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GIST TechConnect: Getting Your Name Out There: Branding and Marketing for Startups

Tuesday, October 17, 2017 - 11:00 to Friday, October 20, 2017 - 23:00
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Program Description

Your startup may offer a great product or service, but if you can't reach your target customer base, your startup is likely to fail. Effective branding and marketing is one of the many challenges early-stage startups face, largely due to limited resources and staff.  To survive and thrive, you must learn how to overcome those limitations and get your name out there. So how does a startup do that? Where does a startup even start with branding and marketing? These topics and more will be covered by an expert panel of speakers in the October TechConnect: “Getting your Name Out There: Branding and Marketing for Startups.”

Join our interactive webchat on Tuesday, October 17 at 11:00 a.m. EDT/15:00 UTC to learn more about branding and marketing for your startup. A panel of experts will answer your questions live. No matter where you are in your entrepreneurial journey, this TechConnect will give you advice and tips that will help you determine your next steps.

To participate in the conversation, visit or submit your questions on Twitter by using #GISTTechConnect. The program will be in English with Spanish and French interpretation.


Why participate?

- Listen to a panel of experts discuss how startups can best brand themselves and market their goods and services.

- Ask the experts all your questions about marketing and branding.

- Learn what factors and challenges you should consider when marketing and branding your startup.


Speaker Biographies

Steven Rodriguez

Steven focuses on building the Global Entrepreneurship Network's (GEN) capacity to impact entrepreneurship ecosystems around the world. He helps foster community building through various programs and initiatives: Startup Compete, Startup Open, Startup Huddle and GEN Starters Club. By connecting community stakeholders to GEN initiatives, he seeks to ensure that community leaders are busy unleashing help foster entrepreneurship entrepreneurs around the world. Steven also helps with the Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) USA initiative, facilitating communication and collaboration amongst members. Prior to joining GEN, Steven served with NextGen Venture Partners and Techstars Startup Communities. He studied International Relations at the City University of New York-City College.


Ray Sanchez

Ray is the managing partner and co-founder of Ghostlight Creative. He established Ghostlight in 2006 after starting his career with Creativa Inc., a brand management company and international full service boutique that managed brands such as Church’s Chicken and Gas Natural. He graduated with degrees in Advertising and Theater Arts from the University of Texas-El Paso.


Jane Sugiyama

Jane is the Marketing Specialist for the University of Michigan (U-M) Center for Entrepreneurship’s Technology Acceleration Programs, which include the National Science Foundation’s Midwest Innovation Corps (I-Corps) Node, the Michigan Translational Research & Commercialization (MTRAC) Advanced Transportation Innovation Hub, and the Monroe-Brown Biomedical Seed Fund. Prior to her role as Marketing Specialist, she worked with various partners throughout the Midwest region, and directly supported faculty and researchers looking to turn their inventive technology solutions into a commercial opportunity. In addition to her role at CFE, she also oversees the digital marketing and communications at U-M’s Mcity–a public-private partnership led by U-M to accelerate advanced mobility vehicles and technologies. In 2015, Jane assisted in launching TechLab at Mcity–an incubator for automated and connected vehicle-enabling technology. As the brand and program manager, she is responsible for leading the marketing and communications efforts and fostering partnerships within the nation’s connected and autonomous vehicle industry. Jane graduated with a B.A. in Communication and Media Studies from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Previously, she worked for the Alumni Association of the University of Michigan and FOX 47 News.