Colorado Springs takes different approach to Startup Week

COLORADO SPRINGS — Several cities throughout Colorado host Startup Week events during the summer, but one place is taking a different approach to their event.

Colorado Springs is opting for a schedule that is more sequential, rather than the series of panels on different tracks scattered throughout the week that most Startup Weeks follow.

Rather, Colorado Springs’ event, which starts Aug. 21 and goes through Aug. 25, will follow the life cycle of a typical startup, with all panels and speakers discussing the starting of a business and ideation to take place on Monday. The final day, Friday, will focus on exiting a startup.

The decision to use this schedule stemmed from attendees going to panels based on convenience, and not based on what they actually needed to learn for their business, at the three prior Colorado Springs Startup Weeks, said Michelle Parvinrouh, director of Peak Startup, the nonprofit that organizes this event.

“We thought, ‘how do we make sure people are getting as much as they can?,” Parvinrouh told BizWest. “We went for a structure where it makes sense. We take the guess work out of it and take the user error out of it.”

Because Colorado Springs’ startup community is a little younger than other cities in the area, Parvinrouh said the event is still unfamiliar for some. Additionally, many entrepreneurs work full-time jobs, making it difficult to take the week off and attend all five days of panels.

Each day will feature a workshop based on different stages that a startup hits. With this schedule, attendees can join the workshops for the day that represents the next stage their business will be hitting.

Monday is focused on ideation and finding the problem the founder wants to solve. Tuesday is focused on creating a minimum viable product and getting leadership in place. Wednesday’s workshop is about launching the startup. Thursday features gaining traction and scaling. Finally, Friday is all about how to exit a startup.

At the end of each workshop day, a local company that is currently in that stage will demonstrate their pitch to attendees, so participants can hear what a pitch for a business in the stage they are in sounds like.

Despite the change in organization, Parvinrouh said the event is similar to years prior, with about the same number of speakers, but in a different order.

Although it’s day one, she said the organizers have gotten a lot of positive feedback about the change in scheduling before and during the event.

“We want people to take off one day and choose something really meaningful,” she said. “We’ve made it more accessible. We made your schedule for you.”



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