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 The Big Idea CONNECTpreneur Forum describes itself as “a Community of over 5000 CEOs, Entrepreneurs, VCs and angels, CXOs and other business leaders in the Mid-Atlantic Region. Each quarterly CONNECTpreneur Forum mashes up 400+ top founders, investors and business leaders for a morning breakfast event featuring awesome networking, newsmaking speakers, and a showcase of 7-8 exciting early stage companies.”

On September 14, 2017, eleven Hillman Entrepreneur Program students plus their director Rebecca Razavi and Marcy Jackson, WDCE Business & Industry Education Programs Director, attended a CONNECTPreneur event at the Hyatt Regency in Bethesda, Maryland. Their presence benefited both students and the College, by showcasing our course and workshop offerings for business owners as well as the high caliber of students at Montgomery College who are or will be looking for internship and employment opportunities in the near future.

Here is a full report from Jason Denny, one of the Hillman students who attended the event:

“The ConnectPreneur event in Bethesda, MD was a fascinating event where entrepreneurs, investors and dreamers came together to network, pitch ideas and connect. This wondrous event began at 7am with all event participants networking in the ballroom lobby of the Hyatt Regency Bethesda. After about an hour of networking and introductions, CEO of The Motley Fool, Tim Gardner, entertained everybody with some Q&A at a fireside chat. After that interesting and informative segment, several businesses pitched investment opportunities to the audience stating the main points of the business and what the goals of the company were. The event concluded with a panel discussion and final networking.

The Connectpreneur event taught me a variety of valuable skills including networking, socialization, professional presentation. I could network with many different people in the beginning of the event, giving me practice and increased my knowledge about how to pitch an idea to an individual or a small group. While watching the investment pitches I was given the opportunity to see how many different people present their business and ideas. I was able to see who did well and who did less than desirable. By watching these presentations and critiquing them, I now know what I need to work on in my own presentations. Lastly, at the end of the event in the final networking time, I learned how to socialize with other people in a professional, although non-business manner. Because many people had already invested or pitched their business ideas to investors, I was given the opportunity to talk about many ideas with many presenters and entrepreneurs. This helped me learn how to initiate a professional conversation with strangers.

I will use all the information I have learned from this event to help me better present myself at future events or to pitch an idea I have to potential investors.”

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