West Slope Startup Week - A Place To RallyWritten on February 29th, 2020 by Justin Lewis
West Slope Startup Week is coming (July 7 - 30 of 2020)!
This will be the second West Slope Startup Week and it’s looking to be bigger and better than last year. I anticipate this years event to be high impact for those that get involved because of the general energy of the West Slope communities. As someone who’s helping to organize the event and someone who’s been involved in community building more generally there are some questions and concerns that seem to repeat around the idea of Startup Week. This post hopefully helps address those concerns.
The identity dilemma of Startup Week
Startup Week events have become an important part of many startup communities. Despite this there are many people who are hesitant to participate for a number of reasons. The number one reason I hear from people is that they don’t identify with the term “startup”. That said, Startup Week is NOT only for startups.
The first paragraph of startupweek.co says:
“Techstars Startup Week brings entrepreneurs, local leaders, and friends together over five days to build momentum and opportunity around your community’s unique entrepreneurial identity.”
The term “entrepreneur” is more broadly accepted among founders and this statement hopefully will help understand that the Startup Week organizers are inclusive to all types of businesses. This is especially true for smaller communities like those on the West Slope of Colorado where West Slope Startup Week organizers are focused on supporting the professional community in general as a primary goal.
Startup Week is not just for Startups. It’s for anyone interested in the entrepreneurial ecosystem whether you are a job seeker or job provider. That includes everyone from founders to the boots on the ground getting the day to day things done.
The tech builders play an important role
Another common response I get from the tech community is that Startup Week doesn’t have content that fits their priorities. I’ve felt this way in the past and can empathize. Sometimes it can feel like Startup Week is for founders and so those that are more interested in building solutions than starting companies may not see their place.
That can’t be farther from the truth!
Startup Week offers an amazing opportunity to focus on aspects of a technical career while also providing opportunity to explore other areas up and down the entrepreneurial stack. There will be sessions to hear focused talks on technical topics. Through events like this I’ve seen relationships form that directly resulted in people switching jobs, companies growing, and even new companies forming. There may be career opportunities right down the road that you had no idea existed.
Startup Week is a place to converge
Startup Week is a place to converge around ideas, build relationships, learn, and get a glimpse of what’s happening in the community. Every Startup Week is different but rural communities may benefit from these events in ways that more urban equivalents don’t. In Western Colorado many communities are taking steps to work together as a larger system. This is incredibly important to supporting the long term health of communities because many of these communities can benefit from:
- Sharing knowledge
- Accessing other companies
- Accessing other workers
- Accessing other markets
- Broadening network connections
Ultimately by strengthening a regional sense of community workers and entrepreneurs can help each other to create a professional ecosystem that support, attract, and retain people that grow opportunity.
Hmm... But it's COVID times!
Indeed this is not an ideal situation for a conference and it isn’t as easy to network. But there are still options!
- Get on the West Slope Startup Week Slack!
- Reach out to people directly via Slack, Facebook, LinkedIn, Email, or any other means possible. You would be surprised how happy people would be to hear from you.
Here's a list of Tech focused events you might find interesting
- July 7, 2020 Lessons learned from remotely managing a team (grew from 3 to 40)
- July 9, 2020 Selling High Value Products Online – Do you have the right model? – CBD as a case study
- July 9, 2020 When to build a Tech Team
- July 13, 2020 ... ok this isn't a Startup Week event but it is a West Slope Tech meetup that you might be interested in! West Slope Startup Week Tech Preview & Unite Our Communities
- July 21, 2020 Choosing a Programming Technology for Your Startup
- July 23, 2020 Thoughtful Design
- July 28, 2020 Coding for Sustainability
- July 30, 2020 Cybersecurity: Understanding The New Due Diligence Criteria
There’s a lot more on the West Slope Startup Week Schedule
You can have an impact at and beyond Startup Week
If you’re on the fence about whether to go tune in to this years West Slope Startup Week I’d encourage you to think about two questions.
- What would you like to get out of the event?
- How would you like to help your community?
Virtual networking can even be more authentic as it gives you the ability to reach out to specific people rather than rolling the dice in a room of strangers.
There are probably many people in your community that could benefit from your help. Possibly people that would love your help. This does not necessarily need to be your professional services. More often than not it can be as simple as brainstorming ideas or an introduction to others. Those that give to their community will often get more back than they expect. It may not happen overnight but by helping others in your community you help set the example for others to help strengthen the community. With growth comes opportunity for not just businesses but the people of the towns we all live in.
Help create the community you've always wanted
We all start our careers looking at how others influence the professional environment around us. There are many ways to have a significant impact on your community. Jump in now, if you aren’t already, to help shape a better future for rural entrepreneurship. Starting is as easy as showing up.