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5+ can't-miss Houston business and innovation events for January

Here's your one-stop shop for innovation events in Houston this month. Photo via Getty Images

Houstonians have the chance to start off the new year with a bang. In this batch of in-person and online innovation events, you can check out five Houston innovation and entrepreneurship events you and your tech network need to know about.

Here's a roundup of events not to miss this month — and this article will be updated as more business and tech events are announced.

January 5 — Business Planning with SCORE

A business plan is an important planning tool for raising startup capital and helping you monitor progress of your business venture. It is a “living” document that should be updated often. The webinar will help you prepare a realistic plan in a very easy way that focuses on answering audience questions rather than fitting into a prescribed format. No business should be started or maintained without a plan. The method presented in the webinar is different from following a traditional template approach which can be sometimes overwhelming and disjointed.

The event is on Wednesday, January 5, at 10 am It's free and happening online. Click here to register.

January 14 —  Innovation, Science Education, and the Enhancement of Americans' Quality of Life

Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy will host a breakfast reception and presentation – Innovation, Science Education, and the Enhancement of Americans' Quality of Life – which will examine the ways in which innovation, science and technology are used in tandem to solve the challenges society faces on both a national and global scale.

The Honorable Sethuraman Panchanathan, Director of the United States National Science Foundation and a distinguished leader in computer science, engineering and entrepreneurship, is the featured speaker.

The event is on Friday, January 14, at 7:30 am It's free and happening at James A. Baker III Hall, Rice University (6100 Main St.) Click here to register.

January 20 — Ignite Network’s Annual Fire Pitch

Ignite Healthcare Network’s Annual Fire Pitch Competition is returning as an in-person event January 20 at TMC Innovation. The unique accelerator connects female entrepreneurs leading healthcare start-ups with potential customers and investors who advise them on the strengths and weaknesses of their companies. The opportunity for direct feedback from industry experts provides competing health and med-tech companies with long-term benefits in addition to awarded cash prizes. The 2021 eight finalists, selected from a total of 125 applications, will present on January 20th at TMC Innovation. The event is open to the public and tickets are available through the Ignite website.

The event is on Thursday, January 20, at 5 pm. It's free and happening at TMC Innovation (2450 Holcombe Blvd.). Click here to register.

January 24-28 — ShiftEd: Career Camp to Relaunch Your Career

Join General Assembly for a weeklong camp to gain the skills and knowledge that will enable you to fulfill your mission without burning out. The first step to doing work that matters is identifying what ignites passion, purpose, and satisfaction in your career and in you. If you don’t have answers right away, you’re not alone. We often don’t have the time, tools, or guidance to find a clear answer. Finding work that really matters requires — well — work.

The event is on January 24-January 28. It's free and happening online. Click here to register.

(POSTPONED) January 27 — Rice Alliance's 19th Annual Energy Tech Venture Forum 

This event has been postponed to Sept. 15. The original event listing is below.

This event is an opportunity to learn about the latest emerging technologies, meet investors to seek funding, see promising companies, learn about investment opportunities, meet individuals from the energy industry, as well networking and learning opportunities for entrepreneurs, researchers, investment professional and business executives.

The event is jam-packed with quality companies and conversations and is the go-to event of the year to connect with and see where energy is headed. The conference will include industry speakers, investors, and promising startups from throughout the U.S. and beyond.

The event is on Thursday, January 27. It's happening at Jones School of Business, McNair Hall ( Rice University, 6100 Main St.). Click here to register.

January 28 — Greater Houston Partnership's Partnership Week Begins

Annual Meeting kicks off the second annual Partnership Week, a multi-day opportunity to learn more about the Partnership’s work and how members can get involved in our efforts to make Houston even greater. Details on Partnership Week activities are coming soon.

GHP's Partnership Week begins on Friday, January 28. Click here to learn more.

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Building Houston

 
 

Katie Eick, founder and CEO of Rockin' Pets Rollin' Vets joins the Houston Innovators Podcast to discuss her company's growth. Photo courtesy of Rollin' Vets

For years, Dr. Katie Eick wanted to provide mobile veterinary care for her patients, but the technology wasn't where it needed to be. She took a gamble and bought her first truck in 2016 as ridesharing and mobile ordering took off. A new business of convenience was booming, before blasting off again amid the pandemic.

Now, the founder and CEO of Rockin' Pets, Rollin' Vets says she's got the equipment, the market demand, and a $5 million round of investment to expand her business model.

The other challenge Eick says she faced early on was a misconception that mobile vet care was limited to vaccinations.

"We provide the highest level of veterinary care — right in your driveway," Eick says on this week's episode of the Houston Innovators Podcast, explaining how each of her trucks — she now has five — have the capability to provide all sorts of treatment.

"We have a surgery suite, we have high-speed dental equipment — just like your dentist has. We have X-ray machines and ultrasound machines on almost all of our trucks," she explains. "We carry a full pharmacy on every truck."

It took a while to get to where she is today, which is caring for clients across Houston, with a recent expansion into The Woodlands and a soft launch in Austin. She plans to expand in Central Texas, including San Antonio, before tackling the northern region of the state. She also has a franchise model that she hopes to utilize to grow the brand nationally and even abroad.

"It was hard to educate the public on what we can do on those trucks," Eick adds "It took the first year, and once the word started to get out, then it snowballed."

Contributing to the snowball effect was the pandemic, which led pet owners to looking into alternative ways to access vet treatment. Now, Eick is focused on growing her team to support the company's growth. And, she adds, this is no easy task in today's employment climate.

"In this day and age, everyone has a shortage. ... The workforce is just smaller," Eick says. "There's a nationwide shortage of vets, and it's a confluence of things that have happened that I wished we saw coming."

Eick explains how the level of care vets are now able to — and expected to — give has increased with new technologies, specialist practices, and more. But the number of new vets with each graduating class has remained the same. Retention is also an issue, as the toll on veterinarians' mental health takes providing such frequent end of life care — on top of an increasingly busier schedule.

Eick shares more on the show about her observations on the current challenges within the industry as well as how she's innovating within her own practice to combat these obstacles. Listen to the interview below — or wherever you stream your podcasts — and subscribe for weekly episodes.


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