Share your ideas for a new business at Startup Weekend in Breckenridge |

Share your ideas for a new business at Startup Weekend in Breckenridge

Eli Pace
Summit Daily News
Startup Weekend in Breckenridge will be Nov. 10-12 with hopeful entrepreneurs getting the chance to pitch their business ideas to a panel of judges at the start of an intense, three-day workshop designed to help launch local startup businesses.
Special to the Summit Daily

Entrepreneurs and innovators will gather by the dozen this weekend in Summit County to pitch their ideas, form teams and, at the end of it all, maybe get a new business off the ground.

The sixth rendition of Startup Weekend returns to Breckenridge from Nov. 10 to 12, just in time for the beginning of the 2017-18 ski season.

Most basically, it’s a hands-on, three-day workshop that’s designed to help launch new business ideas and startup companies through a demanding schedule of workshops, presentations and teamwork.

“It’s a crash course in entrepreneurship,” said Amy Kemp, an event organizer and co-founder of ELEVATE Breck. “For anyone who’s interested in what it’s like to start a business, this is going to be an intense, life-changing weekend.”

Startup Weekend begins Friday, Nov. 10, with a 6 p.m. kickoff at Breckenridge Theater, 121 S. Ridge St. During that time, anyone who wants the opportunity will have up to 60 seconds to describe his or her business idea before a room of local executives, entrepreneurs, designers, developers, students and other business experts.

After a vote, teams will form around the best ideas before splintering off to start polishing them by doing things like creating prototypes, building websites, researching market conditions and creating a business model, just to name a few.

The teams will then come back together Sunday to present their polished plans before a panel of judges, including Dave Harris of Rockies Venture Club, Breckenridge Councilwoman Erin Gigliello, Dustin Kelley of the Vail Centre and Small Business Development Center, and Brian Blankenmeister of Alpine Bank.

Prizes will be awarded for the top three presentations, but Kemp explained that Startup Weekend is more about “learning how to launch a business, what it takes to work as a team and getting to the point (where) you have a fully vetted, validated idea.”

Many of the teams from previous Startup Weekends have continued to work on their ideas beyond the actual event. In fact, more than two dozen ideas and businesses have already been launched in the past three years through Startup Weekend events in Summit County alone, according to Kemp.

These ideas came from people like Scott Byker, whose team created a software-detection system to diagnose patients with malaria on-site, saving time, money and lives in third-world and emerging countries that would otherwise be lost while the malaria tests were sent off to labs.

Another one was Polly ReQua and the Bark n’ Wag team, which produced custom Booze Hound dog collars and other accessories that people can now find at Breckenridge Distillery and other local shops.

Additionally, Lindsay Balgooyen and the Grateful Giveback team built a platform to encourage companies’ and corporations’ charitable giving by helping them achieve greater social media engagement and impressions with their charitable donations and cause-based marketing.

At the same time, Gregory Weston and the Incognito Research team created a market-research company that conducts surveys via rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft, and Jaime Harmon and the Stocked-My Food Fox team designed a meal-delivery service to stock vacation rentals.

These are just some of the ideas to emerge from Startup Weekends in Breckenridge, and for anyone who doesn’t necessarily have an idea to pitch, Kemp also believes it presents a great networking opportunity.

Tickets for Friday’s kickoff event and Sunday’s finale are $25 each, and both include dinner. Tickets for entrepreneurs who want to stay the entire weekend and work on business ideas are available for $75, or $99 after Nov. 1, with meals, coaching and participation on a team included.

“It’s a lot of hard work, but it’s also unbelievably rewarding to see how much these teams can accomplish in a weekend,” Kemp said.

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