KEDA to hold business forum Oct. 24 in Bremerton

Forum begins at 3 p.m. at the Kitsap Conference Center; tickets start at $55

Regional experts in business, entrepreneurship, startups, technology and government affairs will converge for an annual forum sponsored by the Kitsap Economic Development Alliance on Thursday, Oct. 24, at the Kitsap Conference Center in Bremerton.

The event coined LAUNCH 2020 will kick off at 3 p.m. with internationally renowned speaker and business consultant Dave Parker, creator of the 6-month “Startup” program.

Parker is a longtime Seattle startup veteran and is the Washington Technology Industry Association chair for Startup Programs, former CEO of Code Fellows and a venture capitalist. Parker will be joined by 49th State Angel Fund director Joe Morrison for a conversation on their experiences helping companies grow from startup to enterprise, the importance of entrepreneurship to local economies and what communities can do to support them.

“As I travel, the most interesting intersection I see is between founders and their communities,” Parker said. “Some communities are helpful and supportive, others hostile and antagonistic. Yet nearly all net new job growth comes from these young firms. Eighty percent of startups will fail, yet founders look around a room of 100 people and know that the math doesn’t apply to them. They inspire me every day; that’s why I work with them.”

The speaker lineup further includes Ed Hallda of HEED CXO; Mike Hamilton of CI Security; Maureen Jann of SuperDeluxe Marketing; Chase Morgan of Bridge Partners; Johannes Schonberg of Naval Undersea Warfare Center – Keyport; Aljolynn Sperber of Lady Box; and Chris Wade of Alpha Ledger.

“The idea that innovation drives economic growth is undeniable,” said KEDA Tech Committee leader Ed Hallda. “What’s essential is the support of a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem via an intentionally connected community. We need to connect individuals. Connect companies. Be intentional about who and what those connections mean.”

Schonberg, director of the NUWC Keyport NavalX Tech Bridges, will speak on innovation within and in partnership with the government sector initiative that is expected to connect, reinforce and sustain acceleration ecosystems in off-base locations across the Department of the Navy.

The initiative will enable greater collaboration with non-traditional partners including start-ups, academia, corporations, small businesses, nonprofits, private capital and government entities to help solve nagging problems for the service and find ways to harness innovation, according to James Geurts, assistant secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, and Acquisition.

Registration for the KEDA Fall Forum is now open at Launch2020.bpt.me. Individual tickets begin at $55 and include appetizers and beverages. Doors will open at 2 p.m. Visit Kitsapeda.org/fallforum for additional details and speaker bios.

Editor’s note: Terry Ward, vice president of Sound Publishing and publisher for Kitsap News Group, is a member of the Kitsap Economic Development Alliance’s board of directors.

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