Where do you think America will be in 2062?
Fifty years ago, in the midst of the Cold War, the Space Age, and JFK’s presidency, the 21st century was a nearly unfathomable dream of the future. Nevertheless, in 1962, millions of American dreamers converged on the country’s far northwestern corner for a glimpse into the future at the Seattle World’s Fair, officially known as the Century 21 Exposition. This year, the city of Seattle looks forward once again, by looking back at the progress made since the World’s Fair and considering the “Next Fifty.”
As a part of this visioning process, the Office of Advocacy—with cosponsors Northwest Entrepreneur Network, The Seattle Center Foundation, and GeekWire.com—is hosting a free one-day event in Seattle on September 19. The conference will focus on public-private partnerships that encourage innovation and entrepreneurship. The event will feature panels of entrepreneurs who together have created 21st century startups for such innovations as rooftop gardening, Internet games, interactive news for geeks, and crowdfunding. Other discussions will highlight organizations like Startup Weekend whose events bring entrepreneurs together to start companies (did I mention in just 54 hours?!). Many of these startups’ nimble, tech-savvy ideas, although unheard of in 1962, had distant roots in 1960s technology such as the big, unwieldy mainframe computers of the day.
The program begins with a welcome from Region 10 Advocate Jennifer Clark and introductions to the Office of Advocacy (also unheard of in 1962) by Chief Counsel Winslow Sargeant and Deputy Chief Counsel Claudia Rodgers. University of Washington President Michael K. Young will deliver the keynote, touching on commercialization of innovations.
Top billing also goes to the private sector innovators on the program, starting with the moderators, Jonathan Sposato and Rebecca Lovell of Seattle’s GeekWire.com. In an article on the GeekWire website, Sposato says when you love the startup scene so much that you want to breathe, eat, and sleep it, you can do two things—start a startup, which he has done, or write about it, which is what GeekWire is all about. “Alchemy can happen when veteran news journalists team with a serial geek,” he notes.
Seattle’s once futuristic Monorail, Space Needle, and Bubbleator are senior citizens now, celebrating their 50th anniversary. But if you want a glimpse of the next 50 years, sign up for Advocacy’s Seattle conference. And jog on by the Small Business Watchdog blog over the next few days for a look at the 21st century entrepreneurs on our program.
For more information and to register for Advocacy’s event, visit the website for Small Business and Government: Maximizing Entrepreneurship, Driving Innovation.
Kathryn Tobias, Senior Editor