LAWRENCE — Have you always wanted to be an entrepreneur and launch a startup company? Did you ever think this could be accomplished in one weekend? It is possible at the Startup Weekend competition, which takes place Sept. 25-27 at the Bioscience & Technology Business Center, 2029 Becker Drive, on the University of Kansas West Campus Research Circle.
KU Innovation and Collaboration, the KU School of Business and The Chamber are sponsoring Startup Weekend. The fun event involves a unique set of challenges in a short amount of time. Starting at 6:30 p.m. Friday, ideas are pitched, and teams are formed around those ideas. The rest of the weekend is spent diving into making the idea into a business, with the support of a group of coaches and mentors. On Sunday, starting at 5 p.m., the teams present their businesses to a panel of judges, and the top three teams are named. Those teams will be eligible for prizes, such as free accounting services, legal services and more.
Registration for Startup Weekend is available online, along with a full schedule and biographies of the local area judges, coaches and mentors. Meals will be provided.
“Startup Weekend was created to bring the local entrepreneurial community together,” said Julie Murray, director of corporate and community engagement at the School of Business. “We have such a unique opportunity to bring aspiring student and community entrepreneurs together. Whether you enter to start a company, find a co-founder, develop your skill sets or simply have fun, Startup Weekend sets the stage for great things to happen.”
Other organizers are Julie Nagel, interim associate vice chancellor for innovation and entrepreneurship at KU, and Jacob Von Feldt, undergraduate finance major.
At Lawrence, the event judges are G.R. Underwood, president and chief operating officer of the Bioscience & Technology Business Center; Kevin McGinnis, vice president of product for Pinsight Media+; and Blake Hawley, president and CEO of Integrated Animal Health.
Coaches and mentors are Anthony West, a residential real estate agent and entrepreneur; Beth McKeon, founder of Kids Calendar Inc. and co-founder of Startup Lawrence; Melanie Haas, marketing director for Pinsight Media+; Brian Smith, director of product and business development for Pinsight Media+; Linda Jalenak, founder and managing director of Jalenak Accounting Services; and Michael Smithyman, director of operations for the Bioscience & Technology Business Center.
Startup Weekend is a program of UP Global, an international network in partnership with Google for Entrepreneurs. UP Global seeks to expand Startup Weekend and similar programs to more than 1,000 cities worldwide by 2016. This partnership hopes to bring assistance to hundreds of thousands of aspiring entrepreneurs.
At the same time Startup Weekend is taking place in Lawrence, for example, similar events will take place in Switzerland, Brazil, Bulgaria, Mongolia, Norway, Bolivia, France, Malaysia, Germany, Mexico, Nigeria and Ghana. Startup Weekend will also take place in Washington, Tampa, Los Angeles and Brookings, South Dakota.
KU Innovation and Collaboration is the bi-campus technology commercialization office of KU. It manages the university's intellectual property, licensing and start-up company activities, and it leads the university’s economic development mission.