Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Ignite... Coming Back to Blow You Away

Mayor Benjamin and President Pastides Let the Sparks Fly in Support of EngenuitySC Ignite! 2011
Explosive video features community’s top leaders and entrepreneurs supporting entrepreneurship contest and local non-profit

EngenuitySC is back for the 8th time with their annual award-winning conference Ignite, and this year they’re letting the sparks fly with a promotional feature video sure to leave you scorched.

With the swift yet casual toss of a lighter by a markedly stoic Mayor Stephen Benjamin, the two and a half minute feature video explodes into a neon-lit series featuring President Pastides of the University of South Carolina, President Marshall “Sonny” White of Midlands Technical College, Columbia’s Director of Economic Development Jim Gambrell. The leaders participated to show support for some of Columbia’s most dynamic grassroots leaders and entrepreneurs featured in the video including Executive Director Katherine Swartz of Columbia Opportunity Resource, founder of Caroline Guitars Philippe Herdon, and President and Owner of DP Professionals
Barbara Blau.

The video is designed to share clips from previous years of the fast-paced annual innovation celebration, recipient of the 2010 Excellence in Economic Development award from the International Economic Developers Council, but its sure to leave anyone who watches ready to join the conference’s call and “start something,” the theme for the night. The celebration, based on a hybrid of the popular TedX and Pecha-Kucha engagement formats, showcases Columbia’s homegrown talent in every facet from its mix of established and rising innovators and entrepreneurs as speakers, to the shark tank contest theme, to local cuisine, right down to the upstart firm Dinobrite Productions hired to produce the video.

The evening will open with a reception featuring some of Columbia’s best local culinary artists including the popular food truck 2 Fat 2 Fly and renowned, all-local caterer Spotted Salamander who will feature a menu of locally harvested and prepared southern cuisine.

The first half of the program, focused heavily on entrepreneurs who set up shop in our backyard, will feature 5 high impact speakers including Natalie Brown of Alternacirque, Dean Tony Ambler of USC’s College of Engineering and Computer Sciences, CEO Terry Brown of Edens & Avant, Founder of Caroline Guitar Philippe Herdon, and more. The speakers, who collectively exemplify the organization’s mission to create knowledge, recruit talent, foster entrepreneurs, and give Columbia the competitive advantage it needs to thrive, will speak on the successes, failures, excitement, struggles, and inspiration behind their own endeavors. More will come on each speaker as the event draws closer.

The IGNITE! Columbia Competition will make up the second portion of the evening’s events building on the speakers’ discussions. Contestants will have until October 16 to record a video describing how their idea will change Columbia in support of the conference’s theme “Start something…” and upload it to YouTube. Contestants will then submit a link to their YouTube video to Two finalists will be selected from the submissions by a panel of judges and will be given a chance to pitch their idea to an estimated 500 attendees live at the conference. Audience members will vote on site to select the winner who will receive a hefty check of seed capital to go out and plant their idea.

“The contest is about ideas with really start something” said Greg Hilton, Senior Project Manager at EngenuitySC. “Whether you’re a researcher, technologist, serial entrepreneur, activist, culture vulture, or policy maker, we know Columbians are full ideas that can inspire and reinvent the community. Ignite! demonstrates that anyone can be a catalyst for change in the knowledge economy.”

And clearly businesses around the community see purpose and meaning in the conference. From the state’s largest institutions down to its newest firms, organizations are lining up to get a chance to invest in Ignite!. Anchors BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina and Wells Fargo have already signed on for the top sponsorship levels, while other organizations such as Cyberwoven, Dinobrite Productions, Midlands Technical College, the Moore School of Business at USC, and University of South Carolina-Innovista have pledged contributions.

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011
The Zone @ Williams-Brice Stadium
Tickets are $30 
Tickets and Sponsorships available now at

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