The South by Southwest festival kicks off in Texas next week, aiming to build upon the momentum of last year’s 25th anniversary, with the Startup Bus making its return.
SXSW was created to enable creative people and the companies they work with to develop their careers, and to bring together people from different backgrounds to meet and share ideas.
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That continues to be the goal today, whether it is music, film or the internet. This year is the 26th anniversary of SXSW, which, according to co-founder Roland Swenson, is an exciting prospect.
“The 26th edition of SXSW will arrive with a lot of momentum carried over from our silver anniversary in 2011,” Swenson says.
SXSW commences on March 9 in Austin, Texas, with Australian start-ups expected to attend. StartupSmart lists three reasons why you should make the trip:
SXSW Trade Show: The Exhibition for Creative Industries
“Expect to see expansion of last year’s new initiatives, such as the combined SXSW trade show for the creative industries, which draws from all the events – interactive, film and music,” Swenson says.
The four-day exhibition will connect leaders in these fields with the companies and agencies needed to succeed, with features like Block Party, SXsaloon, Next Stage and Meetup Pavilion.
The SXSW Block Party is modeled after a traditional pub crawl. Instead of bars, SXSW registrants move between participating exhibitors for refreshments and networking.
SXsaloon is described as “the perfect place to get a drink and meet friends, plan your schedule, and refresh for another round of trade show fun”.
Next Stage is much like a variety show, with a stage hosting panelists, filmmakers, comedians and musicians to “bring you a sample of all that is happening during SXSWeek”.
The Meetup Pavilion is a dedicated meeting space in the business epicentre of SXSW. It allows registrants to make connections and build relationships that will last beyond the festival.
The Startup Bus, which is designed to coincide with SXSW, is the brainchild of entrepreneur Elias Bizannes. Participants board a bus and devise a start-up over a 48-hour period.
This year, finalists will present their ideas to a panel of expert judges. The panel will be held in San Antonio on March 8 at IT hosting company Rackspace.
“The finalists will present their start-ups to an expert panel of judges in the technology field,” spokesperson Stuart Ginsberg says.
“The panelists include Guy Kawasaki, Dave McClure of 500 Startups, Luis Robles of Sequoia Capital, and Robert Scoble of Rackspace.”
Last year, Australian start-up TripMedi was named as a winner of the Startup Bus competition. TripMedi is a website that acts as an independent source of information on medical tourism.
Meanwhile, Perth-based web developers Red Tiki were named as finalists in the business category of the SXSW Interactive Awards.
According to Swenson, attending SXSW is a valuable experience for any entrepreneur, regardless of what’s on offer.
“The value of meeting people face to face, in order to share ideas and do business, is what makes SXSW invaluable,” he says.
“SXSW.com is the most powerful tool available for keeping up with the countless new developments for the 2012 event.”
“[It contains] fresh daily content, new mobile apps, and more rich media to help you make the best choices on what to see and hear while in Austin.”