The upcoming 2012 SXSW Interactive Festival is, perhaps, one of the most exciting yearly events for the tech sector, attracting startups, entrepreneurs, investors and cutting-edge digital taste makers. And every year I return to SXSW, I’m amazed to see its evolution in catering to the growing niches that sprout from the Interactive segment in particular.
Coming in 2012 will be one solely for startups, where good ideas, an eager public and even a few curious investors will be able to congregate at any point during the conference. It’s called the Startup Village, and its a new effort by Chris Valentine and others that recognize the growing need for specialized resources within this vast event.
If you’ve ever been to SXSW you know how homey a certain area of the conference center can become, acting as a honing ground for like-minded attendees. There’s several hubs, intentional and otherwise, that sprout up during SXSW’s never-ending festivities, and as these communities continue to form within the conference, the need to extend resources becomes all the more apparent. With a melting pot of ideas, early adopters and media coverage, Startup Village hopes to create a hub for SXSW’s most active visitors. Primarily located on the fourth floor of the Austin Downtown Hilton, Startup Village will include the festival’s heralded SXSW Accelerator program, which showcases some of the web’s most exciting new innovations.
“Over the last few years, Startups and the entrepreneurs who nurture them have become a vital part of the SXSW Interactive festival. As such, we have designed the Startup Village to be a home base for these attendees to learn, network and share their experiences,” Valentine says. “SXSW strives to foster an environment of innovation and collaboration, and with the launch of Startup Village, we’re magnifying that atmosphere by converging startup-specific programming, events and the SXSW Accelerator program in one dedicated location.”
What’s more is that the SXSW Startup Village will become an integral part of the conference itself, with its own panel programming and workshops designed to educate budding and current entrepreneurs on best practices and lessons learned. There’s also going to be mentoring and coaching sessions, and the ever-needed lounge areas (for networking–not napping, people!).
Another niche program to look out for at SXSW next year is the new category for health technology startups. And they’re taking submissions till mid-November.
“Health Technologies – This category is about patient-centric health applications and technologies that connect patients, families, physicians, pharmacists, care providers (hospital, clinics) and benefit providers — to share timely, relevant health data and drive better outcomes at affordable and sustainable cost levels.”