By Tom Ballard, Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurial Initiatives, Pershing Yoakley & Associates, P.C.
The celebration is a little over two weeks away, and more than 300 people have already pre-registered for this year’s “GIGTANK Demo Day” set for July 29 in Chattanooga.
Mike Bradshaw, “GIGTANK” Director, was “pumped” about the event when we talked to him a few days ago. One of the reasons was the venue that CO.LAB has selected – Girls Preparatory School. It will allow for a large general session as well as breakout rooms.
Another reason for Bradshaw’s excitement is the already announced keynote speaker – Terry Wohlers, billed as the world’s leading expert on 3D printing/additive manufacturing.
“Having him as keynote is an enormous win for us,” Bradshaw said, but quickly noted a number of other important wins, both during this year’s program and at “Demo Day.”
One is the level of buzz that the additive manufacturing track has created.
“I could not be more excited by the attention we’ve received from leaders in this industry,” Bradshaw said. He was referring in part to the two big printer manufacturers – 3D Systems and Stratasys – that have “provided enormously expensive printers to use during ‘GIGTANK.’”
Representatives from both companies will be on a late morning panel that Wohlers will moderate on July 29.
There’s also the interest that is being shown by other international companies that may send representatives to the event.
“Having them care about a boutique accelerator in Chattanooga is astonishing,” Bradshaw said.
Seven of the 11 companies in this year’s “GIGTANK” are part of the additive manufacturing track. The other four are in either the healthcare or smart grid track.
“3D printing represents one of the great entrepreneurial opportunities of this decade if not this age,” Bradshaw believes.
“Demo Day” kicks-off at 10 a.m. with welcomes by Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke and Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger. The four companies in the healthcare or smart grid tracks will make their pitches after the welcoming remarks, and Wohlers will deliver his keynote at 11:15 a.m.
Bradshaw said attendees will be served a light lunch while also attending one of three panels. In addition to the panel on additive manufacturing where Wohlers will be a participant, the Electric Power Board will lead a session on smart grid developments, and Lift1428 will coordinate one on healthcare.
The seven teams in the 3D printing/additive manufacturing track will make their pitches starting at 2 p.m. When they conclude at 3:30 p.m., “Demo Day” will wrap-up with a reception and networking session.
Registration is free. To do so, click here.