Expands Management Team to Lead Efforts and Reach Entrepreneurs Year-Round and Nationwide

After four successful years during which RISE has become the country’s fastest-growing conference for entrepreneurs, the organization announced it is planning to extend its programs year-round and nationwide. Each year, the free conference connects thousands of aspiring, new and established entrepreneurs in all industries tools, resources, information and connections to help them grow their businesses.

With the announcement, Georgia Thomsen joins RISE as Executive Director responsible for leading the expansion. Annie Frierson will continue to lead RISE’s flagship event as the Assistant Director for RISE Austin. Thomsen joins RISE from the Acton School of Business where she served as Executive Director since 2004.

“Georgia’s passion for entrepreneurship, her leadership experience and her understanding of what entrepreneurs need to succeed will be tremendous assets to RISE as we grow to answer the demand for our programming year-round and beyond the region,” said Suzi Sosa, president of the MPOWER Foundation which produces RISE. “And Annie’s contributions have been and will continue to be critical to making the RISE flagship program in Austin the model for what we hope to achieve as we grow. Together, we think they’ll make an incredible team.”

RISE 2010 concluded last month, filling more than 2,800 seats across 200 independently organized sessions led by volunteer executives and entrepreneurs in venues all over the city. Among the notable community and business leaders who led sessions were Philip Berber, founder of A Glimmer of Hope and CyBerCorp; Ross Garber, president of the Garber Family Foundation and Vignette co-founder; Joel Trammell, founder of NetQoS; Alissa Bayer, founder of milk + honey spa; Krisstina Wise, principal of The GoodLife Team; Gary Hoover, founder of Bookstop and Hoover's Inc.; Margo Weisz, founder of PeopleFund; and Karrie League, co-founder of Alamo Drafthouse Cinema.

RISE co-creator Bertrand Sosa remarked, “We’re overwhelmed by the support our community has shown for its entrepreneurs. As a community-generated conference that depends on this support, we’re extremely grateful for what entrepreneurs here have done to build RISE into a thriving event in four short years.”

In addition to sessions, RISE 2010 featured several marquee events. Opening keynote addresses from Red McCombs, one of Texas’ best-known entrepreneurs, and Blake Mycoskie, a respected social entrepreneur who founded TOMS Shoes, drew more than 1,000 listeners in the first two nights of the conference. And later in the week, 12 brave entrepreneurs each delivered a 60-second pitch before an audience of 150 and a panel of expert judges, including Inc. magazine editor Jane Berentson, during the first annual RISE Fast Pitch Competition.

“RISE 2010 proved once again the entrepreneurial spirit runs deep in the heart of Texas,” said Roy Sosa, RISE co-creator. “It’s also clear RISE has become a powerful model for connecting entrepreneurs with resources and one another that’s worth sharing not just once a year in Austin but throughout the year and elsewhere in the country.”

Created by Roy Sosa and Bertrand Sosa, brothers and accomplished Austin entrepreneurs, RISE has quickly become one of the country’s top conferences for entrepreneurs. First held in 2007, RISE has grown from 40 sessions filling 500 seats, to 200 sessions and events filling 2,800 seats, including more than 2,500 unique attendees in 2010. RISE is a non-profit program of the MPOWER Foundation.

For more information on RISE, visit www.riseaustin.org, follow RISE on Facebook and Twitter or contact Annie Frierson at annie@riseaustin.org.