The Council for Entrepreneurial Development is rolling out a new series of half-day programs in 2004 that are geared to helping startups.

Titled Engage, the series is designed to focus on three areas:

  • Knowledge
  • Networks
  • Trends
  • Details for Engage, a series of half-day programs, will be announced today at the CED’s annual InfoTech conference in RTP. More than 700 entrepreneurs, executives and investors from around the Southeast already are registered to attend.

    “This really is an opportunity for us to get out there and create a program for members and prospective members that address specific topics,” says Adam Smith, CED’s director of entrepreneurial programs for the past 3 ½ years.

    After conducting a series of interviews with people, Smith says the CED put together a half-day program format that includes a keynote speaker, up to four concurrent panel discussions plus a networking event.

    “We want to create opportunities for entrepreneurs that are relevant to all businesses,” Smith tells Local Tech Wire. “It’s hard to get a cross-mingling of our membership and prospective members.

    “We also want to create a larger networking experience. We’ll bring in an expert for a keynote to provide macro view, then we’ll have specific topics boiled down for interactive panels so we actually can get down to the nitty-gritty.

    “We see the networking as the Star Wars bar scene where all the aliens come together in one place.”

    The first program in January will address financing.

    “We’ll talk about funding sources, grants, loans, venture capital, bootstrapping to exit, organic growth and governance,” Smith says.

    A session healthcare is set for February. The third session, about marketing, will take place in May. Specific dates have not been set for any of the three.

    Smith says the programs will last up to four hours in length, will be hosted at various locations, and will cost around $50.

    In a letter to CED partners, CED President Monica Doss says Engage “will explore the global marketplace through a unique blend of tactical workshops, thought-provoking speakers, and high performance networking — all in a few highly compressed hours.”

    The InfoTech forum today will include a wide variety of speakers and technology presentations from more than 20 companies.

    For details, see: