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Why Instagram Co-Hosted a Summer Camp for Start-Ups

Instagram for Business and Hedley & Bennett teamed up to host a summit for small business owners.

By Michele Laufik August 23, 2017, 7:01 AM EDT

Panel topics included “The Awkwardness of the True Hustle," “Boss Evolution: the Stages of Building Your Business," “Social Media Community Online and Off," and “A New Approach to Retail: Mixed Media IRL.”

Photo: S. Cole Kiburz

Instagram for Business and Hedley & Bennett's School of Hustle
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More than 200 small business owners and entrepreneurs gathered for the first-ever School of Hustle on August 14. The daylong conference, which was presented by Instagram for Business and trendy apron company Hedley & Bennett, allowed attendees to swap insights and advice on navigating the small business world, as well as learn lessons on using social media effectively.

The event, held at Hedley & Bennett’s Los Angeles headquarters, was the brainchild of Ellen Bennett, founder of the five-year-old apron start-up. For the summer-camp-inspired summit, she teamed up with Instagram for Business, a division of the social media company that works with entrepreneurs to help them use the app to grow their businesses.

“Both Instagram and Hedley & Bennett wanted to continue fostering the sense of community that's building among entrepreneurs on the platform,” said Morgan Cornelius, Instagram's community programs lead for SMBs (small and midsize businesses). “There is a tremendous amount of support small businesses offer each other on the platform, and we wanted to bring that to life at a physical event and continue to strengthen those relationships on Instagram. We also want to help business owners to not only feel at ease using Instagram for their businesses but also get practical tips on topics like negotiation, best practices for creating successful collaborations, and creativity in the retail space.”

Through panel discussions and networking activities, attendees received a mini MBA worth of knowledge from a roster of big-name moderators and panelists, including Instagram C.O.O. Marne Levine, DryBar founder Alli Webb, restaurateur Roy Choi, and Vans director of lifestyle sales Laura Stauth. Plus, during Speed Hustlin' roundtables, experts discussed a range of topics such as content, human resources, and e-commerce—not just Instagram.

“In addition to providing attendees with Instagram tips and tricks, much of the content went beyond our app and focused on providing expert advice on topics small business owners care about most including legal advice, employee management advice, creative collaborations, and more,” Cornelius said.

Attendees of the free event were hand-selected through an application process. It “was our way of ensuring we were selecting business owners who had the most hunger to learn and continue to improve and grow their businesses,“ Cornelius explained. “Additionally, we wanted to show the diversity that exists on the platform, so we highlighted SMBs from different business areas, with different profiles and different stories.”

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