Local companies and startup businesses gathered Oct. 12 through Oct. 16 as Chattanooga celebrated Startup Week with events for anyone interested in pursuing or growing their own business.
The week-long event was hosted by startup founders, community supporters, investors and local companies.
According to the event's website, Startup Week Chattanooga is 'a celebration of Chattanooga's entrepreneurial community. This multi-day experience [featured] a number of community-led events that highlight our growing startup scene and inspire entrepreneurial thinking. We want to showcase the very best of Chattanooga ' its can-do attitude, its innovative spirit, and above all its people.'
Startup Week ran off of three different tracks: Social, Tech and Creative. Each of the tracks offered a variety of programming for attendees.
Gary Vaynerchuk, co-founder and CEO of VaynerMedia, kicked off the week as the keynote speaker Monday, Oct. 12.
According to their website, '[VaynerMedia] is a social-first digital shop that focuses on storytelling across platforms. We use insights gained through micro-content to build creative campaigns that drive actual business results.'
Chattanooga is the fourth city that VaynerMedia has planted in.
'I don't think I've ever been more confident or positive on a bet as I have in this remarkable city,' Vaynerchuk said.
Vaynerchuk also addressed the audience on his belief that it is the perfect time to build a business and attributed the internet to the success that startups can have.
'Entrepreneurship is getting sexy,' Vaynerchuk said.
Vaynerchuk also highlighted that businesses can start everywhere and are not limited to glamorous cities such as New York City. He pointed out that Pinterest started in Pennsylvania and Facebook started in Boston
Vaynerchuk said individuals should focus on their strengths rather than weaknesses, and should avoid reaching for something that they or their company isn't simply because it works for another company.
'Self awareness is massively important ... because it's so easy to get at bat ' so many people are doing it," Vaynerchuk said.
Vaynerchuk said he hoped to invest largely in local Chattanooga startup companies that hold great potential.
He noted a large number of business are 'chasing unicorns,' attempting to mimic existing big businesses, and it's not successful.
'I'm looking for real practicality because practical business building has never been easier and cheaper. Young people are raising impractical businesses and then losing the money,' Vaynerchuk said.
For those wanting to start a business, Vaynerchuk said to begin right away.
"There's a lot of white space still available to build your own business," Vaynerchuk said.