At BatchBlue, we still sort of think of ourselves as a start-up. After four plus years of being in business, we’ve enjoyed some success and want to continue to help others along the way. Giving back to our communities, whether they be the local Providence community, the greater New England community or the start-up community in general, is as much part of our company DNA as, well, the color blue.
This past year, we were lucky enough to help sponsor a number of smaller, but we feel important events. Here’s a little about each one – if you weren’t able to make any of these, perhaps we’ll see you there next year!
SXSBW (South by Small Business Web)
For us, the mother of all events is still South by Southwest (SXSW) It’s here where we first created and launched the Small Business Web, which has grown beyond our wildest expectations. Last year, we partnered with twelve other vendors to through a big party celebrating our customers and small business owners in general. We had a blast spending time with our partners, meeting new partners, and even awarding a prize to our “Most Connected Customer“. We’re busy planning this year’s event, so watch for more on that in the coming weeks.
Start-Up Weekend Chicago
I had the chance to go to Chicago (one of my favorite cities!) to witness an army of entrepreneurs and wannabe enterpreneurs get together for an intense weekend of business-buildng during Start-Up Weekend Chicago. Along with fellow sponsors MailChimp and FreshBooks, we provided participants with burritos and beer so that they had the energy needed to flesh out their killer start-up ideas. We enjoyed introducing our respective business tools to attendees as well as acting as unofficial advisors on the fine art of the start.
PodCamp events have always been some of our favorites. They are intimate enough to be really friendly and open, but big enough that you never know who you are going to meet or what you will learn. The speakers are diverse and we love the conversational, participatory nature of the sessions. As the official “coffee sponsors,” we attended the PodCamp Boston event run by the amazing Chel Wolverton and kept folks in caffeine. We were excited to hear how much people were talking about social CRM and the importance of keeping up with your contacts – yes, we think that’s important, too!
We were also a sponsor of the first ever PodCamp CT. Being headquartered in Providence, RI, BatchBlue is somewhat of a tech outlier. It’s therefore GREAT to see places not usually associated with the tech scene and social media, etc. organizing, educating each other and just providing a chance to meet like-minded folks. Connecticut resident and social media man-about-town Joe Cascio and his crew did a great job putting together this well-attended inaugural event — we expect to see more cool things coming from these folks in the future.
Better World by Design
A better world and design are both firmly in our wheelhouse. The student-run, Providence-based Better World by Design conference is filled with the kind of people who are working insanely hard in many disciplines to make the world a better place. The three-day event is filled with workshops, panels and discussions “in order to build a global community of socially conscious and passionate innovators.” We love that idea and are happy to support it in our small way.
140 Characters: Small Town
Sponsoring an event in rural Kansas might seem an odd choice for a tech company but…have you met Becky McCray? This Oklahomian, blogger and multiple small business owner was one of the 140 Conference: Small Town organizers. She’s one of the most forward-thinking techies we’ve ever met (and very nice, to boot.) Although we couldn’t be there in person this year, we wanted to show our support for the folks building, growing and running their own small businesses miles away from any silicon valleys or alleys. We know you’re out there and we support what you are doing.
Rise of the Cubicle Farmer project
Speaking of loving people, we love AJ, Melissa and Tony Leon. Over the past few months, these guys took to the road to meet with people all over the country who are redefining what work means. I first met AJ and Melissa at a customer meet-up in New York and was immediately impressed with their positive energy and enthusiasm. When AJ reached out to tell us about their awesome Rise of the Cubicle Farmer project a few months later, we knew we wanted to be involved. You can read about their journey here and watch some videos as they use the BatchBook iphone app to create a mobile database along the way. Pretty cool, right?
Lastly, we sponsored a couple of local events: the Rhode Island Mini Maker’s Faire (building, making, crafting, hacking?! Yes!) and a raffle to benefit local art space AS220, long-time hosts of our friends the Providence Geeks.
You won’t see us at the mega-trade shows, on billboards at the airport, or demoing our wares in random conference booths: frankly we’ve found more value in connecting with smaller groups that have more personal meaning to us. It’s here we’ll continue to spend our sponsorship dollars. Doing something cool for small businesses, entrepreneurs, women, kids, the arts or the world in general this year? Let us know and maybe we can help you out.
Both images by mriggen, photographer to the small biz stars