Tune into several short interviews with a few contestants from The Gigabit Challenge Finale on Think Big Radio! These interviews were conducted immediately after Group 4 presented at The Gigabit Challenge...and trust us: you can hear the adrenaline in their voices! Listen up, tune in and Think Big!
Businesses in Kansas City have some big ideas for Google's new fiber network, although they still don't know if they'll be able to use it once it goes online.
That's because Google originally conceived its experimental fiber network as a fiber-to-the-home network for residential users. But given the enthusiasm that Google has seen from the community as a whole, the company is now thinking about extending its fiber network's capabilities to enterprise customers if its residential rollout is successful.
IT BEGINS: Google 'ready to lay fiber' in Kansas City
But as Google spokeswoman Jenna Wandres says, this will require rethinking the company's infrastructure plans since business-class services require more than just the single fiber cable that residential homes will get for their Web connections. So any fiber rollout to businesses won't happen at least until Google finishes building out its FTTH network for consumers. And since official construction of the experimental fiber network only started earlier this month, there is no estimated timetable for when the network could become available for the enterprise.
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It’s not THAT often when successful presentation tips can make a 6-figure financial difference in your career, but that was the case recently in Kansas City. I attended the Gigabit Challenge Finale in Kansas City recently where 17 finalists (individuals or teams) made the last presentation pitch for winning $450,000 in cash and services. Organized by Think Big Partners, the Gigabit Challenge was a global competition centered on the prospects for taking advantage of the Google Fiber initiative under development in Kansas City.
While I admired the creative ideas and hard work that the Gigabit Challenge finalists demonstrated, the PowerPoint presentations were, for the most part, underwhelming.
Presenters faced a panel of 17 contest judges (mostly from the legal and financial worlds), another 250 members of the live audience, and an online audience that averaged about that same number. Each presenter had ten minutes to present their idea and five minutes for questions from the contest judges.
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On January 23, Sen. Moran spoke on the Senate floor about his role as the lead Senate Republican in opposition to PIPA, the importance of innovation, and the Startup Act. America is a country of innovation that was founded on freedom and opportunity. Sen. Moran believes we can jump-start the economy through the creation and growth of new businesses.
There's an old adage that the best way to describe a job you love is that you would do it for free. I'm fortunate enough in my role in Microsoft that I've been able to experience that opportunity by working and meeting with investors, entrepreneurs and startups from all walks of life and from all over the world. It's afforded me the chance to develop a perspective – often one that is at odds with conventional wisdom about where the action is. This is an occasional series where I'll share that perspective with Silicon Prairie News readers.
If we look at Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska and the Dakotas there is something special occurring. There's an active culture of entrepreneurship that is curated by Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. There’s a robust community of incubators and co-working spaces with the likes of Pipeline, Nebraska Global, Think Big Partners and Bizperc. Finally, there's a robust local community and technology press with events like Big Omaha, Thinc Iowa and Silicon Prairie News.
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Gigabit Challenge organizer Herb Sih turned a potentially embarrassing mid-event development into a moment of pride for the techies who poured into the Kansas City Public Library’s plaza branch on Jan. 18.
But the results of the much-anticipated entrepreneurship contest tied to Google Inc.’s to-be launched network in the Kansas Cities still may have some locals with their tails between their legs.
Sih, managing partner of ThingBig Partners LLC, asked the 250-plus crowd that had showed for the competition (dubbed @GBChallengeKC on Twitter) to give themselves a round of applause.
For the first time in library history, high usage had shut down the Plaza Branch’s free Wi-Fi network, putting smartphones, tablets — including this reporter’s iPad — and other devices in the dark for the latter part of the technology-inspired event. The announcement was met with smiles, clapping and laughter. A Google spokeswoman later told the audience she’d emailed her employer to tell engineers just how much the 1-gigabit high-speed Internet network was needed in Kansas City in light of the technical difficulties.
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Think Big Partners announced the launch of Think Big Nation on Wednesday night at The Gigabit ChallengeFinale in Kansas City. Herb Sih, co-founder of Think Big Partners, declared Think Big Nation to be the umbrella that will encapsulate the recent efforts of Think Big Partners and its network partners that will challenge the way entrepreneurship works and how successful startups are formed. In addition, Sih revealed four other Think Big Partners announcements including the expansion of the Think Big Conference, the creation of a second Kansas City coworking space, the development of Think Big’s first accelerator class and the beginning of investment in early-stage startups.
