Thursday, September 24, 2020
Sept. 24, 2020

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Startup Weekend aims to give local entrepreneurs a boost

By , Columbian Business Editor

The entrepreneurial support event known as Startup Weekend will be offered this month in Vancouver, giving local entrepreneurs and those with early business ideas a 54-hour opportunity to learn some of the skills and secrets of startup success.

The event, which opens Friday, Jan. 29, and closes at 11 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 31, offers participants a chance to meet with local business mentors and work with a team to develop a business plan that undergoes review by a judging panel.

Dave Barcos, a Vancouver business consultant, is organizer of the weekend session, which will  be held at Clark College’s Foster Hall. The participation fee is $85, and sign-up is at

Startup Weekend is a national and international program that follows a structured format designed to support business development. The weekend is open to all but marketing is targeted to Clark County residents, with the aim of strengthening the local business startup culture.

The weekend will open with open microphone pitches that become recruitment devices to create teams that will develop business models over the next two days. On Saturday and Sunday, teams focus on customer development, validating ideas, practicing Lean methodologies and building a viable product. The weekend closes Sunday evening with teams demonstrating their prototypes and receiving feedback from a panel of experts.

Event judges for the weekend, according to the event website, are: Stephen Green, vice president and marketing manager at Albina Community Bank; Nitin Rai, president of TIE (The Indus Entrepreneurs) Oregon, a nonprofit that aims to foster entrepreneurship; and Eric Preisz, CEO of GG Interactive/Garage Games, a  Vancouver developer of game-based learning programs.

The event’s coaches and mentors are Monica Borell, a serial entrepreneur who is CEO and co-founder of Cardsmith; Darren Buckner, founder and CEO at Workfrom; and Ronda Closner, curator at DeskHub.

Startup Weekend was founded in 2007 in Boulder, Colo., and in 2010, it moved its base of operations to Seattle, where the nonprofit UP Global was formed to operate the program. It’s now run by the for-profit Techstars, based in Boulder.