Spokane Regional Networking, Social Media, Professional and Business Development
Sounds like a great concept! I'd be interested.
Thanks for reply. Is there any other information I can provide you with? Let me know?
I'm not coordinating this event, but shouldn't we have a pre-startup bootcamp?
This event is aiming specifically at businesses that center on web/mobile applications. If designers, developers, and other technical individuals would be involved in this, I think we should have a meet-up to discuss on limitations and goals for the event.
Most projects are centered on good planning. The theme here is internet technology start-ups (e.g. AirBnB, RideJoy, GoCardless, etc.). Depending on the different ideas floating around, some web/mobile applications are more suitable on different platforms. There should at least be a resource page underlining attendees and what resources they have. (e.g. specific programming languages, education background, etc.)
By the way, who are the mentors/organizers? Do we already have the judges lined up? On which metric would the groups be judged on? Shouldn't we have a certain theme for this event?
Nice attempt and initiative, wrong location??
Help me out here Victor. What do you mean?
Spokane does not foster the culture of entrepreneurism :-(
Glad someone is finally putting this together! I am down in Orofino, Ideehoe (lol) and I attended the 3rd Idaho (Boise) Startup Weekend last September. I learned a lot... just went with the idea of being a team member, and I ended up on the winning team (for prizes)... it was an online male clothing concept called the Ugly Dorkling (you can probably find the final presentation on YouTube). In April, I will be bringing a couple of my own ideas to the Spokane event.
I gave a presentation about my Startup Weekend experience at the Palouse (Moscow/Pullman) Kickstand meeting at the end of October...I was trying to drum up interest a little closer to home. Now I have Spokane, so that is great!
While I loved the Boise event, the attendance was below my expectations for that size city (only 3 teams), and IMHO, it breaks down to marketing. The press release mill should already be churning in Spokane, and I strongly suggest finding sponsors for some advance advertising in the Exchange and other guerilla marketing venues. With leads like "ZERO TO BUSINESS in 54 HOURS!" and "Is there an entrepreneur inside you?" The startup weekend tools are really minimal for helping the local sponsors. We really need an active email system for prospects (e.g. Aweber, ConstantContact, GetResponse, etc) to keep interested parties and registrants jacked up... and someone needs to be sending out info regularly (did not happen in Boise...in fact after registering, I barely heard anything... had to check in a day or two before to make sure the event was still happening!).
Anyway, I am very excited, will try to send some startup weekenders from my area. If there is anything I can do to support you in the mean time, let me know.
PS Ignore the naysayers... entrepreneurial spirit comes from within. While there are more things ANY community can do to support new business growth, the entrepreneur is the foundational natural resource. And Startup Weekend is a great way to catalyze and support incubation of exciting new young businesses. Great job!
@Victor. I feel your pain Victor. But Startup Weekend is a proven business model and an international sensation. I suggest you spend some time at www.StartupWeekend.org and get on their newsletter list. Then go to YouTube, and spend a few hours perusing the startup weekend presentations, pitches, events etc... this IS an event designed for and around entrepreneurs (as opposed to the traditional "build it and they will come" Field of Dreams approach were most economic development funds end up getting applied.)
I am personally strongly opposed to making this event free. If a prospective entrepreneur can't come up with that nominal fee (or find their own sponsor), they do not want it very bad. I've attended, and talked at, "free" events... no-shows are off the charts (no skin in the game) and participation and motivation are minimal. $55 for a full weekend event that includes 7 meals brought in (mostly paid for by sponsors) is probably the best deal in Spokane. You would have trouble eating well at home for that amount.
At the Boise event, there was a short keynote, an award night presentation, and on Saturday eve there was a panel of successful entrepreneurs. These were interesting and valuable, but the reason we were there was to pitch ideas, build teams, learn teamwork, do business planning in a real world sense, and build the rumblings of an exciting business. There were no losers in this process. Everyone learned, and every business idea had a chance to attract traction. Just like some of the biggest stars from American Idol did not "win", they were still winners in many ways. So too is the Startup Weekend process.