Think Big Nation
Think Big Partners announced the launch of Think Big Nation and its effort to fundamentally change the way entrepreneurship works, how successful startups are formed and how ideas are turned into profitable companies. Think Big Nation will be the overarching “not only for profit” model that creates more successful startups everywhere with Think Big Nation Network Partners.
“We are excited to launch Think Big Nation and create a nationwide network that connects entrepreneurs, ideas, innovation, opportunities, services and capital,” said Think Big Partners co-founder Herb Sih. “We will continue to build out our Think Big Network Partner platform by finding the best partners possible nationwide.”
Think Big Conference
Think Big Partners also announced the expansion of the annual Think Big Conference. Think Big Conferences are premier events for entrepreneurs, investors and startups and can be hosted in any city. The 2012 Think Big Conference lineup includes Kansas City, Baltimore and Memphis with more coming soon. For more information about the Think Big Conference or to host the conference in your city, please click here.
The third annual Think Big Kansas City conference will take place in the fall of 2012 in partnership with the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. The partnership between the two will allow Kansas City entrepreneurs, investors and startups to have access to even more inspirational speakers, business presenters and networking opportunities.
In order to facilitate the growth of entrepreneurship in Kansas City, Think Big Partners and Five Elms Capital will launch a second coworking space in the fall of 2012 in Prairie Village, Kansas. The coworking space is called KCCowork and will be the first Think Big Network Provider in the Think Big Nation Network alongside its downtown KC coworking neighbor, bizperc.
First Accelerator Class
Think Big Partners also announced the creation of its first accelerator class. This spring, Think Big Partners will select candidates from The Gigabit Challenge contestants and other startups in the Midwest to participate in its first class. The companies chosen for the accelerator class will receive one-on-one mentoring and pitch coaching from Think Big Partners that will prepare them for the Flyover Fieldtrip, a trip to Silicon Valley to meet with Bay-area investors and funders.
Lastly, Think Big Partners announced that they will begin investing in technology-focused, early-stage startups. The model has been put in place to better facilitate the growth of entrepreneurship in the Midwest and across the country and to make capital more accessible to entrepreneurs involved in Think Big initiatives.
About Think Big Partners:
Think Big Partners is a technology-focused, early-stage startup accelerator and mentorship-based collaborative network located in Kansas City, Missouri. Think Big Partners has successfully launched and grown over 100 successful companies with its creation of coworking spaces, entrepreneurial conferences, essential services, startup resources and funding. To learn more about Think Big Partners, please call (816) 842-5244 or visithttp://www.thinkbigpartners.com.
What Psychiatry and Mental Health Advocacy can learn from the Google Gigabit Challenge Finale in Kansas City
Our business, Wellness Wordworks, was nominated as a semifinalist for Google’s Gigabit Challenge. Our mental health advocacy business plan creates care so efficient that people in distress can pay for it themselves. Wellness Wordworks’ product/service plan will use a video call in support line employing people who have moved beyond their diagnoses to help others get unstuck. We’ll also help people increase their online presence and get online for the first time. Our video based call in line will be a favorite resource for the many people who are uncomfortable with the rapid changes in technology.
Our business wasn’t selected for the finals yesterday because we still have some details to work out about income sources and startup costs. We’ll be ready for the second round – bring it on! I spent all day at the Google Gigabit Challenge Finale Event in Kansas City yesterday. As I witnessed the diverse and exciting presentations, several key points struck me as very salient and applicable to the world of mental health advocacy, which I’ve summarized here.
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After some three hours of business-plan pitches and an entire day's worth of events, SEIN Analytics and Asset Management emerged from a field of 16 finalists to earn the grand prize at the Gigabit Challenge finale today in Kansas City, Mo.*
A global business plan competition sponsored by Kansas City's Think Big Partners and focused on unique applications enabled by Google's one-gigabit fiber network that's coming to Kansas City this year, the Gigabit Challenge started with 113 entrants and was whittled down to 39 semi-finalists before 19 finalists were eventually chosen for today's event.
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