The first ever Startup Weekend in western Kansas is only a month away, and excitement is growing both on the Fort Hays State University campus and throughout the region.
Hays Startup Weekend is set for Nov. 15-17. The event is designed for entrepreneurs to meet, share ideas and launch new businesses. Startup Weekend is open to anyone with a great idea or desire to start his or her own business. Past participants attest that Startup Weekend is a fun, fast-paced event that brings people together and turns ideas into reality.
Dylan Bathurst, an FHSU alumnus and founder of Rumgr, discovered Startup Weekend when he moved to Las Vegas to work for Zappos.com. "I volunteered as an organizer for Las Vegas Startup Weekend, but when it started on Friday, I really wanted to pitch my idea," he said. "I did and a couple of friends and I worked over the weekend and developed the concept of an app that connects local buyers and sellers."
Bathurst said that Startup Weekend changed his life: "I was so excited and motivated after that weekend. It pushed me to continue working on my idea outside of work and made my idea a reality. It's addicting, and very fun, to be in that kind of an environment -- to take your passion and make something that other people want."
Hays Startup Weekend builds on a global model of bringing people from all backgrounds together to collaborate on great ideas. Beginning with open-mic pitches on Friday evening, attendees promote their concepts and inspire others to join their team. Over Saturday and Sunday, teams focus on developing a comprehensive business plan, launching a website and building a viable product. A group of volunteer coaches, with extensive background in marketing, design, law, finance and other disciplines, will be available throughout the weekend to provide assistance and input.
On Sunday evening, teams demo their prototypes and receive valuable feedback from a panel of experts. The top teams win valuable prizes. Participant presentations will be open to the public free of charge at 5 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 17. Judging and awards will take place at 7:30 p.m.
Participants must register in advance, and FHSU students may qualify for a scholarship to offset some of the registration fees.
Startup Weekend is a global network of entrepreneurs learning the basics of creating new ventures. More than 8,000 startups have been created through more than 1,000 events worldwide, and approximately 36 percent of early-stage companies launched at Startup Weekend are still operating three months after the event.
For additional information and registration, visit the Hays Startup Weekend website: http://hays.startupweekend.org/. Early registration is recommended because space is limited.