CORONAVIRUS

EntreFEST goes virtual for 2020 conference

Zachary Mannheimer, principal community placemaker at Clive-based McClure Engineering, speaks about innovation in rural
Zachary Mannheimer, principal community placemaker at Clive-based McClure Engineering, speaks about innovation in rural America at a 2019 EntreFEST panel. (Thomas Friestad/The Gazette)

Organizers for EntreFEST, a two-day conference traditionally held for Iowa entrepreneurs and innovators in Cedar Rapids, will shift the event to a digital format as a result of COVID-19.

EntreFEST still will take place June 4 and 5, but with speaker sessions, networking events and other activities all held over the internet, the New Bohemian Innovation Collaborative said Wednesday.

Guests will be able to visit Zoom lounges for networking hot spots and chat with other virtual attendees.

The event’s happy-hour gatherings, concerts and a live comedy session also will be moved online this year.

“We are working hard to make sure that EntreFEST 2020 is so much more than just another webinar,” NewBoCo, which produces EntreFEST, said in a news release.

“Beyond just this single event, we want to provide a platform to keep the entrepreneurial community connected and energized, as well as provide the resources to share ideas and collaborate — which is more important than ever as we navigate this crisis together.”

Those who purchase tickets — priced at $199 — at least one week before the event will receive a “mystery care package,” with EntreLunch cards for use at local establishments, resources and other items.

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Participants also will receive recordings of sessions, a new EntreFEST feature allowing them to listen to presentations they were unable to attend.

The Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance will present EntreFEST, with support from the city of Cedar Rapids and the University of Iowa’s John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center. The Gazette is a media sponsor.

The full EntreFEST schedule for 2020 can be viewed at https://bit.ly/3btzmck.

Comments: (319) 398-8366; thomas.friestad@thegazette.com

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