AFCEA International Chapter News
MONTGOMERY CHAPTER CHAPTER - Jun 18, 2015

Young AFCEANs Host Talk on Technical Business Development

In June, the chapter's Young AFCEANs hosted a Business Over Breakfast seminar featuring guest speaker Boyd Stephens, founder of Netelysis, on the topic “The Rise of the Silicon Black Belt Tech Corridor.” The event was held at the Hilton Garden Inn in Montgomery, Alabama. Stephens spoke to a full house of military, industry and government professionals and kicked off his presentation by discussing start-up ventures. One of his first efforts related to start-ups came after seeing a premier networking space with software developers and engineers in Austin, Texas. Stephens said he brought this innovative idea back to the local chamber of commerce, and soon a similar workspace was established in his area. Multiple other requests for workspaces came from this initial effort. Stephens also mentioned the RISE start-up conference he attended, which offers prime platforms for start-ups to promote their company products and services. He also discussed the importance of bootstrapping and the passion start-up founders must have for their businesses. In a more in-depth technical example, Stephens talked about Google's high-speed broadband efforts in Kansas City, Missouri, and Chattanooga, Tennessee, and cited some of the determining factors affecting a start-up of this nature, including fiber cost, physical terrain and viable groups of customers willing to pay for services and products. He offered the following suggestions for lean start-ups: Document the planning process, identify the riskiest parts of the plan, and systemically test the plan. Ideas, capital and talents are all essential elements of a successful start-up venture, which can be a 20-year proposition and requires dedication and commitment, he said. He said the main challenge in building a start-up is trying to evoke a change in mindset. Instead of hindering a robust start-up ecosystem by not embracing change, Stephens recommends that people engage and become involved to stay true to common goals and themes in their community. He said the entrepreneurial business can be a risky venture, which sometimes leads to “caged-bird syndrome,” in which talent in a region revolves around one area and the environment is not conducive to innovation. He emphasized maintaining an end goal of positive cash flow and engaging with technical talent doing innovative work. Stephens, for example, actively participates in efforts to help train potential start-ups via a group called Revolution Montgomery, which offers helpful seminars on topics such as angel investing and banking. Stephens then engaged in a question-and-answer session with audience members and networked with attendees after the discussion. The chapter's Young AFCEANs thank Stephens for donating his time to share his thoughts on technical start-up businesses.

Event Photographs:

The chapter's June Business Over Breakfast guest speaker, Boyd Stephens, founder of Netelysis, presents
The chapter's June Business Over Breakfast guest speaker, Boyd Stephens, founder of Netelysis, presents "The Rise of the Silicon Black Belt Tech Corridor."
During the June breakfast, Stephens (r) accepts a certificate of appreciation from Kameke Mitchell, president, Young AFCEA Montgomery Chapter.
During the June breakfast, Stephens (r) accepts a certificate of appreciation from Kameke Mitchell, president, Young AFCEA Montgomery Chapter.
Business Over Breakfast attendees network after the June event.
Business Over Breakfast attendees network after the June event.

For more details regarding this event contact:
Taylor Gardiner
334-314-6763

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