2021 Schedule.

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Nov 30

12 pm | Virtual Lunch and Learn: Fire Your Boss

Virtual Description: In this session the Executive Director of SparkMacon, Robert Grant will co-host a seminar entitled “Fire Your Boss” with SparkMacon Program Director, Sierra Martin. Host: SparkMacon | Robert Grant & Sierra Martin SparkMacon is a Macon Startup Week partner and local business incubator focused on helping small local businesses grow. In addition to providing mentorship, office and coworking space at their facility, SparkMacon is currently launching a new Entrepreneurs Academy focused on providing resources and tools to current and future entrepreneurs throughout Middle Georgia. In today's challenging work environment, many people find it difficult to achieve satisfaction through their job. The economic reality that employees can no longer rely on their current job for long-term financial security has many people considering entrepreneurship for the first time. For each story of entrepreneurial success that is shared—such as that of Facebook or Airbnb—there are even more lesser-known entrepreneurial success stories such as Zipline, a company that delivers medical supplies in Rwanda and Ghana by drone. These entrepreneurs faced the same dilemmas in pursuing their passion, or opportunities, which led them to their entrepreneurial destiny. They courageously stepped out of their comfort zones to explore the possibilities that lie ahead. What is the difference between entrepreneurs and you? The main difference is taking that first step.

11 am | Virtual Session: Trademark and Business

Virtual Description: Overview of the importance of trademarking your brand and protecting your business with contracts and agreements. Speaker Bio: Attorney Eden Jackson was born and raised in Macon, Georgia. Being from a family of generations of Maconites. Eden obtained her undergraduate degree in Public Relations from Georgia State University located in Atlanta, Georgia. From Atlanta, she moved to Jacksonville, Florida where she attended law school at Florida Coastal School of Law. She later moved to London, UK and received her Legal Masters from Brunel University London.

Attorney Eden recently hung her shingle and started The Law Office of Eden A. Jackson, a trademark and business law firm. When Eden is not practicing law, she is taking care of her energetic infant son, Gabriel, gardening and traveling the world.

Eden’s personal motto is: Don’t work to die, Work to live!

5 pm | In-Person Mixer: Macon Young Professionals "Mingle Jingle"

In-Person: Just Tap'd | 488 First StreetMacon, GA 31201 Join Macon Young Professionals & Macon Startup Week for a night of lights, lagers and leadership! Meet at Just Tap'd for pizza and beer. Featured speaker: Local entrepreneur, Kaitlynn Kressin. After, enjoy the Christmas light extravaganza. To attend this mixer, please Register Here

Dec 4

3:30 pm: Starting off with Success

Virtual Description:

In the session we will dive into the 6 most popular morning habits from successful entrepreneurs, business owners, and CEO’s that help them make their day the most productive and how to implement them in your life!

Christopher Rice is founder of RiceTech LLC, a technology development company that specializes in creating innovative products that save Time and Money. His company was founded with the help of Merced’s Innovation Center in 2019 through their Fellowship program. He was born in Macon and grew up in central Georgia and Arizona. He is married to his amazing and beautiful wife, Teshia. He also has two wonderful daughters. In his free time he likes reading, being outdoors, and spending time with his family!

8 am: Morning Networking | Coffee and Pastries

Please join us to check-in and start the day off with Coffee and Pastries

4:30 pm: Pitch It Like you Mean It: Asking Others for Money

Speaker Bio:

Stephanie Howard earned her M.B.A from Wesleyan College and her B.B.A with a concentration in Marketing from Tennessee State University. She has over 15 years of professional marketing and sales experience, and is highly trained in the areas of advanced marketing strategies, communication, strategic planning, project and product management, and advertising. She is also an experienced Marketing Consultant/Contractor, and serves on numerous community boards.

10:00 am: What is your Mindset on your Mindset?

