Seeking to create a “South By Southwest” event that has turned into such an economic and cultural boon for Austin, Texas, a group of leaders in Durham roll out their first “Paradoxos” cultural and business event beginning today.

A two-day mixture of business, beer, music and fun combines “Pitch Day” from the Triangle Startup Factory, a series of parties and concerts and a TED-like series of discussions about the “next big thing” put on by the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce.

The brainchild of several leading thinkers and promoters in the Bull City, Paradoxos is branded as a “maximum collision of people and ideas.”

“Pitch Day” begins at 10 a.m. at the Carolina Theater where the current startups completing the business accelerator program at the Startup Factory make pitches to potential investors.

A TED-event like series of discussions organized by Casey Steinbacher of the Chamber is set for Friday afternoon.

Music, beer and food will serve as the overall links to the showcase.

“We want to plant the best creative and entrepreneurial minds in a cool downtown space and see what happens,” says Adam Klein, one of the leaders of the project who heads development at the American Underground, a shared business space at the American Tobacco Historic District for startups. “When you add in Durham’s great food, beer, and music that’ll be on display, this festival will be part spectacle and part community building—ripe for new ideas. We want to create an event that brings together the diverse talents from across the community and make everyone feel at home.”

Chris Heivly of the Startup Factory, Steinbacher of the Durham Chamber, Joan Siefert Rose of the Council for Entrepreneurial Development, Klein, Matthew Coppedge of Downtown Durham, other people and groups are among those pitching in to shape the Paradoxos concept.

Steinbacher likes the Paradoxos term since it points to bringing together creative people, or as Heivly describes it: A place where the “Triangle’s best and brightest misfits collide.”

The groups and individuals are seeking to take all the “buzz” about Durham – from being a “tastiest town” to one of “America’s smartest cities” – to higher levels of recognition, thus bringing job seekers, new businesses and more economic growth.

Keynote Speakers for the Chamber event include:

  •  David Baldwin, Founder – Baldwin&
  • John BIggs, East Coast Editor – TechCrunch
  • Paul Singh, Founder –, Entrepreneur in Residence – White House Office of Science and Technology and Dept. of Homeland Security
  • Additional Speakers: Dr. Nancy Creamer – Center for Environmental Farming Systems, NCSU; Alison Dorsey – LinkedIn; Taj Forer – Daylight Digital; Dr. Brian Hare – Canines, Inc.; Allison Myers – Counter Tools; Taylor Mingos – Shoeboxed; Anthony Pompliano – Digaforce; Dick Rogers – Bayer Bee Care Center; Sam Stevenson – Rock Fish Stew Institute of Literature and Materials

Event information and schedules are available online.