‘Pro Camp’ aims to provide immersive experience for seasoned entrepreneurs

BOULDER — Targeting experienced entrepreneurs who need to “refresh their toolkits,” Ignyte Lab and Boulderpreneurs are launching online registration Tuesday for Pro Camp, an immersive weeklong professional-development boot camp to be held at multiple locations in Boulder.

The five-day program will take place Feb. 1-5 at Crispin Porter + Bogusky, the University of Colorado and the Highland City Club.

Registration will take place on the Boulderpreneurs website. Boulderpreneurs is a cross-campus initiative run out of the CU business school that is aimed at fostering student entrepreneurship and is run in conjunction with Ignyte Lab, a new local company that offers executive-level management-for-hire services.

Henry Wright, a veteran of the entrepreneurial scene himself who works with both organizations, is spearheading the new Pro Camp event. Wright said in a recent phone interview that the week will be full of real-world lessons for entrepreneurs who are in revenue or near revenue and are looking to scale their businesses. Also a heavy focus of the program will be lessons on helping startups mitigate risk in strategic partnerships to help attract investors.

Pro Camp is hoping to attract a class of 40 entrepreneurs and already has seven pre-registered from various parts of the country, Wright said. The registration fee is $5,000 for a company’s first attendee and another $2,500 for a second.

Wright said the target entrepreneur isn’t so much the new startup founder fresh out of business school or even the typical startup accelerator participant, but more so entrepreneurs with 10 years or so of experience starting companies. They might be looking to add to their entrepreneurial skillsets without making the commitment to a full-time MBA program. Wright added that the program is advantageous for those entrepreneurs who might be bootstrapping their ventures, while juggling family lives and taking on more risk. The programming is also geared toward providing real-time actionable tactics that the entrepreneurs can employ right away as their seasoned startups reach the critical point of either finding capital to grow and succeed or dying out.

“We really feel like this is a niche that’s unfulfilled right now,” Wright said.

Wright so far has upwards of 25 mentors and advisors onboard to provide programming and work with entrepreneurs during the week, including noted agile software development author Jim Highsmith and David Gold of Access Venture Partners.

The week’s various days will include topics such as building a great company, adaptive customer-development strategies, numbers don’t lie (a look at business and financial models and monetization), and culture of learning. The fifth day will include a pitch day in which the top six to seven attendees, based on pitches from day 4, get to pitch to a panel of venture capitalists, angel investors and other funding sources to get feedback on how those financial resources would view their business models. A key ingredient of the week, Wright said, will be some “challenges” each day that require attendees to test various strategies in the real world and then report results the next day.

Pro Camp is just the first programming that Ignyte and Boulderpreneurs aim to team up on in the coming months. Wright said he couldn’t yet disclose some of the ideas. But another that is coming together now through Boulderpreneurs is a series called Pioneer Podium.

Pioneer Podium will be a series of short video interviews with successful entrepreneurs from the area talking about their motivations, who inspired them and how they got started in the entrepreneurial scene. Longer in-depth interviews will also be conducted later next year, with all of the videos cataloged and made available to CU students and the public.