Speaker Bio: John David "JD" Miller was introduced to Yoga in 2015 by the managing partner at his financial planning firm. John Wright II encouraged JD to consider yoga as a complement and enhancement to his business and exercise routines. JD enjoyed the practice and the improvements that followed in his health, business, and in his relationships. Over the next several years, JD spent more hours on the mat and became more intentional with his mindset. He loves the way yoga makes the body feel, and how we feel about the body. He was excited to discover the connection between mindset, breath, and movement and how the feelings that follow can affect our relationships, business results, and careers. In 2019 he went on to earn a 200 hour Registered Yoga Teacher certification. He is excited to share the tools and routines that have become so meaningful to him in business and in life. John David “JD” Miller Financial Advisor & Registered Yoga Teacher

1:30 pm: Using Social Media Effectively

Description: Properly utilizing social media can make or break a business. The complex algorithms and differing community standards can make using these platforms seem like an impossible task. Come learn valuable tips and tricks to unlock the full potential of your social platforms. Speaker Bio: Nearly 5 years ago Robert Grant left his job in commercial real estate marketing to pursue a career as a Food and Travel Vlogger. Using his years of experience in traditional and guerilla marketing he built a respected influencer brand known as That Guy You Met Today or "TGYMT."

9:00 am: Keynote Speaker | Gino Wickman

Author | Entrepreneur | Speaker

Creator of Entreprenural Leap


An entrepreneur since the age of 21, Gino has had an obsession for learning what makes businesses and entrepreneurs thrive. At 25 he took over the family business, which was deeply in debt and in need of help. After turning the company around and running it for seven years, he and his partners successfully sold the company. Gino then set out to help entrepreneurs and leaders get what they want from their businesses. Based on his years of real-world experience, he created the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS), a practical method for helping companies achieve greatness. He has personally delivered more than 1,900 full-day sessions for more than 135 companies, helping them implement EOS. He is also the author of the award-winning, best-selling book Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business, as well as Get a Grip, Rocket Fuel, How to Be a Great Boss and What the Heck is EOS?. Gino is the founder of EOS Worldwide, an organization that helps thousands of businesses implement EOS with the aid of an international team of over 350 professional and certified EOS Implementers and online support. There are over 100,000 companies using the EOS tools Worldwide. Gino is now devoting time and energy toward helping entrepreneurs-in-the-making get a huge jump-start on taking their entrepreneurial leap, which is why he created Entrepreneurial Leap.

5:30 pm: Pitch Competition

Pitch Contest” voting on by audience

We will be giving away money to the pitch that wins the audience vote!

6:30 pm: End of Event / Networking

Thank you for joining Macon Startup Week 2021!

2:30 pm: Building Platform/Monotization

Speaker Bio(s):

Andreas Cooke is the founder and operator of Bankedoutt Radio Show that was started in February of 2016. It initially served as a platform for independent artists and has grown into a multi-tier platform. It features a digital radio station that streams world wide 24/7 365 to hundreds of listeners monthly, along with providing music to the audience. Bankedoutt Radio Show also showcases in depth interviews (audio & visual) along with an app that anyone can access from apple or google store. Andreas has been a full time entrepreneur since December of 2013.

He started his first company in 2005 and has since formed a diverse mix of businesses across a variety of industries. Andreas is a graduate of Fort Valley State University with a BBA and concentration in marketing. Andreas enjoys spending time with his Wife Andrea along with their 8 children when not working on building his empire. Nearly 5 years ago Robert Grant left his job in commercial real estate marketing to pursue a career as a Food and Travel Vlogger. Using his years of experience in traditional and guerilla marketing he built a respected influencer brand known as That Guy You Met Today or "TGYMT."

