Friday, November 20, 2009

SST Excels for 10th Time

The 10th annual South Sound Technology (SST) 2009, ramrodded by Andrew Fry, Institute of Technology, University of Washington Tacoma, produced a resounding success. Beginning with the video presentation by Cong. Adam Smith (staying in D.C. to vote), the program produced an all-round view of the technology field.

Of particular interest was the panel: Entrepreneurship in the South Sound, Creating Connections. This featured, as pictured above: Derek Young/Seasonal View, John Dimmer/TacomaAngel Network, Brian Forth/SiteCrafting, Mark Briggs/Serra Media and (not pictured) Graham Evans, Washington Technology Center.

Other highlights included a breakout session on Sustainability and Energy with John Martin/Clean Tech Open (far left) and Joanne Buselmeier (left) and Arabie-Jaloway Hill (right) from TacomaACTS.
Arabie-Jaloway Hill discussed the potential of innovation and entrepreneurship in regards to building the green economy. Along with Joanne Buselmeier, they highlighted the pivotal role that local business plays in sustainability. Joanne stressed that there is a significant presence of "green" businesses who already provide a local example, meshing sustainability with Tacoma's unique economic environment. TacomaACTS is committed to supporting and advocating for entrepreneurs building upon this foundation."

At the end of the day, a breakout session on Supporting Infrastructure of the South Sound was emceed by (on right) Gary Penley, Alliance Enterprises, Dr. Orlando Baiocchi, IT/UWT, Darin Cyr, Grey Hat Group, Lincoln Ferris, Nuco Consulting and Gary Brackett, Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber who staffs their Tacoma Technology Consortium and administers the TacomaAngel Network.

Brackett offered to begin a new series on this blog spotlighting the South Sound technology companies. To participate, companies may send a short, blog length article and links to him.

During the conference, there was often a call for greater networking opportunities, greater visibility of local tech firms and chances for young professionals to enjoy the community.

Of special note, Andrew Fry talked briefly of a new directory of tech companies in the South Sound his interns have recently completed - counting 88 firms from the largest and most obvious to the small start-ups of beginning entrepreneurs. We hope to hear more from him about this resource soon.

Our thanks and congratulations to the event sponsors which included the Chamber in the presentation of SST 2009: Institute of Technology UWT, City of Tacoma and Gridwork.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Small Businesses on the Web - Or Should Be?

Small businesses can thank Tacoman Scott Loughran for a better understanding of small businesses and their use of the web for marketing.

Loughran is in the Masters in Communications and Digital Media program at the University of Washington. His project, only available for a few days, is open to you.

Loughran is studying digital media and communications. You can learn more about the program here. The Flip the Media blog (work of the faculty and students here) is also a great resource for the Chamber and those businesses we serve.

Loughran's research is specifically investigating if micro (0-4 employees) & small businesses (5-25 employees) have websites, and if so, how they are using them to communicate and market their goods and services. His theory is that these businesses strongly rely on hiring out the construction of websites, and may not understand how popular tools like social media, blogging and pod casting could help customer retention and word-of-mouth advertising (the two most trustworthy forms of business growth to this sector.)

He hopes his research will accomplish two things:

First, consumers who want to shop local, some reports say 90% of them have started by searching for local businesses online. Other reports are saying that as little as 44% of micro/small businesses even have a website. With the health of our local economy largely being supported by the success of local business, we need to find a way to close this statistical gap.

Second, there are people in the community wanting to help local businesses. If we find there is enough of a need in the community, we can educate local businesses how this technology is beneficial to business. This could be through the Chamber for example, as a workshop, in service or part of a regular meeting.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Friday, November 6, 2009

SST 2009: Entrepreneur in the South Sound

South Sound Technology Conference 2009:
Entrepreneurship and the South Sound Technology Cluster

You're invited to the 10th annual South Sound Technology Conference, the technology showcase for the Tacoma and the South Puget Sound region.

On Friday November 20th in William W. Phillip Hall on the University of Washington Tacoma campus civic and industry leaders, government representatives, university faculty and students will come together at a free conference to hear panels speak on building technology companies in the South Sound and leveraging the commonalities of the companies that are here.

A lunch keynote from the CEO of Corporate Privacy Group, Richard Purcell, former Chief Privacy Officer of Microsoft and chairman of the board of TRUSTe will highlight the middle of the day. Breakout sessions that include discussions on sustainability and poster presentations from Institute of Technology students will occur once in the morning and once in the afternoon.

The South Sound Technology Conference, provides a forum that increases the awareness of technology as it impacts our daily personal and professional lives, and even more importantly, the role it can play in the development of our regional economy. The conference charter is to further the continuous growth of technology in the South Sound region and provide information about global technology issues.

Bruce Kendall, CEO of the Economic Development Board of Pierce County will kick things off with a discussion of entrepreneurship and the economic development of the South Sound Region. The morning panel that follows will pick up the topic with Tacoma entrepreneurs such as Derek Young, Mark Briggs and Brian Forth. Graham Evans of the Washington Technology Center and John Dimmer of the TacomaAngel Network will talk about funding and innovation.

The afternoon panel will feature companies from the area that represent the data integrity, information assurance and Cybersecurity cluster that is growing in Pierce County. Breakouts will include discussion of how to support that infrastructure and will also give attendees the opportunity to view student research projects at the Institute of Technology.

The yearly event is made possible by the hard work of many volunteers, the generosity of corporate and community sponsorship such as the City of Tacoma, the Institute of Technology, University of Washington Tacoma and GRIDWORK as well as the support of honorary co-chairs Congressman Norm Dicks and Congressman Adam Smith.

For more information, contact conference chair
Andrew Fry - - 253-692-4583
To register, go to and sign up under the “attending” menu.