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Brooks Buffington and Tyler Droll-h. Yik Yak Thinc. 2015
Yik Yak founders Brooks Buffington

Thinc. Week to focus on enhancing innovation, entrepreneurship at UGA

Aspiring entrepreneurs from UGA and the Athens community will have a chance to rub shoulders with successful innovators and help develop the local startup ecosystem during Thinc. Week, March 23-27, on the UGA campus.

Thinc.. Week kicks off with the second annual Local Arts & Culture Business Summit, bringing together local business owners to share experiences and advocate for the best ways to support local arts entrepreneurs in the future.

Thinc. participants have numerous opportunities to interact with entrepreneurs in fields ranging from agriculture and bioscience to media and consumer science. Founders of PhytoSynthetic and Meredian Holdings Group, companies in UGA’s startup incubator, will be part of a Agbioscience Startup Safari; founders of companies that are working to find cures for diabetes, cancer and other diseases, also in the startup incubator, will welcome questions at the Innovation Gateway open house; and the creators of the controversial social media app Yik Yak will tell their story at an event in the Tate Student Center Theatre. A panel of entrepreneurs representing the College of Family and Consumer Sciences will offer insights into families, fashion and consumer economics in the panel discussion, “Digital Disruption: The Latest Ideas Driving Change.”

Aspiring entrepreneurs who hope to one day pitch their business ideas can attend the eHub Pitch Camp, where ideas will be critiqued by a panel of entrepreneurs and investors for prize money. For those looking for creative ways to develop entrepreneurial skills, Aleta Hayes, a Stanford University dance instructor, will offer a workshop that uses movement to increase leadership and collaboration, and a session on idea generation with Athens Land Conservation director Kyle Williams will offer advice on using design thinking to generate ideas for new projects and businesses.

Athens has many advantages—technology, talent and green spaces—of a university town but without the costs and traffic of bigger cities. An informal UGA/Athens Startup Ecosystem Design Thinking Session is the place for participants to offer their thoughts on how to create an even better community where innovation and entrepreneurship can thrive.

This year’s lineup also includes a workshop and open house for UGA’s new Maker Space in the science library, where students can design and fabricate products using 3-D printers, laser cutters and digital scanners. If shopping is more their thing, participants can stop by the Couture a la Cart and Student Innovator’s Marketplace, a mobile retail store operated by students in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences, where student entrepreneurs sell apparel, art, jewelry and more.

Thinc. Week coincides with the Athens Slingshot Festival, an international festival of music, electronic art and technology. A Sensory Overload Conference during the festival will showcase innovative approaches to big data visualization.