Concept: Create a rural business conference based in Iroquois County with the purpose of:
1) Celebrating & encouraging existing rural businesses
2) Changing stereotypes of what rural business is like
3) Sparking new rural business ideas and concepts
4) Raising up a new generation of rural entrepreneurs
Format: This conference would be presented over the course of one day, with four different styles of presentation interspersed throughout the day.
1) Single speaker presentations– we will invite hand-picked rural business people to give 15-20 minute presentations on one core value, life-changing idea, or success formula that has helped shape their approach to rural business.
2) Live interviews – we will conduct live 15-20 minute interviews with a variety of business people, government officials, and other stakeholders and decision-makers who impact the rural business climate in various ways.
3) Panel discussions– we will hold one or two 20-30 minute panel discussions on a specific topic with 3-5 business people, government officials, and other stakeholders and decision-makers.
4) Question & answer – at appropriate times throughout the conference, we will open up the floor to questions from the audience.
We will also plan quiet spaces for attendees to connect throughout the day, as well as a relaxed lunch session.
Venue: Venue host of choice would be the new Town & Country conference center and bridal venue in Milford IL.
Video: Video production is critical to this conference. While the live component of this conference is important, we want to create a long-lasting high quality video product that can be viewed online. An example of this is the highly-acclaimed TEDtalks conference series.
Our rural business conference would employ Iroquois County-based Center Street Productions as a video partner and would publish the conference videos on IroquoisCounty.tv. We believe these videos will have a high value over time, with wide viewership throughout Iroquois County and beyond.
Funding: This conference will seek funding through several sources: local, regional, and state-wide grants, business & private sponsorship, as well as donations of goods & services.
Time-frame: We are in the initial phase of assessing interest, building a core group of people who can make this a reality, and assessing the cost & feasibility of the event. A realistic time frame at this point is Fall 2017 or Spring 2018, but more accurate information will be made available as we progress.
Feedback: Please contact us here with any questions, comments, concerns, or any other feedback regarding this project.
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