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Cox Business hosts Get Started pitch competitions for small businesses and startups across the United States. They want to find the best of the best and reward them by not only offering a platform for promotion, but to provide essential business technology to take their game to the next level. Be among the first to meet the best startups your community (and the world!) should know about at this networking event and competition.

(image)The Get Started events are in partnership with Inc.

You don't have to compete to win

"I knew them when," you'll say, and pat yourself on the back for going. Companies like Shield Your Body , which provides ways to shield your body from EMF radiation, have competed and won at Get Started and now founder R Blank is often featured as an expert judge. And, Remmi Smith of Cook Time with Remmi, a teenage chef who designed a healthy food box in between high school classes, recently appeared on Chopped. You just never know who you'll meet and what winning, valuable connections you'll make.

(image)#GetStartedOmaha winner Borrow Your Bump provides fashionable maternity clothes rental options.

Get social and share, social

For those who attend, it's a social event IRL (in real life) and on the web. And it doesn't matter whether you're an entrepreneur, marketer, budding new business owner, or passionate community member, there's something social for everyone. Each event has a unique hashtag to celebrate the city it takes place in. You can search the #GetStarted hashtag on places, like: Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to see what others post and to connect post-event.

NETWORKING TIP: Create a Twitter list of people's handles who attended the event so you can stay in touch.



Connect with national experts

We always tell our son that being smart means you "are always learning." Each Get Started event is jam packed with learning. Not only do you soak up everything the five business finalists pitch, but you get a chance to mingle with industry experts and judges in attendance. From VC's, local business owners and social media gurus across the nation, you have a supercharged networking opportunity. In fact, according to one Get Started winner, she says her business "skyrocketed by meeting people," at the event.

All-star judging panel

From Shark Tank's Daymond John to Inc.'s Los Angeles bureau chief, Lindsey Blakely, the panel of experts who select the winner know their stuff. Plus, after the event, you might just get a chance to pick their brain.



It's F-U-N

Is it wrong for me to say this? Every single Get Started event I've attended has had an amazing spread. And, this is on top of an already amazing event. You might think why does the food matter? I believe breaking bread together is an important part of building community and lasting relationships. Attendees wine and dine together to create a safe space for entrepreneurial growth and ideation. It truly makes these events exceptional.

You can find a complete list of upcoming Cox Business Get Started events on Cox Blue. I can't wait until the next one!

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