Earlier this week I had the opportunity to participate in Dell’s Boston Think Tank for Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses (#smallbizboston) at the Cambridge Innovation Center. Dell billed the session as a chance for business owners, startups and others to come together to listen, learn, collaborate and share.
Instead of talking heads, the day was interactive from start to finish, with speakers who realized that they have as much to learn from attendees as the other way around. And instead of PowerPoint slides, dpict.info’s scribe captured the story as it unfolded, building this great infographic to sum up the day’s key conversations and insights.
Dell’s Entrepreneur in Residence, Ingrid Vanderveldt (who I spoke to in this video interview) kicked off the event with some interesting stats about how Boston small businesses view the current business environment and their ability access to capital, talent and technology. Whitney Johnson (@johnsonwhitney), Author of Dare, Dream, Do and Harvard Business Review Blogger and event moderator, introduced the 4 different themes for the day, each facilitated by a local small business expert:
From my perspective, some of the most interesting takeaways from the day were that small business owners:
Overall, the interactive format, access to experts and eclectic mix of small business owners added up to an event that gave attendees information and inspiration, and new connections with people to get help from and vice versa.
Dell put a lot into the event. In addition to Ingrid and a number of Dell marketing and AR staff, Dell product strategy, management and technology teams were also well represented. With its listening ears on at events such as this, Dell is taking the right steps not only to help small businesses succeed, but to also ensure that it has the insights it needs to provide small businesses with the solutions they need to move ahead.
The Boston event was the last stop on Dell’s inaugural Think Tank tour of nine cities, but I’m told that Dell intends to follow-up with a new tour schedule soon.
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