Where to be

10+ can't-miss Houston business and innovation events for March

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

Saddle up, y'all. March might be the city of Houston's busiest month. The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo has kicked off, as has Houston Tech Rodeo. Plus, Houston innovators have CERAWeek to look forward to, as well as Houston-focused activations in Austin at SXSW. Here's a rundown of what all to throw on your calendar this month.

This article will be updated as more business and tech events are announced.


February 27-March 5 — Houston Tech Rodeo

Houston Exponential returns with its 3rd annual Houston Tech Rodeo, a week of events showcasing and connecting Houston's innovation and tech ecosystem. The majority of the programming is taking place downtown, and all events are free to attend. Click here to browse this year's events upon registration.

Click here for five can't-miss HTR events.

Click here to learn more about HTR.

March 2 — Building a Startup Ecosystem to Support Asian American Entrepreneurs

FilKor Capital's mission is to empower resilient Asian Americans to build enduring companies. We are focused on underserved communities to build deep and systemic impact, starting with Filipino American and Korean Americans. This event will launch a listening tour with a diverse mix of stakeholders (entrepreneurs, funders, government, chambers, corporates, universities, community, etc.) to understand needs, opportunities and ways to engage.

The event is Wednesday, March 2, from noon to 2 pm at Impact Hub Houston (1801 Main St.). Click here to register.

March 2 — Beyond the Pitch Deck

Pitching successfully is more than just creating a deck. Founders get a lot of advice on how to put slides together — but how do investors actually approach the process of determining what companies they want to invest in? In this moderated panel, founders can hear directly from investors to understand their perspectives.

The event is Wednesday, March 2, from 1 to 3 pm at Cannon West Houston (1334 Brittmoore Road). Click here to register.

March 3 — Ignite Healthcare Network’s 5th Annual Fire Pitch Competition 

The Fire Pitch Competition is the culmination of Ignite Healthcare Network's annual accelerator program created to encourage innovation in emerging women-led healthcare companies. The accelerator provides opportunities for women entrepreneurs to engage with advisors, potential customers, and investors to accelerate the growth of their companies.

The event is Thursday, March 3, from 5 to 8:30 pm at Texas Medical Center Innovation (2450 Holcombe Blvd.). Click here to register.

March 4 — 3rd Annual Houston Business Matchmaker

Hosted by the SBA, this annual Business Matchmaking event serves as a powerful means to help small businesses grow by meeting with multiple buyers from large businesses, colleges & universities, local, state, and federal agencies. The optimal outcome is a contract, but at minimum the small business will establish a relationship with an important buyer for future business.

The event is Friday, March 4, from 8:45 am to 3:30 pm, and virtual. Click here to register.

March 7-10 — Agora at CERAWeek

The 40th annual CERAWeek, a week-long event that aims to connect and convene the energy industry, returns to in-person programming this year in downtown Houston. The conference's innovation track, called Agora, has four days of panels, presentations, and networking. Note: InnovationMap has a guide to tapping into Houston innovation at CERAWeek ahead of this year's conference. Click here to read it.

The Agora sessions begin Monday, March 7, and conclude Thursday, March 10. All programming will take place at Hilton Americas-Houston (1600 Lamar St.). Click here to register.

March 8 — Transition on Tap

Transition On Tap is Greentown Labs’ monthly networking event devoted to fostering conversations and connections among the climate and energy transition ecosystem in Houston and beyond, and this one is focused on female founders. Entrepreneurs, investors, students, and friends of climatetech are invited to attend, meet colleagues, discuss solutions, and engage with our growing community.

The event is Tuesday, March 8, at 5 pm at Greentown Houston (4200 San Jacinto St.). Click here to register.

March 10 — Rise to the Top

The Greater Houston Partnership’s Women’s Business Alliance invites you to be part of an energizing conversation featuring outstanding female executives and thought leaders that leave the audience inspired and uplifted at the 11th annual Rise to the Top celebrating International Women's Day. To honor this year's International Women's day theme, #BreakTheBias, a panel of esteemed female leaders will discuss how we can work together to foster diversity, equity and inclusivity in our professional and personal lives. We will also talk mentors and mantras that helped these women rise to the top in their careers.

