ExitEvent news: How Triangle Entrepreneurship Week inspired Forward City
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Editor's note: ExitEvent and WRALTechWire will be cooperating in presenting news about the region's entrepreneurial sector. Today, ExitEvent Editor Laura Baverman talks with Jon Leonardo about the transformation of Triangle Entrepreneurship Week into Forward City.
RALEIGH, N.C. - Jon Leonardo was an Elon University junior when he won a summer job in Washington D.C. that changed the direction of his career.
Wednesday, the co-founder of Triangle Entrepreneurship Week announced a new brand for his popular events— Forward City—and a plan to hold them in 200 global cities over the next several years. He's got big name sponsors and directors in 12 U.S. cities already on board to aid the launch.
But it was his humble beginnings at Elon, the mentorship of a well-connected D.C.-area entrepreneur and the by-in of the Triangle region that helped Leonardo develop a business he believes fills a niche in startup training and can help more people around the world build successful companies.
Leonardo was already interested in startups when he moved to D.C. that summer—he'd built a laundry business serving Elon's student population and started a charity lacrosse organization. But during that summer, he and two partners (one his mentor and now Forward City advisor) planned a week of entrepreneurial events to be held in D.C. that fall. And the week was so successful that Leonardo planned an Entrepreneurship Week in Raleigh after his May 2011 graduation.
When more cities began to request Entrepreneurship Weeks for their startup communities, Leonardo saw an opportunity to grow and brand the series. In January 2013, he left a consulting job to pursue the business full-time. He planned eight weeklong events last year, and set a goal to develop a business model to grow even more.
Read the full story at ExitEvent.
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