11:45 pm: Lunch

In-person Lunch Provided

11:00 am: eSports Panel | From Video Games to Opportunities; How Video Games Can Open Doors

Speaker Bio(s): SON (Swagged Out Nerds) is the premier Esports organization in Middle Georgia. SON has fostered a safe environment for competitive gaming that extends beyond Middle Georgia. We host a series of local events known as “The Nerds-Cup”. The Nerds-Cup leads to an expo known as “Nerds-Con” which will actually be held summer of 2022 in Macon, GA. We believe our willingness and our ability to connect with communities is what separates us. We are genuine and deliberate in our approach, and we openly want to see gamers succeed, which is why we have partnered with different High Schools and Colleges to provide perspective and insight to students. Jason Clarke Swagged Out Nerds, CEO John Robinson Swagged Out Nerds, COO Bunny is the world’s first AfroLatina gaming recording artist, signed to a major record label SONY/ Columbia on their Lost Rings imprint. Hailing from NYC, Bunny brings energy, enthusiasm and aptitude to anything she touches. From podcasting to Esports casting to being an advocate to Mental Health care access and women’s advancements. Jereimah Moore (Smash name: Bravo) Competitive smash player for SwaggedOutNerds has been competing since 2015. Since 2015, he has been ranked number 1 in the state of South Dakota and top 5 in the State of North Carolina. He signed with Swagged Out Nerds in 2019. Since being on Roster He has placed in the top 20th percentile in Major 750+ contestants, competing against world ranked players. In 2021 he competed in the Major Glitch 8 placing 65th overall out of 450+ contestants. As a pro gamer Jereimah has a unique understanding of the landscape and provides in depth knowledge from the perspective of a pro gamer.

Isiah Reese

MA in Management | Harvard Executive Program

CEO + Co-Founder, Blaze Fire Games Company

Isiah began the onset of his career at PepsiCo where he was assigned to the sales unit. Navigating through the challenges of leading a team, Isiah was able to use his leadership skills to lead a multi-million dollar sales unit. After dedicating eight years to PepsiCo, Isiah would go on to transition to several other notable companies including M&M Mars Company, Walt Disney in the consumer products division, and Coca-Cola Company.

Feeling confident in his leadership skills, Isiah was ready to explore increased responsibilities. So, naturally, when a company offered him the opportunity to lead on a global scale and explore his love for technology, he pursued it. For the next 5 years, Isiah went on to hold his position as the Director of Global Channel Marketing (OEM Division) of The Microsoft Company. During his matriculation at Microsoft, Isiah oversaw channel marketing investments in over 193 countries where that division was responsible for 1/3 of the companies 70 billion dollars in revenue. While he loved his experience at Microsoft Isiah always possessed a passion for entrepreneurship. In 2016, Isiah co-founded Aperion Global Institute with an esports strategic business unit called BlazeFire Games. Blaze Fire Games, a licensed digital content provider, has catapulted its success by implementing over 50 Esports career pathway certificates. When Isiah co-founded his company the goal was to introduce underserved communities to the technology world, that goal still remains. His business mind, leadership qualities, and people skills have allowed him to penetrate the technology market for the last 5 years. Shelton Wilkerson is a former financial sector consultant turned Diversity & Inclusion strategist. While consulting I realized that I didn't see a lot of people who looked like me and I wanted to be a part of that change. Shelton joined the Microsoft Leap Apprenticeship Program to help be a catalyst to helping people get into the Tech industry from different backgrounds. A graduate of the University of South Carolina where I twice focused in Human Resource Management. Outside of I like to travel to cities and towns around the US meeting folks where they are for a beverage and a snack. I hope to meet you soon and have one fewer stranger on the road.

12:15 pm: Keynote Speaker | Terry Ho

Restaurateur | Founder of Terry Ho's Yum Yum


Terry Ho was born on January 19, 1964 in Tai Pei, Taiwan into a strong culinary family. Both his parents and grandparents were strong in the restaurant business, and he continued their legacy. They moved to the United States when Terry was 12 years old and opened a restaurant in Arizona. A year later, they moved to Albany, Ga where they opened House of China restaurant. Terry started off working in the kitchen of his parent's restaurant as a cook and a bus boy at the age of 13. He eventually grew in the profession and has now opened up more than 20 restaurants throughout the South. His fast casual Japanese restaurant, Hibachi Express, serves a special sauce with each meal called Yum Yum Sauce. It was in such high demand in the restaurant that Terry decided he would try to bottle it and was very successful. In 2012, Terry Ho's Yum Yum Sauce was successfully bottled and is now available in most grocery stores nationwide. He has since created a Japanese Ginger Dressing that is available at select Walmart Supercenters. He plans to continue creating more sauces derived from family recipes.Terry resides in South Georgia with his wife, Karen. They have two children, Kaley Howard of Valdosta, Ga and Collin Ho of Greensboro, Ga. They have one grandchild, Walker, who is their pride and joy. During their free time, they enjoy visiting their children, the lake, and the beach.