The event is Thursday, March 10, from 10:30 am to 1:30 pm at Marriott Marquis (1777 Walker St.). Click here to register.

March 10 — MarMo Pitch Competition

The Cannon's MarMo Pitch Competition is a life sciences/biotech-based pitch competition. Five teams will pitch an original tech-centered business idea to a panel of business experts and an audience of entrepreneurs, small business owners, potential investors, students, business and community leaders.

The event is Thursday, March 10, from 4 to 7 pm at The Cannon @ MarMo (2121 Market St.). Click here to register.

March 11-20 — SXSW (in Austin)

After two years of virtual conferences, SXSW is gearing up for in-person programming in Austin this year. The conference traverses film, music, education, and more, including tech and innovation. Plenty of Houston innovators will make the trek west to participate in the activations and networking opportunities. InnovationMap has a guide to tapping into Houston innovation at SXSW ahead of this year's conference. Click here to read it.

SXSW begins Friday, March 11, and conclude Sunday, March 20. All programming will take place in downtown Austin. Click here to register.

March 24 — Future Focus - Sportstech

In partnership with InnovationMap, alliantgroup invites you to an exciting panel discussion on the sportstech industry, where technology is transforming the world of sports. Our conversation will focus on four areas, where multi-billion dollar businesses are emerging seemingly overnight:

  • E-sports
  • Gambling
  • Health/performance
  • Fan engagement

Across these categories, technology is enabling interconnectedness, social interaction, new communities, improved health, subscriber-based business models, software as a service, and new revenue streams.

The event is Thursday, March 24, from 6 to 8 pm at alliantgroup (3009 Post Oak Blvd. Suite 2000.). Click here to register.

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Building Houston

 
 

After working with thousands of interns, Allie Danziger of Ampersand Professionals says she's now got a product to upskill and train new hires for employers. Photo courtesy of Ampersand

After seeing success with her internship training and matchmaking platform, Allie Danziger, founder and CEO of Ampersand Professionals, has expanded the concept to include a new hire training service that allows employers to better optimize the onboarding process and have a well-trained new staff member from day one.

In just over a year, Ampersand has worked with over 7,000 professionals through its original concept of upskilling and matching young professionals to internship programs. A few months ago, Danziger and her team expanded to include career development training for students first entering the workforce with the City of Houston's Hire Houston Youth program. Danziger says it was developing out the platform for this program that proved there was a need for this type of training.

"While we have focused on matching professionals with businesses for paid internships, we recognized a further gap with employers that have their own recruiting/talent acquisition teams, or just their own preferred way of bringing on entry-level talent, and didn’t have a need for our matching platform," Danziger tells InnovationMap. "But, they recognized the benefit of our proven training platform that pre-vets and de-risks their hires, and still wanted access to the training for their own hires."

The new program has evolved from training interns to new hires, so parts of the program that focuses on interviewing or applying for a job have been removed. Instead, the 8.5 hours of training focuses on networking, best practices for working with a manager and team, performance reviews, common software training, and more.

Danziger says usually new hires need the most experienced mentor or manager, but they don't usually get that support — especially when it comes to businesses that don't have their own built-out mentorship or training program.

"Ampersand’s new training product fills that gap — it gives employers of any size any easy solution to provide basic job readiness training to employees, access to our team of dedicated coaches, and a detailed report at the end of their training summarizing how their new hire did in the training and any trends recognized and tips for managing this employee based on what the platform uncovered," she says. "Businesses can also sign up for additional coaching sessions and customize training materials, as an add-on if interested."

The program costs the employer $100 per new employee, and checkout online takes less than a minute. Through both this program and the original internship program, Ampersand is constantly evolving its training content.

"These professionals are going through the same training experience that we have proven out over the last year, and we are constantly adding to based on data we see in the user experience," Danziger says.

Danziger recently joined the Houston Innovators Podcast discuss some of the benchmarks she's met with Ampersand, as well as the importance of investing in Gen Z hires. Listen to that episode below.


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