Warren Buffett recently gave the grim diagnosis, “the economy has fallen of the cliff” and “can’t turn around on a dime.” Amidst this, a conference focused on entrepreneurship?  What could 4,000 professionals milling around possibly look to gain from the meeting?

TiE Silicon Valley’s annual flagship conference, TiEcon 2009, will focus on “The BOLD Entrepreneur,” celebrating the extraordinary person who thinks Big and Out of the box, Learns to adapt to changing conditions, and Dares to create his or her own future. The agenda is designed to spur out-of-the-ordinary ideas, instill skills to adapt to changing conditions, and offer unlimited networking.

“This year, actively engaged VCs (venture capitalists) will give attendees straight talk on how to secure money, despite the economy,” says Vish Mishra, president of TiE-SV and director at Clearstone Ventures. “Professionals will rediscover that entrepreneurship is the antidote to recession.”

TiEcon keynote speakers Hans Morris, president of Visa; Brad Smith, CEO of Intuit; Reid Hoffman, CEO of LinkedIn; and Paul Maritz, CEO of VMWare, will provide insights on developing market leadership and instilling a culture of innovation and resilience. The conference focuses on five industry segments: consumer web, Internet infrastructure, software, cleantech, and wireless. Panels are targeted around topics relevant to the current economic climate. A life sciences panel, for instance, will focus on the opportunities likely to be created by the current administration’s policies and billions of dollars allocated for health care technology innovation.

TiEcon 2009 will host the first annual showcase of 50 of the most promising startups. Nominations have already surpassed 1,000. Winners will be selected after a rigorous screening process and the selected top 50 companies will present at TiEcon. Intensive BootCamp sessions will offer battle-tested information, tips, and strategies on starting and running a company and taking it to the next level. If the mantra of real estate is location, location, location, the mantra for professionals is network, network, network. TiEcon 2009 will offer smart networking opportunities through PowerConnect, premier lunch sessions focused on key industry segments, and an ability to continue to network through an exclusive LinkedIn group.

TiEcon is testimony to the bold, unyielding optimism of entrepreneurs and professionals who march forward, recession or not. Perhaps, therein lies a ray of hope, to nurture a bright and booming economy, once again.
The economy may not turn around on a dime, but investment into innovation and entrepreneurship will establish a foundation for gradual shift toward economic prosperity.

May 15-16. Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara. (408) 567-0700, Ext. 228.amanda@tie.org. www.tiecon.org.

Darshana Nadkarni is an executive recruiter for medical device companies. She can be reached at wd_darshana@hotmail.com

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