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Acer America Corp. is a computer manufacturer of business and consumer PCs, notebooks, ultrabooks, projectors, servers, and storage products.

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September 6, 2018 |

ConnectWise Opens Business Expansion Contest and M&A Match-Making Initiative

Both efforts will culminate at the vendor’s IT Nation Connect conference in Orlando this November.

ConnectWise has begun accepting applications for two initiatives aimed at helping managed service providers launch new offerings and find merger and acquisition partners.

Both efforts are associated with the Tampa, Fla.-based managed services software vendor’s IT Nation Connect partner event, which takes place November 7 to 9 in Orlando.

“One of our company’s core values is to obsess with partner success, and these two new initiatives reinforce this promise,” said Pete Sorensen, vice president of The IT Nation at ConnectWise, in a press statement. “We are committed to supporting our partners’ business goals, whether this means expanding their current operations by adding new services or better equipping them to make decisions in today’s robust M&A marketplace.”

The first of the new programs, called the Pitch IT contest, will provide startup funding and business consulting services to three MSPs with the most compelling ideas for expanding their business. The new competition is modeled after the Tech Tank contest ConnectWise completed in June at its annual Automation Nation conference, also in Orlando. Like that earlier program, the new one will grant $100,000 to the first-place finisher, plus $50,000 and $25,000 to the second- and third-place contestants, respectively.

“After an outstanding response to our recent Tech Tank contest, which focused on inventive integration ideas, we decided the next competition would focus on funding innovative business plans,” said Sorensen in prepared remarks. “The goal is to give an extra boost to ConnectWise partners who are truly committed to expanding their businesses, whether that is by adding new or enhanced products or services or by reinventing a team.”

Channel pros interested in entering the contest must use the Pitch IT business plan template, which is available on the ConnectWise website along with contest rules, and submit their idea by October 15th. ConnectWise will invite three finalists to present their plans at IT Nation Connect to a panel of experts, who will choose the winner and runners up.

The second initiative announced today is a match-making venture for MSPs either looking for companies to buy or looking to be bought called the IT Nation Connect M&A Deal Crawl.

The limited set of IT Nation Connect attendees invited to participate in that activity, who ConnectWise will select in advance based on timeline, size, profitability, and other variables, will meet in person on November 8th to explore deals. Interested parties must complete an application form and sign a non-disclosure agreement, both of which are available online.

“The idea here is to set the scene for an initial conversation. There is no fee to participate, and ConnectWise will not participate in any of the initial or follow-up conversations,” Sorensen said in a media statement. “Our goal is simply to spark a relationship that hopefully leads to a successful deal.”

All ConnectWise partners at IT Nation Connect will have access to eight M&A-focused sessions as well. Topics discussed will include “Dream or Dilemma—What Buying a Business is Really Like” and “The Strategy of Growth and Legacy through M&A,” among others.

“Because we see too many M&A failures, we wanted to find a way to help our partners be better prepared for all that goes into these transactions,” Sorensen said in his press statement. “The M&A marketplace is very active today, and the time is ripe for many of our partners to take advantage of the opportunities. The M&A Deal Crawl and the M&A sessions are designed to do just that.”

IT Nation Connect, which was formerly known simply as IT Nation, is one of several partner-facing ConnectWise offerings to receive new branding and leadership last month when the company consolidated its events, user groups, and training resources, plus the HTG Peer Groups organization it acquired in January, within a single organization named IT Nation, and appointed Sorensen to run it.

As ChannelPro reported in January, ConnectWise has revamped the content strategy for IT Nation Connect and IT Nation Explore, the Automation Nation event’s new name. Going forward, the former conference will focus on business growth and best practices information while the latter will chiefly present technical how-to instruction about the ConnectWise solution portfolio.


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