Third annual Tech Fest set for next week

Thursday, August 2, 2018

The Marquette Tech District is hosting its third Tech Fest Aug. 9 and 10.

The event has grown each year, and because of the popularity, will move to the Isle Casino Cape Girardeau's event center to accommodate the crowd.

One of the more popular aspects of the Tech Fest is the 1st50K competition that invites startup companies to vie for $50,000 in cash and pro bono services. The majority of this year's competitors are already generating revenue with developed products, according to Codefi co-founder Chris Carnell. Codefi is marketing the event.

Carnell said entrepreneurs come from across the globe. They don't have to be tech companies, but the panelists look for "companies doing innovative things," Carnell told business reporter Marybeth Niederkorn. Past winners of the competition include Nutlock, a bicycle-lock company and Morning Star Behavioral Associates, a company specializing in assistance for people with developmental or intellectual disabilities. The winners of the contest have so far generated nearly $2 million and created 20 jobs. This year, the winner of the contest will be announced at Tech Fest.

Tech Fest also involves a special guest speaker, Cuonzo Martin, head basketball coach at the University of Missouri at Columbia, whose story of overcoming adversity has a lot of parallels to challenges faced by entrepreneurs, Carnell said.

Carnell said about 250 to 350 people are expected to attend the ticketed event.

Tech Fest also includes "fireside chats", a youth coding camp showcase, a Tech Fest gala and after party.

Tickets are available at www.codefiworks.com, along with a schedule of events and more information.

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