Loveland Startup Week expands with workshops for artists, business

Loveland Startup Week shows off two of Loveland’s main attractors — the local arts community and a growing small-business sector.

The third annual event will offer artists, entrepreneurs and small-business owners a way to tap into knowledge sharing and networking April 6-8 during more than 30 workshops, panels and discussions in downtown Loveland. As a bonus, U.S. Rep. Jared Polis will give a keynote speech on April 8 about his experiences being an entrepreneur.

“Startup Week is good for the local economy and businesses here,” said Amanda Armstrong, business librarian at the Loveland Public Library and business co-leader with Richard Toftness, a Loveland engineer and business owner of consulting firm Tasterra LLC. “Startup Week benefits our local economy because it allows our businesses to network with one another and knowledge share in ways that will maximize their potential.”

This networking and knowledge sharing is why the Loveland Chamber of Commerce is vested in being a major sponsor — events such as this help drive business to Loveland, while also encouraging the development of emerging leaders. The chamber and the Loveland Business Development Center both are promoting the event, and Made in Loveland, a group of entrepreneurs that meets monthly, is the organizer.

The chamber, which serves as the voice for business, has the same goal as Startup Week to facilitate partnerships, offer networking and educational opportunities, and increase the visibility of Loveland’s thriving business and arts community. Bringing attention to the city’s offerings has the value add of keeping shopping local, while also letting those who need the information know about the many local resources.

“Loveland Startup Week can help a lot of the small businesses with collaboration, networking and new ideas,” said Wilynn Formeller, project manager of Desk Chair Workspace, a co-working space in downtown Loveland. “As small businesses, it’s really easy to get in your own head, in your own business, and not have the time or know where to go to meet people that could potentially help your business, and we’re hoping Startup Week can help with this.”

Loveland Startup Week, extended from one to three days this year, offers two business tracks and an artist track. The business tracks are at two levels for aspiring entrepreneurs and new business owners to learn the basics of starting a business and writing a business plan and for established business owners to further their business knowledge. The arts track, led by Loveland modeler Roger Ison, covers the business side of being an artist, such as how to reach new markets and find new collaborators.

The sessions in the three tracks are free and do not require any signups, and anyone can pick and choose from the tracks.

“It is very much designed to be a choose-your-own-adventure scenario,” Armstrong said.

New this year is the offering of mentor lunches, which will give attendees an opportunity to sit at the table with one of the event facilitators or speakers to network and learn more about a specific topic, while also promoting local restaurants and venues.

Another networking opportunity is the Basecamp each morning at the Actian and Erion Foundation building, where attendees can start the day with an open coffee and stop in anytime to recharge, network and do personal work. Basecamp originally was at Desk Chair but had to be relocated due to construction.

“Being in the learning mindset is a strange place outside your day-to-day life,” Armstrong said. “It’s nice to spend time with other people in that mindset and talk about what you’re learning.”

Startup Week will culminate with a business showcase in the Devereaux Room at the Rialto Theater, where local businesses will be able to present their products and services at booths and explain what they offer. There will be a social hour and opportunities for networking.

“Startup Week is an opportunity to learn a little and party a little and celebrate a lot,” Armstrong said.

Startup Week is just another way to keep Loveland economically sustainable and strengthen local business.

Mindy McCloughan is president and CEO of the Loveland Chamber of Commerce. Reach her at 970-744-4791 or mmccloughan@loveland.org.