If you’d like to check out some of the latest, most innovative products and services local entrepreneurs are building, then you’ll want to mark your calendar for the first annual “Nerdapalooza v.0,” sponsored by the Miller Business Innovation Center, SLC Tech Startups and REES Capital.

So why call this event “Nerdapalooza”? You may think of this as a pejorative term, but in the world of startup companies, there is no shame in being labeled a nerd. The combination of smarts, training and plain old-fashioned tenacity is what it takes to get a new venture going from nothing.

Nerdapalooza is an opportunity to see and try out emerging Internet technologies, games, software and even a few consumer gadgets. Along with the demos, the casual and fun atmosphere will include the chance to play some old-school 8-bit games, enjoy a snack, listen to music and network with a diverse group of tech execs, angels, developers, designers, inventors, venture capitalists, job hunters and other business folks. You never know who may be standing right next to you.

But to the entrepreneurs demoing their new products, this is much more than a casual evening. They need to step outside their comfort zones and allow for audience feedback and reactions to their projects. Long gone are the days of the mentality “build it and they will come." Growing a company today requires early and fast input to find out if the company should make adjustments or complete changes to their plans. In other words, they need you and your input.

Nerdapalooza takes place on December 13 from 6-9 p.m. on the Miller campus of Salt Lake Community College in Sandy, Utah. Interested attendees and participants can register at www.slcstartups.com.

Amy Rees Anderson is the Founder and Managing Partner of REES Capital, a Mentoring and Angel Investing Firm. Contact her at [email protected] or follow her daily blog at www.amyreesanderson.com/blog