Startup Weekend comes to the Flathead

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Startup Weekend is a global grassroots movement of active and empowered entrepreneurs who are learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures. It is the largest community of passionate entrepreneurs with over 400 past events in 100 countries around the world in 2011.

The first Startup Weekend will be on April 25th through April 27th in Pablo at the Salish Kootenai College.  The event will commence with a ceremonial drum circle performance by drummers from the Salish Kootenai College.  Following, there will be a keynote speech by William Schmautz, President and CEO of Kalispell-based Nomad Communications, an engineering and manufacturing organization specializing in mobilizing technology applications in the support of first responders and emergency response personnel in the field   Individuals will then pitch their startup idea and receive feedback from their peers. Teams organically mold around the top ideas (as determined by popular vote) and then it’s a 54 hour frenzy of business model creation, coding, designing, and market validation. The weekends culminate with presentations in front of local entrepreneurial leaders with another opportunity for critical feedback.

The non-profit organization is headquartered in Seattle, Washington but Startup Weekend organizers and facilitators can be found in over 200 cities around the world. From Mongolia to South Africa to London to Brazil, people around the globe are coming together for weekend long workshops to pitch ideas, form teams, and start companies.  In the Flathead, we will see participants from local organizations, who have become success stories in northwest Montana, such as S&K Technologies, Jore, and Zane Ray coming to compete.  Judges include, Liz Marchi of Frontier Fund, Bob Erwin, founder of Sterling Bank Services, and Tina Begay, Professor of Business at SKC and Director of National American Indian Business Leaders.

All Startup Weekend events follow the same basic model: anyone is welcome to whether entrepreneurs found companies, find a cofounder, meet someone new, or learn a skill far outside their usual 9-to-5, everyone is guaranteed to leave the event better prepared to navigate the chaotic but fun world of startups. For more information email organizer, Brandon Smith at: flathead@startupweekend.org or co-organizer, Cassandra Sunell at cassiesunell@gmail.com

If you want to put yourself in the shoes of an entrepreneur, register now for the best weekend of your life!  www.flathead.startupweekend.org