Kansas native Jon Crawford connects with Kansas Citian David Snodgrass at SXSW Interactive 2011.
Startup MissouriÂ is hosting the "ShowMe SXSW" caravan, with sponsorships from Kauffman Foundation, the St. Louis Regional Chamber and others. Cameron CushmanÂ (below), senior advisor at Kauffman Foundation, said the idea started when entrepreneurs returned from SXSW with new connections from the same region.
"It made me cringe that we couldn't connect with each other in our own town," he said Tuesday.
Before the trip, Kauffman Foundation is hosting a send-off party from 6-8 p.m., which will include 1-minute pitches from entrepreneurs making the trek, a brief presentation on what will be accomplished on the trip, and food and drinks. Most of the entrepreneurs are also expected to exchange T-shirts so they can spread the word about Missouri startups while at SXSW.
The bus will drive through the night and arrive in Austin around noon on Friday. On the way, Cushman expects riders to educate each other on their startups. The group will make a pitstop for breakfast in Dallas at startup acceleratorÂ Tech Wildcatters.
On March 11, two riders on the bus, Kansas City-based Phone2Action and St. Louis-based Click With Me Now, will participate in the SXSWÂ Accelerator competition, whichÂ AgLocal participated in last year. Startup Missouri will host a party that night at Haddingtons from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. to celebrate the startups and entrepreneurs from Missouri.
For Kansas participants, Sen. Jerry Moran will hold a small group discussion at Facebook's offices in Austin to get feedback as he works on Startup Act 3.0.
There are still a few spots available on the bus, and more room on the trip back. Contact Cameron Cushman at email@example.com or @cameroncushman about bus availabilityÂ and RSVP for the send-off party atÂ kauffman.org.