Connecticut’s annual celebration of innovation and entrepreneurship
“If you look at history, innovation doesn’t just come from giving people incentives; it comes from creating environments where their ideas can connect.”– Steven Johnson, science author and media theorist
For two years – soon to be three – hundreds of innovators and thousands of curious and creative minds have joined together during Stamford Innovation Week (SiW), a celebration of innovation and entrepreneurialism that exploded onto the Connecticut entrepreneurial scene in 2017.
Developed for entrepreneurs, investors, business leaders, designers and service providers, SiW combines events, seminars, workshop sand fun into nine days of learning, creative cross-fertilization, and unparalleled networking opportunities. And while this year could be its most challenging yet, as most activity moves online, it also offers an unprecedented chance to involve a more global audience.
“It’s tough recreating the vibe and social experience of SiW in the virtual world, but we’re planning some creative programming that we think will recreate the path for networking and interaction that on-site social programs offered,” said Jon Winkel, executive director and one of the founders of SiW. “But we were already developing ideas in that direction, as we’re finding tremendous interest globally in our events. Last year we already had people participating who came from across the country and from other nations, too. Now we’ll be able to offer even more interaction between local, national, and global participants.”
SiW was launched as part of a larger vision to drive innovation and entrepreneurship in Connecticut. Winkel and the other founders realized that creating a vibrant community where people with an idea can plug into an existing network/ecosystem that can help them transform the idea into reality.
Last year, SiW hosted 20 events including conferences, workshops featuring 150 speakers including entrepreneurs (IPO-exited and scaling), academics, authors, investors and more. More than 2,500 companies were represented as sponsors and program participants. Topics covered everything from blockchain to Python, smart cities to digital security, marketing, media, and much more.
Winkel says the relatively young “idea festival” has already had an impact, building connections between corporations, entrepreneurs, investors and media – even leading to the writing and publication of two books. One noteworthy benefit of its presence: talent matching. SiW has helped numerous companies, from startups to global corporations, find the right talent in both the rapidly expanding tech and innovation Stamford market and further afield.
For more information about Stamford Innovation Week, visit siweek.org.