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Exponential Impact hosting first Colorado Springs Startup Weekend since 2019 – Colorado Springs Gazette

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If you want to hone your entrepreneurial skills, the first in-person Techstars Startup Weekend in Colorado Springs since 2019 will provide an opportunity.
Springs Startup, part of the Exponential Impact incubator and accelerator that helps fledgling technology companies grow, will host the three-day frenzy of innovation that takes a business idea to a business model or plan; the event is April 22-24 at Exponential Impact’s offices and work areas in the same building as the National Cybersecurity Center, 3650 N. Nevada Ave. The event is open to entrepreneurs ranging from college students to veterans of several startups.
“Startups require connections, people and community, and it has been difficult during the (COVID-19) pandemic to put all three of those elements together,” said Chris Franz, a Springs Startup co-founder and moderator for the Startup Weekend event. “We had many virtual Startup Weekends during the pandemic, but none in person. We are trying to get back to where we were before the pandemic.”
The event will start at 5:30 p.m. Friday with a dinner featuring a speech by Denver area entrepreneur Jon Rossi. Afterwards, each participant pitches their idea to the crowd. All participants will vote on the best pitches, then form up to eight teams around the top ideas. The teams will spend the next nearly two full days refining their business plan before presenting their pitch to a panel of local entrepreneurs for feedback.
Cost for participants is $79, which pays for five meals. To register for Startup Weekend (deadline is Sunday night), go to event.techstars.com/event/kgvMslTx97.
The last in-person Startup Weekend in Colorado Springs in February 2019 attracted 41 participants who formed five teams. Similar events have been held in Colorado Springs since at least 2011.
Springs Startup also hosts monthly Pitch Night events, where three entrepreneurs present their business ideas and plans to a panel of judges as a way to refine their pitches to potential investors. The group shifted last fall from virtual back to in-person events; the next Pitch Night is scheduled for July 15 at Exponential Impact.
Startup Weekend isn’t the only event the group is resuming this year. Springs Startup is in the early stages of planning Startup Week, a four-day series of speakers, panel discussions, tours and parties. This year’s Startup Week is scheduled for Sept. 13-16 and will have a regional theme, hitting the road with a full day of events each in Colorado Springs, Cañon City-Florence and Pueblo before returning to Colorado Springs.
“We really want to showcase innovation throughout southern Colorado” during Startup Week, said Rachel Beisel, a Springs Startup co-founder who is coordinating Startup Week planning.
The Florence and Cañon City part of the week will focus on the Emergent Campus, a former school converted into a hub for innovation and technology, and Fremont County’s TechSTART program to spur innovation. The Pueblo part of the program will focus on the Southern Colorado Innovation Link, a technology accelerator in Pueblo, and Wake Up Pueblo, a marketing agency that brought the cable TV show “Undercover Billionaire” to the Steel City.
Contact Wayne Heilman 636-0234
Facebook www.facebook.com/wayne.heilman
Twitter twitter.com/wayneheilman
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