Monday, July 20, 2009

Roy and Bertrand Sosa Talk about RISE Austin

Roy and Bertrand Sosa Talk about RISE Austin

Where are you from originally?

Roy and I are originally from Mexico. Austin became our home in 1986.

What university did you go to?

We both attended the University of Texas at Austin.

What brought you to Austin?

We moved to Austin with our mother who wanted to pursue a career as a doctor in the US.

What is the idea behind your group?

In 2006, my brother and I were approached by the Kauffman Foundation to lead an initiative for Austin as part of their founding of "Entrepreneurship Week USA." Our concept was to create a not-for-profit conference for and by entrepreneurs that would truly embody and celebrate Austin's entrepreneurial spirit. We modeled RISE on a format similar to SXSW in which multiple events would be held simultaneously at venues around Austin. In its third year, RISE - a Relationship & Information Series for Entrepreneurs - is an annual conference series dedicated to providing a free forum for entrepreneurs to connect and exchange ideas that inspire the entrepreneurial spirit.

What exactly does your group do?

For, by and about entrepreneurs, RISE takes place in concurrent sessions hosted by local entrepreneurs in venues around Greater Austin. Sessions are limited to 25 participants and there is no cost to host or attend sessions. RISE sessions are
independently organized and peer-led and represent a range of topics of interest to entrepreneurs of all sizes in all industries. In 2009, RISE offered related sessions organized into series including the Social Entrepreneurship series, the Hispanic Entrepreneurs series and the Austin Women Entrepreneurs series. Past RISE hosts include Roy Spence (GSD&M), John Mackey (Whole Foods Market), Jimmy Treybig (NEA), Philip Berber (A Glimmer of Hope Foundation), Clayton Christopher (Sweet Leaf Tea), Elizabeth Avellan (Troublemaker Studios), Jack McDonald (Perficient), and Ellen Wood (vCFO).

Who is it for?

Created and produced for entrepreneurs by entrepreneurs, the event attracts a
growing number of aspiring, new and established entrepreneurs in all industries each year. Over the past three years, RISE attendance has doubled annually and in 2009, we had over 1700 people join us for RISE sessions.

What is the next step for you and your group?

As the demand for RISE increases, we have been transforming from a single event into a year-round organization. In 2010, RISE anticipates offering quarterly networking and educational forums in addition to our annual March conference.

What advice do you have for entrepreneurs?

One of the keys to success in business is to find a partner. We're fortunate to be
brothers, but the key is to partner with someone who complements your strengths and weaknesses and to build a partnership based on trust and commitment. Just like dieting, climbing a mountain or achieving any goal, it's so much easier to sustain the momentum when you have a partner to support you. We would change our line of business before we changed partners.

Best regards,
Hall T.