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10+ can't-miss virtual business and innovation events in Houston for September

Here's what interactive, virtual events to log on to this month. Getty Images

While September 1 might mean nearing fall to some, here in Houston we've got several more weeks of summer weather. However, encroaching fall also means the beginning of many annual events that happen in the Houston innovation ecosystem. This year, they'll be pivoting to virtual programming as social distancing continues to be encouraged in light of the pandemic.

With that in mind, here are over 10 Houston innovation events you can attend virtually via online meetings. Be sure to register in advance, as most will send an access link ahead of the events.

September 3 — Going From Target to Drug Candidate: A Protocol for Early Drug Development

Join TMC's ACT program to discuss the step-by-step considerations when designing an early stage drug molecule, led by Entrepreneur in Residence Sarah Hein, PhD. This session will give an overview of the early discovery process, including considerations before starting. Attendees are encouraged to dialogue throughout the session, and to bring their own real-life examples and challenges.

The event will take place online on Thursday, September 3, at 6 pm. Register here.

September 8 — Prophetic City Lecture with Dr. Steven L. Klineberg

Join The Ion and Stephen L. Klineberg, founding director of the Kinder Institute for Urban Research, for a discussion on how Houston exemplifies the trends that are transforming the social and political landscape across America. Klineberg recently released his book, Prophetic City: Houston on the Cusp of a Changing America, that explores over 30 years of research on Houston.

The event will take place online on Tuesday, September 8, at noon. Register here.

September 8 — Capital Factory's Latinx in Tech Summit

Capital Factory welcomes you to its first virtual Latinx in Tech Summit. Attendees can look forward to a keynote chat from a serial entrepreneur or investor, insightful discussion sessions, a startup showcase pitch competition, Epic Office Hours, and panels on relevant topics facing the tech ecosystem.

The event will take place online on Tuesday, September 8, at noon. Register here.

September 10 — HXTV| VC Ask Me Anything Virtual Event featuring Texas HALO Fund

Get some virtual face time with Texas HALO Fund's four managing directors at this free, livestreamed event.

The event will take place online on Thursday, September 10, at 1 pm. Register here.

September 14-18 — General Assembly's Shift[ED] Summit

Now more than ever Texans need to be able to shift in their careers. From the current rate of unemployment due to COVID-19 to the rising need to be able to learn new technologies, careers aren't linear any more. Learn to shift your skill set through a week long of programming with experts across the Lone Star State from General Assembly.

This event will take place online from Monday, September 14, to Friday, September 18. Register here.

September 15-17 — 18th Annual Rice Alliance Energy Tech Venture Forum

Meet the future of energy tech at the annual Rice Alliance Energy Tech Venture Forum. For three days, 40 companies will pitch virtually across energy technology, from power storage and carbon modeling to hydrogen innovations and solar energy.

The event will take place online from Tuesday, September 15, to Thursday, September 17. Register here.

September 17 — Now What? Resilience and Transformation Strategies for Small Businesses

The landscape of how business gets done has undeniably changed in the era of COVID-19 - quite likely for years to come. Going digital means more than just digital calls, but instead requires a transformation in how companies should grow and ensure business continuity. Join The Ion and its guest speakers as they discuss how they've adapted to this brave new digital world and what companies can do not only to survive but thrive within it.

The event will take place online on Thursday, September 17, at 1 pm. Register here.

September 22 — Venture Debt Workshop

The Houston Angel Network has teamed up with Silicon Valley Bank to explore venture debt and how it can support your investments and company.

The event will take place online on Tuesday, September 22, at 11:30 am. Register here.

September 23 — Why Venture Capitalists are Investing in "Software Beyond the Screen"

Software has had an amazing decade, as it has transitioned from desktop computers into the cloud and onto smartphones. In the process, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists have smartly capitalized on this trend. The next decade will focus on software making an even more important jump: moving beyond the screen and into the real world around us. In this talk hosted by Rice University's Liu Idea Lab for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (Lilie), Sunil Nagaraj of Ubiquity Ventures will explore how software is beginning to animate, understand and navigate the real world with profound implications.

The event will take place online on Wednesday, September 23, at 4 pm. Register here.

September 25 — Design Thinking for Tech and Innovation Workshop | Idea Generation

Join The Ion and speaker Tanveer Chaudhary to get a hands on lesson on how to generate ideas to solve your problem and how to express the finer details of the ideas to gain more clarity.

The event will take place online on Tuesday, September 29, at 7 pm. Register here.

September 29 — Startups and Venture Capital Investing in a Pandemic Environment

Join the Liu Idea Lab for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Rice's Computer Science department, and featured Rice alumni as we discuss how COVID19 has affected launching and investing in startups.

The event will take place online on Friday, September 25, at 11:30 am. Register here.

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Building Houston

 
 

Photo courtesy of Clean Origin

Engagement season is in full swing, but even if you're not shopping for a sparkler to put on your beloved's ring finger, you might be in the market for gorgeous diamond earrings, bracelets, or a necklace.

In either case, have you considered lab-created diamonds? Lab-grown diamonds are chemically identical to mined diamonds, and look the same to the naked eye, even to a professional.

They're also the only way to know that your diamond jewelry is 100-percent ethically sourced and not contributing to the social and environmental destruction caused by the mining industry.

"The mining industry causes rapid deforestation, displaces communities (including Indigenous peoples), and harms biodiversity," says Clean Origin co-founder Alexander Weindling. "In 2021, mining companies used 126 gallons of water per carat mined."

Weindling, a third-generation diamond jeweler, started Clean Origin in 2017 with Ryan Bonifacino, combining more than 200 years of diamond expertise with modern, ethical practices. They exclusively sell 100-percent conflict-free, lab-grown diamonds and, when possible, recycled precious metals.

What started out as an online-only company now has showrooms in Houston, Dallas, and Columbus, Ohio, with locations opening soon in Chicago, Southern California, and Northern Virginia.

Customers can meet a qualified jewelry consultant and explore engagement rings, wedding bands, earrings, necklaces, tennis bracelets, and fashion jewelry.

They can also learn how lab-grown diamonds are created just like natural diamonds, using technology that mimics the heat and pressure created by the earth’s crust. These diamonds still have variations like mined diamonds — not all lab-grown diamonds are perfect — and are still measured with the 4 Cs:

  • Cut: how the diamond refracts light. Note: This is different from shape, which refers to the diamond’s physical shape (such as oval, round, etc.).
  • Color: the hue or tint of the diamond.
  • Clarity: the measure of internal or external imperfections.
  • Carat: the weight of the diamond.

All of Clean Origin's diamonds are independently certified to ensure they are of the highest quality.

Some other perks of shopping with Clean Origin include a generous 100-day return policy and free resizing for engagement rings, and all orders include complimentary expedited shipping to ensure your jewelry arrives swiftly and safely.

Clean Origin’s online ring builder helps you envision your or your partner’s dream engagement ring. If you’re just beginning the diamond buying process, schedule a free virtual appointment with one of their qualified jewelry consultants, who will talk you through the process and answer any questions you have about the selection.

And here's the kicker: lab-grown diamonds can be anywhere from 20-40 percent less expensive than mined stones, meaning you can get more wow factor for way less. What's not to love about that?

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