This week, MassChallenge held their annual Entrepalooza event at Royale Boston- an event aimed at bringing together Boston’s entrepreneurial and innovation community in order to connect them with existing resources in the city. At its most basic, Entrepalooza brings in vendors with resources and opportunities to share, while Boston’s startup community browses, mingles, and networks with said vendors. But that description sells the event short, as Entrepalooza has the atmosphere of a huge exclusive party, an atmosphere fostered by the Boston-staple nightlife location, a flowing cash bar, dimmed club-style lighting, and the bumping bass of top 40 dance music. Here are our top five takeaways from this year’s event.
1. Innovators do their research: Working the vendor table, Space & Community Manager for Workbar Boston Cheryl Centeno realized that most of the people she spoke with were already familiar with our coworking space and our brand. “I found that they were more interested in learning more about our mission, and how we differentiate ourselves.” The lesson here is that the entrepreneurial community in Boston is deeply engaged, and is looking beyond surface level branding for companies that truly complement their own values and ideas.
2. Catch more bees with free swag: Sure, maybe it’s a little disappointing that free stuff still equals a more crowded table. However, the fact of the matter is that good free swag reels people in, making it easier to make your pitch to a wider audience. We brought coffee, hoping to help counteract some of the booze and keep people perky, but pens, tees, and stickers were prevalent elsewhere. At an event like Entrepalooza, having something in your back pocket (or on your table) to help stand out in a swarming, buzzing, bass-fueled crowd is a must.
3. The Boston startup community is truly supportive: As a first time attendee of Entrepalooza, Cambridge Space & Community Manager Ann Holland was stunned not only by the turnout, the party atmosphere, and the variety of vendors tabling, but also by the collaborative vibe that permeated the event. She said, “In what could be a very competitive environment for both presenters and attendees, people approached each other with openness and enthusiasm. Everywhere I looked I saw people rekindling old connections and sparking vibrant new ones.” People were eager not only to share their own ideas and life’s work, but to hear from others and share new perspectives.
4. The Boston startup community is diverse: Most people have a perception of the startup community as being mostly tech-based. While tech makes up a significant portion of the community, events like Entrepalooza do a great job of challenging that stereotype. A surprising number of people we spoke with worked for nonprofits focusing on music, youth programming and more- not a group typically associated with the startup community. We also met people focusing on health and lifestyle, covering everything from filling last minute slots in fitness classes to making environmentally sustainable changes in the home affordable and accessible. Even better, we saw tons of female entrepreneurs making the rounds!
5. MassChallenge throws a great party: This one is self-explanatory for everyone who attended. For those who didn’t: make attending Entrepalooza next year a priority for you and your company. MassChallenge managed the difficult task of combining the productive and professional with the celebratory, and they pulled it off without a hitch.
To see tweets, photos, and more from this year’s Entrepalooza, check out our Storify!
About the Author: Ann Holland is a Space & Community Manager at Workbar Cambridge. You may also address her as Potroast. Catch her on Instagram and Twitter under the handle @SamuelEnderby
Subscribe to the Workbar blog for original content on entrepreneurship, the mobile work style and business topics such as management, productivity and team building. Our goal is to encourage and educate you on how to be a better worker! Follow Workbar on Twitter and Instagram and check out our Facebook page.