John Poynton AM to kickstart Global Innovation Week

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Inaugural Event Connects Global Leaders of the World’s Most Innovative Companies


Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO), the world’s premier network of chief executives and business leaders, announced the launch of a new type of global event connecting 23,000 YPO members in more than 130 countries through a series of programs around the world focused on innovation and entrepreneurship. During one week in May 2016, YPO will host more than 30 events in major cities in all corners of the world, providing education, idea exchange and discussions with the world’s most innovative executives who are both leading companies today and building companies of the future.

Through progressive presentations and conversations, debates and hands-on workshops, live-streamed panel discussions as well as Innovation Performance Assessments, members will have the chance to learn, exchange ideas, network and spark new growth in their companies.

“With programs held in every region of the world, YPO ( Innovation Week will be a transformative experience not only for YPO’s entrepreneurs and innovators, but also in the larger community. We expect to positively affect more than 1,000 member companies through exciting events, invigorating idea exchange, valuable education and immersive activities focused on the many varying aspects of innovation,” said CEO of Pivotal Innovation and YPO Innovation Week Chair, Kevin Fallon. “YPO is the most innovative community on the planet. This week promises to be a truly transformative experience.”

The grand opening event for YPO Innovation Week will be in Sydney, Australia, hosted by John Poynton, co-founder and director of Azure Capital, focusing on innovation in Australia. Following the opening event, a signature event will take place in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, where YPO member, and one of Canada’s best known entrepreneurs and innovative philanthropist, Brett Wilson, is a speaker. This event is specifically designed for those entrepreneurs who are in the midst of launching a startup and looking to accelerate business growth.

YPO members will then gather in Silicon Valley, California, USA, with veteran entrepreneurs – including Harry Clark, founder of Pathway Partners, LLC; Ariel Pfeffer, CEO of Prospekta Marketing; and Jim Hornthall, chairman of M34 Capital, Inc. – for two days of high-impact learning on how to evaluate new ideas and investments.

The closing event of YPO Innovation Week, championed by Greg Besner, CEO of Culture IQ, and Asha Saxena, CEO of Future Technologies, will take place at the birthplace of modern entrepreneurship and innovation, the Thomas Edison National Historic Park. At this finale event, YPO members will have the opportunity to go behind the scenes, and learn how Edison worked, invented, created and scaled his companies.

“Like Edison, YPO members around the globe embrace the challenges of innovation to create something profound and yet practical. Some of these topics and themes are well-known on the innovation agenda, but several of them will surprise and lead to breakthroughs,” said Fallon. “By bringing together the organization’s most passionate global members, including founders, growth company executives, investors and social enterprise leaders, we plan to extend YPO’s innovative spirit and provide inspiration to the wider community around the world.”


About YPO

YPO (Young Presidents’ Organization) is a not-for-profit, global network of young chief executives connected through the shared mission of becoming Better Leaders Through Lifelong Learning and Idea ExchangeTM. Founded in 1950, YPO today provides 23,000 peers and their families in more than 130 countries with access to unique experiences, extraordinary educational resources, access to alliances with leading institutions, and participation in specialised networks to support their business, community and personal leadership. Altogether, YPO member-run companies employ more than 15 million people around the world and generate USD6 trillion in annual revenues. For more information, visit YPO  and watch the Innovation Week video to learn more from some of the members leading Innovation Week.

jindalee@dminJohn Poynton AM to kickstart Global Innovation Week
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Jim Breyer maintains his hold on the Midas crown

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Jim Breyer maintains his hold on the Midas crown this year thanks in large part to his firm’s early $12.7 million bet on a Harvard drop-out with a social network, a bet that turned into a once-in-a-generation investment. With an 11% stake, Accel Partners is Facebook’s second largest shareholder after Zuck (Breyer personally owns 1% and is on Facebook’s board). Breyer is excited about global disruptions happening at the “intersection of media, technology and entertainment, where fundamental content and intellectual property can be leveraged across many distribution models.”

jindalee@dminJim Breyer maintains his hold on the Midas crown
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Step into Rift

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Rift is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced. Whether you’re stepping into your favorite game, watching an immersive VR movie, jumping to a destination on the other side of the world, or just spending time with friends in VR, you’ll feel like you’re really there.


jindalee@dminStep into Rift
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Cred, Connections, Cash – The Workings of a Business Accelerator

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Join us in a city near you at Entrepreneur’s Accelerate Your Business event series kicking off Feb 23. View cities and dates »

Entrepreneurs tend to be stereotyped as headstrong individualists who think they know the best way to do everything. While confidence and determination may be necessary when launching a business, sometimes the most important thing an entrepreneur can do is to talk with others founders and get some advice from experienced CEOs. That’s where a business accelerator can come in.

