Steamboat hosts first-ever StartUp Weekend aimed at kick starting business ideas
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Anyone with a great idea for a new business but not quite sure how to get it started should plan to attend StartUp Weekend coming to Steamboat Springs on Nov. 15, 16 and 17.
StartUp Weekend is a community-led forum where you take a business idea and, under the coaching of business leaders and a facilitator, form a team that will develop the idea from design to marketing. It comes from the same minds that brought you the dog-sitting app Rover and Foodspotting, another app that allows foodies to investigate local restaurant dishes in a visual format.
“Don’t bring in an idea that you’ve already started. We want people to bring in something completely fresh and new — an idea, maybe, they’ve kept to themselves,” said Barclay Idsal, community manager of The Ski Locker, one of the weekend sponsors. “We’re gathering mentors from a variety of different backgrounds, so that we can cater to potential business ideas from manufacturing to tech to 21st Century cutting edge ideas.”
Organizer Andrea Perdomo is a veteran of StartUp Weekends, which are more predominant in larger urban areas. She’s thrilled to be a part of Steamboat’s first StartUp Weekend.
“We want them to know this is what starting a company looks like and meet people they can potentially start a company with,” said Perdomo, who works for the Boulder-based Techstars from her Steamboat home.
Techstars is the weekend’s main sponsor. The well-known “accelerator” company helps new businesses grow through mentorships and access to resources.
Perdomo and other coaches and sponsors are all volunteering their time to help entrepreneurship grow in Steamboat.
How exactly does the idea work?
Perdomo hopes that at least 30 people sign up for the weekend. She said not everyone attending needs to pitch an idea, and some attendees may just want to be part of a team to see how growing a business works or want to contribute their own expertise.
And how will it work exactly?
On Friday evening, attendees will pitch their ideas to fellow entrepreneurs, sponsors, coaches and judges at the event. A vote is taken by everyone to choose their favorite business ideas, and the actual number of business ideas accepted can vary.
A facilitator will oversee attendees as they join a team that will build a company based on one of the top business ideas that received the most votes. For example, five different companies could be built during the weekend. If there are 50 attendees, each company could be divided into 10 members.
Techstars Startup Weekend Steamboat Springs is a 54-hour event that brings together designers, developers, entrepreneurs and experts from all domains to do amazing things.
All Techstars Startup Weekend events follow the same basic model:
• Anyone is welcome to pitch their startup idea and receive feedback from their peers.
• Teams form around the top ideas — as determined by popular vote — and embark on a three-day frenzy of business model creation, coding, designing and market validation.
• The weekend culminates with presentations in front of local entrepreneurial leaders with another opportunity for critical feedback.
“I’ve been through several weekends where they (attendees) meet team members or partners who can help them with a startup,” Perdomo said. “We’ve seen some amazing companies come out of it.”
Other sponsors of the weekend include Startup Colorado, Four Points Funding, 305 Spin, Smartwool and Colorado Mountain College Steamboat Springs, where the event will be held. Sponsors help keep the cost of the weekend to only $59 for attendees and that includes meals.
For full details and to sign up, visit communities.techstars.com/usa/steamboat-springs-co-usa/startup-weekend/15287.
Frances Hohl is a contributing writer for Steamboat Pilot & Today.
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