Start Norfolk 5 is September 19th-21st, just a couple of weeks away. We’ve attended several of the past Start Norfolk events and this year decided it was such an important community event that we’re sponsoring it as well.

Of course this is a great event for entrepreneurs to pitch their business ideas and receive invaluable feedback from judges and mentors, but there’s more to it than that. For those not pitching, attending is not only a great time but makes for a great event to reconnect with colleagues and make new connections leading to immediate and future opportunities.

If you’re still undecided, here are five reasons why you should consider attending:

A Regional Community Event

Sure, the name of the event highlights just one of the region’s cities. The identification of a specific city often puts off those that don’t live or work in that city, so let’s address that first. This event is not limited to anyone from any city. Instead it’s a regional event for anyone from our area (or really from anywhere).

So is the name “Norfolk” part of the event name? Because Norfolk is the most recognizable city name to people that are not from our region. It’s much better than using using Hampton Roads, 757, or any of the other regional nicknames that are only recognizable by people that live here. Lets face it…does anyone outside of this immediate region know what Hampton Roads or 757 are or where they’re located?

Discover What’s Hot

Fads come and go, but trends last for much longer. At events like Start Norfolk you’ll hear what people are working on and what they think are valid business ideas. Will you hear buzz about new social media concepts, if Bitcoin is taking over the world economy, or if mobile has killing the web? Yes, probably. But are they fads or longer-term trends? That’ll be up to you to decide, but you will at least be exposed to what people are talking about and doing and will have the information to spot a fad/trend at its origin. Once spotted, it could be the insight you’ve been waiting for to jump on something early in its lifecycle.

Rekindle Relationships

Since Start Norfolk is a community event of business and technology entrepreneurs and professionals, you’ll be surrounded by like-minded people. There’s a very high chance you will bump into an old coworker, employer or client, giving you the opportunity to find out how they’re doing and what existing projects they’re working on. In an entrepreneurial environment like Start Norfolk, and talking with old colleagues about their work related problems, think that kind of networking will to opportunities? You bet!

Find Your Next Opportunity

If an opportunity doesn’t present itself from networking, which it likely will, you can pitch an idea. Pitch and see if others are interested in helping you to better flesh out the idea and to help start building it. Or if pitching isn’t your thing, listen to the pitches and find a business idea or entrepreneur that you can relate to. If you’re interested in helping them, they will likely have you on their team. Meaning you just found your next side project (which can lead to learning new skills, opening new doors with others, etc).

Great Speakers. Great Beer!

There are five great speakers lined up for the weekend. All are proven entrepreneurs with valuable insight and advice. Speakers include Aneesh Chopra, the former (and first ever) US Chief Technology Officer and Michael Karnjanaprakorn, the CEO of Skillshare.

And last, but not least…Yes, beer will be served. A good friend of ours, Zack Miller, who is the founder of Start Norfolk and Hatch, is often overheard citing the community building merits of microbreweries. they bring people together and keep them there long enough for ideas to be exchanged. it won’t exactly be a microbrewery setting, but the effect will be the same. a beer or two certainly loosens things up enough to help with good old-fashioned networking.

Tickets are still on sale. Hope to see you there.