Start Up Weekend Can Help with Ideas for Small Businesses

In November, area entrepreneurs can participate in the Shenandoah Valley’s first Startup Weekend event in Winchester.  Participants will form teams and work together to share business ideas and present their startup business concepts.

“Startup Weekend is a three-day event where entrepreneurs, small business owners, or people who just are really excited or fascinated with starting a business come together to create business ideas and then put them through their paces to do some exercises around how you start a business and how you find out if the market will support your idea and you are connecting with other entrepreneurs, mentors and investors from the area,” says Ryan Hall.  “At the end you and your team will pitch your idea and there are prizes available and we hope that this will definitely spawn some businesses, but create some connections among entrepreneurs and small business people throughout the Shenandoah Valley.”

That’s Ryan Hall.  He’s the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Builder with the Shenandoah Community Capital Fund, which is sponsoring the event along with Shenandoah University.

“Being a small business owner or an entrepreneur can be very lonely sometimes,” says Hall.  “You are overcoming challenges and working on problems and it’s very easy to feel like you’re the only one going through those problems or challenges.  So, one of the key focuses of the Shenandoah Community Capital Fund is building community around entrepreneurs in the Shenandoah Valley.  So, this event helps people be connected with other folks who are having new business ideas or product ideas, as well as mentors and investors and resource providers.”

This is the first Startup Weekend in the Shenandoah Valley and Hall hopes to hold another one in the Harrisonburg area sometime next year.  Startup Weekend is a program operated by Techstars, an international platform for innovation and investment that connects entrepreneurs, experts, mentors, investors, and community leaders to help businesses grow.

“I’d like to, obviously, thank our sponsors that have donated their services and space and just let people know that the prizes that are included here, the top prize is $2,500 in business services that you can then use to take your idea to the next level, and every participant walks away with something,” says Hall.  “If you participate in this event, for example, you will receive a free domain name from GoDaddy for a year which is a really exciting benefit.  So, if you want to start your business that’s a great way, a little cost savings for you.  So even if you don’t win you get a little something.”

Startup Weekend will be held November 12 through the 14 at Shenandoah University in Winchester.    For more information call 540-217-6719 or you can search Startup Weekend Winchester on Google or Facebook.

Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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