Creator of The Sims Will Wright founded his latest company, Stupid Fun Club, in Berkeley

Berkeleyside is thrilled to announce that on Monday March 5th we will be hosting the Berkeleyside Local Business Forum 2012: Startup Berkeley.

The Forum’s focus will be the strengths, and weaknesses, of the city of Berkeley for startups. What does it take to turn an idea into a successful business, how can one nurture innovation, and what can be done to improve the startup climate here?

Featured panelists joining the conversation at the Forum include: Will Wright, creator of The Sims and founder of Stupid Fun Club; David Hyman, founder and CEO of streaming music service MOG, June Taylor, founder of jam and marmalade company The Still Room; and Rauly Butler, Senior Vice President Retail at Mechanics Bank.

“An extraordinary amount of innovation comes out of Berkeley in a variety of realms,” said Lance Knobel, one of the founders of Berkeleyside. “But Berkeley is still seen as rough ground for business startups. We want to examine the realities of Berkeley for new business ventures.”

The Forum will have a number of panel discussions, but the format will be highly interactive. At last year’s Berkeleyside Local Business Forum — to which we welcomed Autodesk CEO Carl Bass and Chris Anderson, Editor in Chief of Wired, among others — questions from the audience provided much of the impetus for the conversation.

David Hyman, Founder of Berkeley-based MOG

Among the topics the Forum will concentrate on are the positive assets Berkeley offers for new businesses, the hurdles that businesses face in the city, and the wider issues of how a vigorous business culture in Berkeley can effectively tie into the innovative economy of the Bay Area.

The Berkeleyside Local Business Forum 2012 is organized in partnership with Mechanics Bank, and is sponsored by GreenerPrinter. Further details of the Forum will be posted regularly here on Berkeleyside, on the Forum Facebook page and on Twitter (#BerkForum).

Whether you are a business owner, an entrepreneur looking to start a business, an incubator, a service provider to startups, or simply a citizen interested in the future of your city, we look forward to seeing you there.

When: Monday March 5th, 7:00- 9:00 pm. Doors open at 6:00 pm (plenty of time before and after for networking).
Where: Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse, 2020 Addison Street in downtown Berkeley. Refreshments, including beer and wine, available to purchase.
Tickets: $10 ($5 for students and seniors), available through Brown Paper Tickets.

Berkeleyside is Berkeley, California’s independently-owned local news site. Learn more about the Berkeleyside team. Questions? Email