Special Contribution to Silicon Hills News

Chris Valentine, courtesy photo.

Chris Valentine, courtesy photo.

Startup enthusiasts and innovation seekers around the world are preparing themselves for the week-long whirlwind of conferences, pitch competitions, panels, and networking events that make up SXSW Interactive. With so many event opportunities for you to choose from, it’s best to prepare ahead of time and decide exactly which events are best suited to your interests as an entrepreneur or startup aficionado. To help you navigate your way through Startup Village, here is a list of the top 10 things taking place at SXSW Interactive that you and your business should consider attending.

1) SXSW Accelerator : This pitch competition features the hottest tech startups from around the world. If innovation is your jam, then this event is a must.

2) CNBC Session: “When Everyone Wants to be an Entrepreneur” : Do you binge watch business-based reality shows like Shark Tank and think to yourself, “that could be me?” At this event, high-profile TV personalities will give the inside scoop on what it’s like to compete for funding on a reality TV show.

3) International Entrepreneur Topics: It’s important to remember that SXSW is a great opportunity to learn about business culture outside of the U.S. With that in mind, three events featuring international markets that we recommend are: “Israeli Unicorns: Building a Billion Dollar Biz”, “What You Need to Know About Doing Business in Cuba”, and “The Real Wild West Is East: China’s Big 3 Markets”.

4) Startup Spotlight: If you are interested in getting up close and personal with some of the best and brightest startups in the industry, this will be the place to do just that. Live presentations and demos galore, you won’t want to miss the opportunity to see amazing gadgets, apps, and devices up close.

5) Startup Collegiate Sessions: These sessions will highlight the big changes happening within colleges on an entrepreneurial level and touch on what ground-breaking technologies are coming from higher-institutions into the marketplace.

6) Music Startup Village: Let’s not forget about another major aspect of SXSW: music. Music and tech go hand-in-hand at this event which showcases tech-minded startups in the music industry.

7) Highlighted Profiles: Keep your eyes open for high-profile speakers such as Scott Cook (Founder of Intuit Inc.), Mark Cuban (Shark Tank and Owner of Dallas Mavericks), Greg Glassman (Founder of CrossFit) and Dr. Norman Winarsky (President of SRI Ventures at SRI International & Cofounder of Siri).

8) SXAméricas Startup Summit: This summit connects startup industry experts who wish to share innovative ideas for upcoming trends in the U.S. Latino, Spanish, Central American, Caribbean and Latin American markets.

9) Participating Accelerators: Didn’t get enough from SXSW Accelerator? There are multiple other exciting pitch competitions taking place throughout the festival that you will not want to miss. Some accelerators of note are ReleaseIt, MassChallenge and Techstars.

10) SXSW Multi-Day Lounges and Venues: Take a much needed break in one of the many lounges Startup Village has to offer while utilizing the opportunity to network and spread the word about your business.

Whether you’re attending pitch competitions, connecting with high-profile leaders, or learning about new technologies, you’ll always have something new to learn from the Startup Village. These events are a must-attend for the entrepreneurial spirit within you if you want to establish yourself in the startup world and gain insight from some of the experts in the industry. Bring your peers, coworkers, and a notepad, and get ready to check out the best innovative features at SXSW Interactive.

Editor’s note: Chris Valentine is the program director for SXSW Accelerator.