A business accelerator is an intensive, immersion experience in which an entrepreneur moves into a shared office space with other new founders for a period of time to work under the tutelage of advisors and experts to grow their business rapidly. In exchange for the expert mentoring, exposure to investors and cash investment that entrepreneurs get from the accelerator, the entrepreneur gives a portion of his or her company’s equity to the partners of the program and for this reason is often called a “seed” or “venture” accelerator.

How Being At an Accelerator Helped Me Grow My Business

LocalBonus team (L to R): Manuela Odell, Community Manager; Derek Webster, CEO/Founder; Tim Saunders, CTO; Shaan Batra, Software Engineer. Photo credit: LocalBonus.

Accelerators are similar to business incubators, but the latter typically don’t take equity in the companies, according to the National Business Incubation Association in Athens, Ohio. Accelerator investors often offers between $18,000 and $25,000 in funding in exchange for between 4 percent and 8 percent of each company.

Related: How to Jump-Start Your Business With an Accelerator Program

Giving away a piece of your company to accelerate growth can be a big decision. What can make this trade-off so attractive? To help answer that question, we spoke with several recent participants in theEntrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator in New York City. Here are five of the program’s biggest benefits they described.

1. Networking.
An accelerator can help you meet the kind of investors, advisors and other entrepreneurs who are interested in helping nurture startups. Consider Derek Webster, the CEO and founder of LocalBonus, a “shop local” credit-card rewards program. Webster had “big company” experience in the credit-card industry, but he didn’t know the players in the NYC startup scene before participating in the accelerator, which takes an 8 percent equity stake in each founder’s company.

At the end of the program’s three months, says Webster, “I had a massive number of those one-one-one meetings, so that now I could turn to any one of those people and ask for help.”

2. Decision-making practice.
One common reason for failure as an entrepreneur is “death by indecision.” Being in the accelerator really forces you to make decisions, because you are always meeting with program directors, mentors and investors, says Jonathon Ende, founder and CEO of Bizodo, an online-document builder and management system. At 29, Ende is already on his 15th startup, so he knows a bit about the momentum of getting a company off the ground. “Every week you are checking in with someone. You want to make progress,” says Ende.

Related: Angel Investor Esther Dyson on the Traits of Rock Star Tech Leaders

3. Founder camaraderie.
Being around other founders all day every day is often comforting and educational. At the Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator, the CEOs had weekly meetings together, as did the chief technology officers. “When you are a new startup, there are all sorts of challenges that you face that are relatively common,” Webster says and having an opportunity to talk through those problems was helpful.

For example, LocalBonus CTO Tim Saunders has 14 years’ experience as a developer and so when fellow company founders were hiring technology developers, Saunders helped them interview and choose the most qualified candidates. “The day we all moved in felt like the first day of high school,” says Webster. But “very quickly we realized there was more to be gained by helping each other out than anything else.”

4. Testing assumptions.
“It is very easy to drink your own Kool Aid, if you will. You believe you have the best idea and the way you have to do it is the best way,” says Ende. But when you are constantly being forced to explain yourself, you end up re-evaluating your business on a regular basis. “Being able to question the assumptions that you have made, what people want, what you are building,” says Ende, results in your business changing for the better.

5. Street cred.
“The fact that you have already been through a filtering process” can give you — and your business — a leg up, says Webster. At ERA’s demo day, LocalBonus founders met investors they otherwise don’t think they would have had the opportunity to meet. Just to be in the program can be a mark of validation to the community of fellow entrepreneurs and investors.

Related: 9 Cities You Wouldn’t Think Are Hubs for Tech Startups

jindalee@dminCred, Connections, Cash – The Workings of a Business Accelerator
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