Entrepreneurs of all ages, experience levels to gather at local summit

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A three-day entrepreneurial summit, planned for Nov. 17-19 at the link in Nocatee, is expected to help experienced, novice and future entrepreneurs achieve their professional dreams.

ENTERCIRCLE 2021 is a multifaceted event designed to give participants the tools they need to succeed.

There will be a Youth Symposium on Wednesday, Nov. 17, for high school and college students ages 16-25. Topics will include financial literacy and entrepreneurism for 2022 and beyond.

The focus on Thursday, Nov. 18, will be start-ups and small businesses. This will include tips for success and tax and estate planning considerations for 2022 and beyond.

This will also be Pitch Day. Participants in the St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce’s Pitch Factory program will present their entrepreneurial ideas in an in-person competition. In addition, students and start-ups will have an opportunity to submit five-minute investor’s pitch presentations.

Friday, Nov. 19, will be Women’s Entrepreneurship Day. Highlights include: resources for women entrepreneurs, as well as a presentation on women in politics and another one on mental health.

All three days will include inspirational TED-style talks.

The summit is being organized by the nonprofit Sapna Foundation, and sponsors have made it possible for attendance to be free of charge.

An award ceremony will be held at the summit’s conclusion. Awards will be given for top innovative startups, top innovative ideas, top impactful ideas and top women-led nonprofits in Northeast Florida.

“The goal of the whole event is to see how we can help drive inspiration and help people nurture their ideas,” said link founder Raghu Misra in announcing the summit.

The need for this sharing of ideas borne out by statistics.

Isabel Renault, Chamber president and CEO, said 20% of small businesses fail within their first year. But, she said, “During the quarantine, Americas have filed new business applications at the fastest rate since 2007.”

She said the goal of the Chamber is to help ensure that entrepreneurs continue to thrive in St. Johns County. Toward that end, the Chamber will conduct its ongoing Pitch Factory training at the link. The Chamber members will also participate in panel discussions during Women’s Entrepreneurship Day.

Tera Meeks, St. Johns County Tourist Development Council executive director, represented the county at the announcement.

She explained the connection between entrepreneurship and the county’s top industry, tourism.

“We have a ton of unique local businesses here within St. Johns County, and most of those are entrepreneurial businesses,” she said. “The more individuals that we have successfully going into business — that helps to build our economy, helps to build our culture, helps to build our offerings, and it certainly helps to bring more people here.”

One need only to look at all the small businesses, restaurants, tourism venues and attractions to see how critical entrepreneurs are to the local economy.

To learn more about the summit, go to entercircle.zone.

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