posted on Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Thank you for the opportunity to lead the MIT Enterprise Forum

It has been my great pleasure to serve as Chair for the 2008-2009 season. I owe an enormous debt of gratitude to scores of volunteers for their tireless efforts in delivering a successful season for the chapter.


In our primary mission to promote the growth of technology businesses, MITEF NW produced 13 ticketed programs with over 1,500 attendees.


We presented 5 highly-rated Dinner Forum programs during the season. We featured stellar panels on climate change, social entrepreneurship, financing, advertising and CEO lessons learned. We had sell-out attendance at 4 of those programs, thanks to timely topics, interesting panelists, and innovative marketing efforts.


Our chapter collaborated with other major business organizations in the region to develop a coordinated approach to serving entrepreneurs. MITEF NW hosted a social event with the Northwest Entrepreneur Network (NWEN), and produced dinner programs in cooperation with TechAmerica and Washington Technology Industries Association (WTIA). Our June Global Broadcast was a collaboration with the organizers of the 2009 Nanotechnology Health and Safety Forum. Throughout the season we coordinated with the local MIT Club.


A new Global Broadcast Committee Chair and Vice Chair this month produced a Global Broadcast in Seattle for the first time. The panel, "Extreme Science and its Entrepreneurial Opportunities," with a keynote by Dr. Leroy Hood, was very focused and insightful.


Venture Lab, meanwhile, had another strong season. The community has come to expect Venture Lab's steady stream of programs on business basics for tech startups. With today's launch of our web redesign, we finally are on the verge of accomplishing a task that appears deceivingly simple: Sell the rich library of Venture Lab DVDs online, making our excellent content available to entrepreneurs globally.


The Venture Lab DEMO, after holding its 4th and 5th sold-out events this season, has exciting plans in store for startup entrepreneurs next season.


Our mission also includes serving those who contribute their capital -- whether time or money -- to the chapter's success. Thanks to the creative enthusiasm of the Volunteers Committee, we have an environment where volunteers can derive value and fulfillment from their efforts. With the loyal support of our sponsors and the diligence of the Sponsorship Committee, we maintained last season's sponsorship level in difficult times.


Finally, we have a responsibility to remain financially viable and ethical, so we can continue to serve our constituents. The chapter’s financial results were in line with recent years, despite the economic challenges that marked the season. Our Treasurer has improved financial transparency this season, and reporting will continue to improve with the launch of our new web site.


The Board has been an excellent source of leadership, inspiration and friendship for me during my term as Chair. I extend my best wishes to the incoming Chair, Barney Silver, who has been a supportive Vice Chair during my term.


I believe now more than ever that MITEF NW is the greatest source of insight for technology entrepreneurs, and the best place to volunteer, in our region. Thank you for the opportunity to lead this excellent organization!


Denis Du Bois


MIT Enterprise Forum NW







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