Global startups and governments from around the world will descend on Austin, Texas in the coming days for SXSW, which has become a key gathering point for international entrepreneurship.
In an effort to make sense of the overwhelming options, here’s a roadmap for connecting with global entrepreneurs and officials at SXSW 2017.
The SXSW trade show
The SXSW Trade Show is a great one-stop-shop for connecting with global entrepreneurs and government officials. In years’ past, countries have kitted out space on the trade show floor for events and as a base for their delegations of entrepreneurs to mingle with guests.
This year, per SXSW Interactive’s Hugh Forrest, the following countries or regions will have a presence at the trade fair: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Greece, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Poland, Portugal, Japan, Nordic Innovation, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, the United Kingdom.
SXSW International delegation houses
A variety of governments are hosting houses or programming this year. Europe has a particularly strong presence, including the EU in Austin, German Haus (which will also host Austria Day) for beer and startups an Aperitivo Italiano from the Italian Trade Agency and the Italian Music Industry Federation, and the Great Britain House, also featuring Northern Ireland’s most innovative tech companies. A group of Swedish organizations will host the Southern Sweden Creative rooftop reception, while Casa Mexico will present music, food, art, technology and more.
American cities are hosting houses that ought to be of interest to global innovators as well, including Washington DC’s WeDC.
SXSW Interactive programming
SXSW Interactive’s official programming provides numerous opportunities to interact with global startup communities, from #OffCuba (discussing how the island operates largely through offline technology) to Next Innovation Nation: Pakistan's Startup Scene (the opportunities and rewards of doing business in Pakistan to Brexit: How UK/EU Tech Companies are Coping (hear how technology companies around Europe are dealing with the effects of Brexit as well as their future plans).
The Global Innovation Forum has assembled a list of 48 official SXSW Interactive events for 2017 with an international nexus.
Tech and Trump programming
Organizers have extended SXSW Interactive programming into March 15 and 16 this year to foster discussion of a “tech under Trump” track. As part of that programming, the Global Innovation Forum will join the Consumer Technology Association, Entertainment Software Association and Ericsson at Tech Advocates and Trump: Best Strategies So Far, on March 16 from 3:30 – 4:30 pm to share thoughts on the most effective strategies for how the tech industry should engage with the new Administration and Congress. Expect global tax and trade issues to be part of that discussion.
Corporate and nonprofit side events
A variety of corporate and nonprofit events also have an international flair, including eBay and Gimlet Creative’s Open for Business Bootcamp, the Capital Factory’s programming, Consumer Technology Association’s innovation policy day, international Startup Night from Tech.co, and Global Meet and Trade by the City of Austin and its Chamber of Commerce Partners. The Global Innovation Forum will also host a private brunch with Intuit and Google to connect startups with policymakers and corporations to explore how governments can work with communities to enable their global success.