important that the rest of Wichita leverage this relationship and keep us front and center with the other cities in the Midwest as the entrepreneurial efforts continue. Collaboration as part of this region matters to us, and Pipeline is our ally in this.

Wichita entrepreneurs who attend the daylong event will rub elbows with national business leaders and angel investors who are there to discover talented innovators with big potential. For entrepreneurs who are interested in applying to Pipeline, IOTY offers the best view of the program in action. Entrepreneurs can talk with the Pipeline fellows in this year’s class, as well as Pipeline members from past classes.

Wichita investors looking for deals will see some of the most investable companies in the Midwest. The Pipeline fellows who will pitch their companies at the IOTY event are in a different league. They are concluding one of the most powerful and effective entrepreneurial programs in the country, during which they examined every aspect of their business in consultation with top national business advisers. The Pipeline fellows have honed their skills and built the knowledge and strategy to accelerate their company growth. Wichita investors will hear from brilliant people with great ideas talking about how they’re going to scale their businesses.

In addition to boosting the growth of high-performance entrepreneurs, Pipeline also is working to create a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem throughout the region. Business leaders in Wichita who are working to build small business support systems will have the chance to get an inside look at what makes Pipeline so effective, as they make connections that can help them create and strengthen entrepreneurial programs in Wichita and Southeast Kansas.

The event attracts 600 to 700 people who aren’t just there to applaud the awards, they are there to see innovative companies tell their stories, as well as to network, make connections and celebrate entrepreneurial achievement.

Brian Williamson is president and CEO of JCB Laboratories in Wichita and is a Pipeline member. He and his wife, Tron Williamson, are regional honorary chairs for Pipeline’s Innovator of the Year to take place on Jan. 24 in Kansas City.

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