A new group in the Lehigh Valley wants to make the area the next Silicon Valley.
It's called Lehigh Valley Tech and it's helping high tech entrepreneurs get off the ground.
Christian Birch is the founder and CEO of Map Decisions, a local company that aims to revolutionize how organizations collect and share data. He said, "I spent the last 13 years as a professional consultant supporting local government."
Now, Birch works for himself. He says he's an entrepreneur thanks to Lehigh Valley Tech.
"Lehigh Valley Tech is a grassroots movement that's focused on encouraging entrepreneurship and technology in the Lehigh Valley," explained Anthony Durante, organizer for Lehigh Valley Tech.
The group gathers once a month at Ben Franklin Tech Ventures in Bethlehem for "meet-ups," which organizers say you used to have to drive to New York or Philadelphia for. He said the group first started out as barely a dozen people; now 50 to 60 people show up for every meet up.
Durante said, "Our goal is to bring together the programmers, the engineers, the designers to kind of get them working together and hopefully building companies and good ideas."
Birch's company, which also operated out of Ben Franklin Tech Ventures, was spawned by and is made of three members of Lehigh Valley Tech. Birch says he probably wouldn't have met those people or been able to get his idea off the ground as quickly if it wasn't for LV Tech.
The group's goal is to continue promoting other high tech entrepreneurs, and hopefully give rise to the next great thing.
Durante said, "You hear the stories about Facebook and Twitter and things like that that are big internet companies, but they all started with an idea and a couple people working on it."
Lehigh Valley Tech is holding a "Startup Weekend" the weekend of November 2nd where entrepreneurs and tech gurus can gather to meet and create ideas, maybe even new businesses!
Click for more information about Lehigh Valley Tech's startup weekend. On their website, you can also learn information about joining the group.