***Saturday Dec. 4th: Main Event | Hybrid @ SparkMacon

Hybrid | For In-Person: SparkMacon - 600 Guy Paine Rd, Macon, GA 31206 Please join Macon Startup Week for the day of our Main Event! This event will be Hybrid, meaning it will be available both virtually and in-person. ***Due to Covid Restrictions, seating is limited to 100 attendees.

Dec 2

12 pm | Virtual Lunch and Learn: Get Your House In Order Before Getting your Business In Order

Virtual Description: Many times people haven’t considered what they need to have ready before they begin the process of pulling their business together. Join Bethany Rogers, NewTown Macon’s Director for Business and Real Estate Development, as she help budding entrepreneurs take a hard look at their personal financial house. Bethany will also talk about how NewTown Macon help entrepreneurs start and grow businesses in downtown Macon. Speaker Bio: Bethany Rogers, PhD has served as Director of Business and Real Estate Development at NewTown Macon for three years. At NewTown, she coaches aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners with a focus on business plan development and financing, including overseeing NewTown’s small business loan program. Before her work in community and economic development, Bethany earned a PhD in Cultural Geography from Louisiana State University and her academic and professional pursuits centered around community documentary and preservation work. Her writing, documentaries, and public programs have been featured in a range of contexts from academic peer-reviewed publications to a report on NPR’s All Things Considered.

Dec 3

11:30 am | Hybrid: Score's 6th Annual Women's Entrepreneur Leadership Conference

Hybrid | For In-Person: SparkMacon - 600 Guy Paine Rd, Macon, GA 31206 Join SCORE Middle Georgia for the 2021 Women's Entrepreneur Leadership Conference. It will include a panel discussion from leading experts in different fields of entrepreneurship. Schedule: 11:30 am | Registration and Gathering 12:00 pm | Speakers and Lunch 12:45 - 1:30 pm | Networking To attend the 6th Annual Women's Entrepreneur Leadership Conference, please Register Here

Dec 1

12 pm | Virtual Lunch and Learn: Cybersecurity and Why You Should Care

Description: Cybersecurity can cost you millions if you do not properly protect your business and your clients. Join Ariane Parham as he shares why you shoud care about Cybersecurity. Speaker Bio:

Ariane Parham is the cofounder of HamTECH Solutions, a Cybersecurity firm that specializes in performing Risk Assessments for organizations and assisting with compliance regulation such as HIPAA. Ariane believes that the best way to succeed in life is by helping others, which is the core mission for HamTECH Solutions and individually.

Before founding HamTECH Solutions, Ariane was an IT Manager at a multi-specialty private practice for 7+ years. At an early age, Ariane not only knew that he wanted to start a business someday, but he also knew he was destined to work in technology. As early as age 12, Ariane built his first website and would help his teachers with their computer issues until graduating.

Ariane is also a happily married and the parent of Happy and Twix, two amazing dogs. Ariane is a man of faith and believes that his ultimate mission in life is to glorify God in everything he does, which he says is a lifelong journey.

6 pm | In-Person Mixer: Artists and Art Organizations Mixer

In-Person | Mill Hill Community Art Center: 213 Clinton St, Macon, GA 31217 Join Creative Conversations and Macon Arts Alliance for a mixer with artists, creatives, and art organizations at the Mill Hill Community Art Center. Bring your business cards and meet individuals and organizations doing creative work in our community during this speed networking event. Attendees will also learn about the Mill Hill Tech Toolshed and how to utilize Macon365.com. To attend this mixer, please Register Here.


December 4th

Keynote & Main Sessions  



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