Startups

Delaware’s ‘block party’ for entrepreneurs comes to Wilmington streets Oct. 4

The fifth annual Delaware Entrepreneurial Summit returns to IRL with a new, but familiar format.

Details inside The Queen unseen during press conferences.

(Photo by Holly Quinn)

Editor’s note: This story first appeared as a newsletter alongside a roundup of Technical.ly’s best reporting from the week, job openings and more. Subscribe here to get updates on Delaware tech, business and innovation news in your inbox on Thursdays.


You may know Jeremy Hebbel as one of the cofounders of Gable Music Ventures and the Ladybug Festival, an event that brings thousands to downtown Wilmington every summer to celebrate women in music.

Hebbel moved on from Gable several months ago to take the full-time position of program manager at the Emerging Enterprise Center, and is now a few weeks into his current role: project manager and event specialist for the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce.

On Tuesday, Oct 4, the fifth annual Delaware Entrepreneurial Summit returns to IRL with a new, but familiar format.

“As you know, I love putting on a block party,” Hebbel told Technical.ly. “When we started talking about what we wanted the Entrepreneurial Summit to look like this year, we really just wanted to celebrate and inspire the entrepreneurial community. I started thinking, could something like the Ladybug Festival be possible for this kind of professional networking event? I took a lot of the things I learned doing Ladybug for almost 10 years and applied them to this kind of event. And I’m really excited about how it’s turned out.”

See the full schedule

Market Street between Fifth and Sixth will be closed for the event, and just like Ladybug, there will be a main stage outdoors for the keynotes and some of the panels. Additional panels will happen inside The Queen and Old Town Hall.

The main stage will be in view of Willingtown Square, the small historic part that will serve as the event’s beer garden and networking space, featuring a selection of Delaware-brewed beers.

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Local food will also be available, with vendors including members of the Wilmington Kitchen Collective, local food trucks and restaurateurs. Market Street eateries Green Box Kitchen and Farmer and the Cow will also participate.

“It’s a celebration — come out, enjoy, have a good time, that’s really what this is all about,” Hebbel said. “One of the panels we’re calling ‘Taking the Leap,’ which is all about people that have gone from really good employment situations to going into business for themselves. It takes a tremendous amount of courage. Hearing some of those stories is amazing.”

The event will kick off at noon with an opening keynote from Chris Buccini, co-president of the Buccini-Pollin Group on the main stage, followed by a panel of Delaware restaurateurs telling their “Recipes for Success.” Other topics throughout the day will include finding venture capital in Delaware, brand building, the economy of creativity and the value of partnerships.

At The Queen, Lee Mikles and Patrick Callahan will be doing a live podcast recording of “Battle Scars, Tales from Entrepreneurs.”

The closing keynote will feature Carl Shaw and Jamar Rahming on the main stage, moderated by Ivan Thomas. The event won’t stop there: Festivities will continue in the beer garden, and at 6 p.m. the finals of the Emerging Enterprise Center’s Swim with the Sharks competition kicks off at The Queen.

Speaking of Swim with the Sharks, here are the finalists who will compete on Oct. 4:

  • Aaron Swan II, CEO of 24HR Truck Services
  • Cora Leigh Castle, president and CEO of OmniPotential Energy Partners, LLC
  • Shavonne Fair, owner and CEO of Hybrid Bakery
  • Diego Ruiz, owner of LU Sports
  • Aaron Weaver, owner and primary care physician of First State Direct Primary Care

In addition to the $10,000 grand prize and $1,000 people’s choice award, this year there will also be a $2,500 runner-up prize provided by Harvard Business Services.

You can view preliminary round pitches and vote for the people’s choice award online.

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