School of Law hosts conference

Entrepreneurs, business owners gather to learn about online startups

By Spencer Skolnick, News Writer

Online companies might be the way of the future, and UA is at the helm of the movement.


NEXTOhio, a conference about online startups, took place at Quaker Station on Thursday, April 9. It was hosted by UA’s School of Law and sponsored by Thompson Hine, LLP.


Numerous professional entrepreneurs, business starters, and owners attended the conference to discuss ways to succeed in online business.


“Everyone seemed to have a good time,” said Annal Vyas, conference commentator and UA law professor.


A $3,000 prize was awarded at the end of the conference to the best internet startup idea. The winner was voted on by those in attendance. Citizen Sync—an internet tool that connects users with information on local events and announcements, regardless of its user’s location—won the prize.  The app provides official local news and content “at the fingertips.”


Quaker Station’s banquet center was packed with around 300 people. Attendees included UA law professors and students, adults seeking to start their own businesses, and faculty and community members involved in internet startups and entrepreneurship.


Duane Carnahan, a recent UA graduate, was in the audience. Carnahan plans to start his own online business; he is creating software that tracks companies’ data to provide them with more information on their business techniques. He chose to attend this conference after hearing that guest speakers would give useful information regarding young businesses.


Over a dozen guest speakers presented their information and shared their knowledge on entrepreneurship. Each speaker’s presentation was limited to ten minutes; the night was full of different professionals’ advice.


Vyas discussed the mission of holding this conference and its influence on those aspiring to start their own internet businesses.


“It’s cool how academia can mirror the real world. Academia provides real world solutions,” Vyas said.


Mike Belsito, author of “Startup Seed Funding for the Rest of Us” and co-founder of Internet company eFuneral, shared a few tips to stand out and succeed in starting an online business.


Belsito spoke of the need to build relationships with potential employers or coworkers. He suggested creating a LinkedIn account, and stated how easy it is to communicate professionally through the site.


The number of people in attendance exceeded the department’s expectations. Speakers were able to promote their ideas to a wide range of people—inspiring those who want to start internet companies.