With a philosophy of “making friends, not contacts,” Startup Grind continues to create waves in the Triangle’s entrepreneurial community. The next big wave – possibly a tsunami – will come when the “Grinders” put on a big tech conference in October.

While the Council for Entrepreneurial Development and other groups have put on events targeting startups for years, Startup Grind has emerged as a major player with a series of events featuring high-profile speakers focusing on all things startup. Over the past three years, “Grinders” and “Keep on grinding” have become part of the ecosystem dialog.

Now comes the all-day showcase on Oct. 11 that features a cadre of speakers as good as – if not better than – many events ranging from CED’s upcoming Tech Venture to this fall’s Internet Summit from Triangle Media.

Leading the charge is Mark Bavisotto, the Triangle Chapter Director and Regional Director (America East) for Startup Grind, which operates globally and continues to grow as an entrepreneurial force with the support of Google for

“We believe in making friends, not contacts,” he says.

“We believe in giving, not taking.

“We believe in helping others before helping yourself.entrepreneurs.”

In a Q&A with The Skinny, Bavisotto talks about the Grinders and their mission.

  • What factors will make your conference different from others?

For the past couple years I’ve attended various conferences in the area and felt like the price and agenda didn’t match the value. We made it our goal to find the best speakers and match them with topics that our attendees would be most interested in learning about.

For anyone reading this, our top three reason for attending this conference are:

1. The Speakers and Topics: You won’t find any conference in the area with a better lineup than what we’re offering.

2. Google for Entrepreneurs Startup Feature: Our partners at Google have made it a point to showcase up and coming companies in the Triangle. During this showcase, attendees will be able to hear about what these companies are about with the hope of making meaningful connections to future employees and partners.

3. Networking: This conference is going to embody what our values are at Startup Grind

  • Why did Startup Grind decide to do the conference?

I think we can tie this answer back to the [previous] question you asked me. As entrepreneurs, when we see a gap in the market, we spring into action.

This area’s tech scene is growing at such a rapid pace, that it become very evident to our team that we needed to do this. There’s a lot of smoke and mirrors out there today, and our goal is to throw a conference where the value matches the price tag. I think some platforms in the area today have fallen victim to being comfortable. When you get comfortable, your failure to innovate becomes very noticeable.

As soon as we saw that, we jumped at the opportunity to do this.

  • A key part of the October event is presentations from startups. Please tell me about startups and the Google for Entrepreneurs startup feature. What’s required? And how will winner(s) be determined?

We will be featuring 10 of the most promising local startups that meet the criteria for the Google credits. These startups must be below $5 million in funding and $500,000 in revenue.

Each startup selected will get two minutes to give a quick pitch live on stage and state what their biggest challenge is to date.

We hope that people in the crowd will connect with these startups to help solve their most pressing need.

  • How Startup Grind is doing in the Triangle. Your events seem to draw well, and you feature good speakers.

Startup Grind Triangle is growing at a very nice pace in the area. We have brought on Keith Washo as an assistant director and his energy alone will help take us to the next level.

Startup Grind as a whole has 250 chapters in 100 countries with a network of over 1 million entrepreneurs. Having this type of Global support is going to make Startup Grind Triangle the most sought after event and startup resource in the area.

Keep grinding.

Special offer from Startup Grind Triangle:

“As a thank you to your subscribers for taking time to read this, I would like to offer them 30% off a conference ticket.”