Case Study: Entre-SLAM - Business Storytelling Events


Entre-SLAM, Inc.

Small to mid-sized business storytelling events
Markets: Tech, Social Enterprise, and Non-Profits

/äntrə/ /slam/

Entre[preneur] SLAM [poetry slam]:
Meaning: entrepreneurs who share stories from their journeys and are judged by members of the audience, the winner being elected after several elimination rounds.

Since 2012, Over 1000 Business Storytellers Have Gathered From Retail, Tech, Social Enterprise And Non-Profits To Share Stories Of Purpose. Entre-SLAM Events, Accelerators, And Competitions Showcase Narratives Of Companies Sharing Their Purpose And The Passion Behind The Vision. Because Of Our Storytelling Format, Mix Of Entertainment And Creating A Strict #NOPITCH Zone, Folks Are Connecting At Emotional, Authentic Levels. 

Entre-SLAM - An Alternative to typical Business Networking Events


Our role was to create an experience that would accomplish three major priorities:

  1. Level the Playing Field for folks who rarely or ever get asked to be on center stage. Storytellers volunteer or are recruited from the community.

  2. Create Connecting, Authentic Experiences so that the quality of networking is greatly enhanced and happens organically.

  3. BE FUN, full of laughter, sometimes tears, great good, drink and crazy, fun vibe that delivers ‘Did you hear what happened at Entre-SLAM?’ moments.

Organizations that Participated

Entre-SLAM attracts folks from the entire business eco-system and is effective for introverts and extroverts alike.

We created a turn-key experience that included building a marketing plan for the Urban Health Accelerator that was in alignment with the overall AHA brand strategy. We worked with the internal health strategy, branding, and communications teams and managed the rollout of invitations to the regional AHA communities. Working with the AHA Health Sciences team, we vetted all of the candidates and the potential of their business models to achieve their stated objectives. Each UHA featured teams that ranged from those that were in ‘ideation’ mode to most that had already experienced business traction.

Once the teams were selected, Entre-SLAM worked directly with each to help them complete two critical phases: complete an intensive internal discovery intensive and strengthen the structural integrity of the brand. Starting with the founders, Christa worked to help them hone in on articulating a clear and compelling purpose and mission for their brands. This process also included completing a customer discovery course that challenged the founders to know not just demographics but be crystal clear on both the psychographics and behavioral motivations of their ideal customer. Then using design thinking methodologies, each team was challenged to break their proposed concepts. Through prototyping and beta testing, all groups experience reactions to their ideas in real time from the communities that will be impacted by them.

Different from a pitch presentation, all teams were groomed to take all of that they had discovered and distill everything down to a 5-minute story.

Results and Big Plans for the Future

When Entre-SLAM launched in 2012 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, we had no idea that this concept would have such a powerful impact on the entrepreneurial community. Since then, Entre-SLAM have launched in Detroit, Chicago, Memphis, Baltimore, Philadelphia and Washington, DC. We want to expand to every entrepreneurial community across the country and hop across the pond to the UK.

Real Impact in Communities

"Of all the networking events I've attended over the years, I've never encountered one that is truly cross-cultural and open that enables seasoned entrepreneurs to share their stories and first-year entrepreneurs who are unsure or uneasy in a new crowd be able to engage in a relaxing way. Entre-SLAM effectively serves both audiences. Our business has gained valuable exposure, and we've developed over eight new business relationships as a result, some of our strongest. We're excited to see how the program expands from here."


"The diversity of entrepreneurs and the engaging nature of their stories was a wonderful surprise! What a unique, entertaining setting to learn from those experiencing the highs and lows of independent business in Ann Arbor and SE Michigan. I'll be back!"


 "You brought together a wonderful, fun group of smart folks to share about their lives, struggles and successes. Christa is delightful. She certainly challenged us to see another side of the military. This was like a church experience - in the charismatic venue. Keep up the good work, cause I know there as a lot of work that went into that."


"Okay here is the deal . . . I had a Fabulous Time!! What fun and Yes So Out of the Box. You have hit a Nerve and I do believe that Entre-Slam will be very successful. Entrepreneurs and Soloprenuers are always looking for the community of support in some fashion.  Both groups love to share their passion with like minded folks, and the down time and fun allows this atmosphere. With this event it shares that we have more common ground than we realize and it is shared in a fun and eventful way. Not to mention the "Golden Nuggets" that you can pick up in the process of every story shared. My handy dandy notebook has been updated with nuggets from last evening. Thanks Christa for reaching back and remembering Soloprenuer Souls like myself, you were a Rock Star on the Mic and throughout the entire evening. I look forward to seeing you again soon! PS:  What a great town to build from. . . I've always loved Ann Arbor!"


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Do You Think Your Business Community is Ready for something Different? let’s talk About it!


Entre-SLAM, Inc.
Founded: 2012
Loc: Ann Arbor, MI

Themed, networking events that allow entrepreneurs to share real stories from their journey.

Typical Timeline for Implementation

Pre-launch activities
(securing location/sponsorships):

Training of Storytellers
45-minute per storyteller
1.5 event

What Entre-SLAM Delivers

Site Reviews and Selection
Location, location, location! Entre-SLAM works best in places that don’t feel like work. We’ve never been in a traditional hotel, office, conference room, etc. Entre-SLAM is just too wild and a spirited child for a traditional space.

Lighting and AV Support
We build visual experiences that generates the ‘WOW!’ factor when folks arrive.

The Entre-SLAM Experience
No detail is too small to ensure that EVERY person arrives feels right at home and at some level, celebrated. Hey, as entrepreneurs ourselves, we now how tough it is out here. At least for a couple of hours, everyone can chill, laugh or cry, LET. IT. OUT.

Event Design
Every Entre-SLAM event should honor the community it’s in. We work closely with the community to ensure that the right experience is delivered

Event Production
From registration and training of event staff, our team takes care of the details.

What Entre-SLAM Delivers to the Storytellers

We’ve learned through experience, ie., drunk Entre-SLAM storytellers…sure, it’s entertaining for about 30 seconds but imagine having to sit through 3-5 minutes of tight butt cheek moments!! EVERY storyteller must be trained. Most entrepreneurs are hardwired to pitch. Storytelling is a different beast. We provide some minimal training to help folks be prepared to show their best selves on stage:

  • A online course (mandatory)

  • Workbook (optional)

  • One-on-One Coaching (mandatory)

  • Stage Preparation (mandatory)

Entre-SLAM YouTube Channel