Persistence, passion, drive and vision are hallmarks of the entrepreneurial spirit. Sometimes nothing can reinvigorate and propel those traits more than surrounding yourself with like-minded people.
Opportunities to network with other entrepreneurs may be routine and local, either physically or digitally. But don’t overlook the value of conferences designed to let you rub elbows with a lot of inspirational folk within a concentrated period.
As a leader, you need to cover a wide swath of know-how, particularly if you’re starting a new venture or looking to grow your brand. It’s essential to know the difference between an angel investor and a venture capitalist, between cloud-native and cloud-enabled technology, between growth marketing and growth hacking. Entrepreneur conferences put you in the room with those who can teach you what they’ve learned about the range of things you need to know to succeed.
Looking to level up your expertise in 2023? Surrounding yourself with global entrepreneurial talent may provide just the spark you need. If you want to realize your dreams, you should check out these seven opportunities for growth.
EY aims to build a better working world by creating long term value for clients, people and society and through building confidence and trust in the capital markets around the globe. One way it does this is through its support of entrepreneurship. EY has recognized the world’s best entrepreneurs and business leaders through its Entrepreneur Of The Year program (Disclosure: I was an award recipient in 2016). In addition, EY produces the EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women program and Entrepreneurs Access Network to support, engage and connect women and Black and Hispanic entrepreneurs to its entrepreneurial ecosystem. AJ Jordan, EY Americas Entrepreneur of the Year Director, mentioned that “tools, networks, expertise, connecting to investment, and investing time into what’s going to help grow your business model is key to truly supporting these groups. Doing actionable things can produce real results for these leaders.”
2. Summit At Sea: May 18-21, 2023; Off the Port of Miami
If you’re seeking inspiration, join a curated community of entrepreneurs, artists, academics, philanthropists, scientists, authors, explorers, chefs and more for precisely that. You must be a member of the Summit community to claim a spot at this space-limited, sea-going event. If you’re a leader in your field and a friendly individual who echoes Summit’s principles, you’re likely a shoo-in for membership. There’s no list of speakers yet, but if past Summit stars like Eric Schmidt, Gary Vaynerchuk and Carla Hall are any indication, they’re bound to be impressive. It doesn’t hurt that it’s on a cruise ship that somewhat prevents leaders from being distracted by the outside demands of their life.
Forbes’s annual list of 30 entrepreneurs under the age of 30 in 20 different industries consists of rock-star talent that is changing the world. The honorees and other entrepreneurs gather at the Under 30 Summit annually in October to celebrate those who made the list and inspire others to shake things up. Past speakers have included listers like Kickstarter’s Everette Taylor and Grammy-winning rapper Megan Thee Stallion. You can also hear from Forbes’s editors and writers and even a few elders like AOL’s Steve Case and Etsy’s Josh Silverman, both past presenters.
4. Inc. 5000: October 2023; Location TBA
You’re probably familiar with Inc.’s annual list of the 5,000 fastest-growing companies. Every October, the magazine hosts a three-day conference that concludes with a black-tie gala honoring those who make the list. The conference offers chances to network and hear from Inc.’s editors. But there are also panels and keynotes by entrepreneurs who have become household names, such as “Shark Tank’s” Daymond John and SoulCycle’s Elizabeth Cutler. Applications for this prestigious list open in January, so make 2023 the year you give it a shot.
This one-day event is much more than a meet-and-greet opportunity for entrepreneurs and CEOs of privately held businesses from around the world. It provides an opportunity for you to connect with investors managing trillions of dollars who are seeking to fund start-ups and companies wanting to grow. You can find out what private-equity investors are looking for in your industry, and they can learn what innovative ideas entrepreneurs are dreaming up. The agenda is also filled with panel discussions about issues in global mergers and acquisitions and capital markets.
If you missed Salesforce’s Dreamforce conference in San Francisco in September, don’t worry. You can watch more than 1,000 motivating sessions for entrepreneurs and for pros in marketing, sales, IT, client services and more on demand. Even better, you can see this amazing array of talented speakers and panelists for free. All you need to do is sign up for a free Salesforce account and sort through sessions by role, industry and topic. Get inspired now by watching video, then plan to attend the 2023 Dreamforce event in person.
7. Thrive Summit 2023: April 11-13, 2023; Salt Lake City
The Summit At Sea isn’t the only place you may encounter the influence of serial entrepreneur Richard Branson. Virgin Pulse provides cloud-based solutions for employee health and well-being with an aim to create a happier, healthier and more productive workforce. In April, the company hosts its 10th Thrive Summit, bringing together thought leaders and entrepreneurs for three days of inspiration. If you can’t make Thrive Summit in person, Virgin Pulse livestreams the events to a global audience, so no one needs to miss out.
For many entrepreneurs, events like these have been life-changing. Lessons learned, connections made, and networks expanded have pushed them from having great ideas to building impressive ventures. Try surrounding yourself with inspiration in 2023 and see where it leads you.