2016 Schedule

Interactive: March 11–15  •  Film: March 11–19  •  Music: March 15–20

Southern Entrepreneurship Takes Root

Friday, March 11
11:00AM - 12:00PM

Hilton Austin Downtown
Salon E
500 E 4th St


The future of small business below the Mason Dixon line is grows brighter and increasingly robust. Organizations such as the Delta Regional Authority, Memphis’ Entrepreneurship-Powered Innovation Center (EPICenter), Nashville’s Entrepreneurs Center, and Mississippi’s Golden Triangle Region Link (GTR Link) are changing the Deep South. With miles of greenery and beautiful farms and mansions dotting the highways, many cities in this region exude natural beauty that adds to the overall high quality of life. Today, there is more to be seen behind the region’s Southern charm than in years past: a thriving ecosystem of startups, fiber-optic networks and strong universities and colleges.

Hashtags: #sxsw #southernstartups


Blake Hogan at SXSW

Blake Hogan

Dir of Strategic Partnerships

Nashville Entrepreneur Society

Blake Hogan and his wife Colbi Layne are recent Austin, Texas transplants. Hogan is a Marine veteran, entrepreneur, and graduate of the University of Minnesota. Upon leaving active duty service, ...

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Eric Mathews at SXSW

Eric Mathews

Exec Dir

Start Co

Eric Mathews is a champion for community and entrepreneurial change. Beginning in 2006, he began experimenting and building entrepreneurial ecosystem components in Memphis, Tennessee. In 2008, Er...

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Katie Milligan at SXSW

Katie Milligan

Special Asst for Small Business & Entrepreneurship

Delta Regional Authority

Katie Milligan hails from the Arkansas Delta, and holds a degree in political science from the University of Mississippi. Katie returned to Arkansas to pursue a master's of public service at the Un...

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Leslie Smith at SXSW

Leslie Smith


Memphis Epicenter

Leslie Lynn Smith, a nationally recognized entrepreneurial and business development leader, joined EPIcenter in Memphis, Tenn., as its first president in 2015.

EPIcenter serves as a central poin...

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