Frankly there is really no time for additional speakers, as the hours are spent working as a team to flesh out the business concept, and come up with a presentation just as if you are pitching investors. FANTASTIC EXPERIENCE, and one not to be duplicated by any process I am aware of - unless you were lucky enough to fall into that kind of environment somewhere else in your career. Most of us are not so lucky.
One of the judges at the Boise event was a participant from a previous Startup Weekend project, that had just attracted $2.5 million. The list of Startup Weekend winners (not all "won") attracting many millions of dollars through the SUW process is very lengthy.
If all you want is another boring workshop where you set and listen to people on salary try and teach you how to be an entrepreneur, go for it, Victor. This is an event FOR real entrepreneurs who want to be a part of something big. Startup Weekend is concentrated entrepreneurial development in its purest form.
I believe the people behind this effort are completely sincere in their intent, and will likely never see a significant personal return on their investment of time - and they probably know that going in.... but if this SUW launches even ONE successful venture, then it was an investment of time well worth the money to the great Spokane community, which we all know and love. Sponsors are those that LOVE their community.
And frankly, SUW is just a kick in the pants for everyone involved. A high energy, positive environment!
I hope to see you at the Spokane event, Victor. But bring your optimism. The returns will be significant.
@Malcom I only had a chance to glance at your response. Thank you for the positive plug. I want to connect with you and talk some more soon.
@Victor I am putting on this event to help cultivate the entrepreneurial community. I have to charge a fee to cover my costs. This is done through a non-profit organization and I am not able to make a single dollar. I am sorry you have had a challenging time launching a business in Spokane. I know your pain. I can only hope that through positive action we can make this a better more inviting business community for future entrepreneurs.
It's like planting a seed in a desert, where there's hardly any water to nurture the plant...
@Brett: I appreciate your initiative and efforts in cultivating the entrepreneurial community. Perhaps it's more correct to say that we are trying to help cultivate internet marketing and technology entrepreneurship in the area?
I really have mixed feelings about this, reasons for... Spokane, or the inland northwest, behind on technology, local colleges don't really equip students for this industry, programs are cutting, professors are leaving... In all, there's not a lot of opportunities to get the experience one needs to grow professionally. Anyone that wants to improve their skills usually goes to Seattle. The most recent Gongaza job fair I'd attended had many tech companies; there was only one web technology company representing locally, NextIT.
I'm sure your intentions are great, but I just feel the energies distilled towards these endeavors, the market should be examine thoroughly before any thoughts are made for implementation. Spokane's strength and interests isn't in this industry. And I'm sure it's growing slowly and there are good ideas out there...
But I guess what I'm trying to inquire is, why emphasize internet/technology entrepreneurs?
If the underlining goal is inspiring entrepreneurs in our community, I think this event is sort of biased. Shouldn't we host an event that would be open to entrepreneurs from all industries? I'm sure their are other designers aside from web/graphic designers. What about fashion designers? product and packaging?
And for our attendees that are developers, I'm sure there are many types of developers. Why restrict to web and mobile apps? Can start-ups be successful without an application? Why not open this event to medical technology? What about those with a technical background in manufacturing tangible products?
I'm sure there are other areas we can creatively stimulate our community (e.g. BarCamp, Unconference, etc.). But if the sole purpose is to amplify entrepreneurship, I think we can approach it differently.
Your efforts in this event is bold. But I just think we should capitalize on strengths. I recommend that if we plan to crop something in the desert, we should plant a cactus and not some tropical flower that is better grown in humid climates.
@Victor There are many good ideas and thoughts in your response. The event is not closed to anyone. Startup Weekend is a franchise that follows a format geared towards mobile/web applications. What you learn in these workshops can be applied to any business endeavor.
The bootcamp/bar camp is a great idea. I am quite aware from my personal experience that Spokane is a desert. It is a hard place to get a job, launch a business and build a career. I probably can't change the culture of Spokane but if I can make it easy for some I consider that a victory.
To this point I have had great response from the business community. People from Connect NW, NWVA, 7:2 media. Gonzaga NVL, Berg Company, Avista, Itron, Salesforce and Magner Sanborn are on board as the planning committee, mentors and judges.
It sounds like you are interested in being part of the planning. My hesitation to bring you on board in any capacity is that you don't believe it can work. The team I have recruited very much believes in the concept and goals of the organization.