Nonprofits, Small Business & Startups, and Technology

Grand Rapids kicks off Startup Weekend

January 14, 2016
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Startup Weekend launches downtown
Startup Weekend Grand Rapids attendees team up to launch startups over a 54-hour period. Photo via

A nonprofit is hosting a competition and networking event for entrepreneurs this weekend.

Seattle-based Startup Weekend, a global movement to aid entrepreneurs in learning the basics of launching and maintaining successful startups, is coming to Grand Rapids for the seventh year.

It will be held at Kendall College of Art and Design, beginning at 5:30 p.m. on Friday and running through Sunday evening.

Tickets to participate can be purchased for $50 online.

54-hour process

Beginning on Friday evening, participants are invited to pitch their startup ideas and receive feedback from their peers.

Following a popular vote on the top ideas, teams are formed around those ideas and begin the process of creating a business model, coding, designing and market validation, culminating with presentations before local entrepreneurial leaders on Sunday.

The winners are chosen, and awards are presented at the end of the event.

Local faces

On Friday night, CampusStarter founder Thomas Coke will serve as the keynote speaker following a dinner and networking period.

The judges for the event all have ties to Grand Rapids: Airpdrop Gaming co-founder and CEO Tim Murphy; EVP Product Development general counsel Amy Chambers; Grand Rapids Area Black Businesses founder and CEO Jamiel Robinson; and Stryker Medical Instruments director of industrial design David Allen.

A number of West Michigan volunteers will be on hand for the event as well, acting as mentors and coaches for the startup teams and event organizers.

Startup Weekend

To date, Startup Weekend has held more than 2,900 events in more than 150 countries.

The model is the same for each event and looks to help entrepreneurs connect with their peers, become more prepared and learn the process of building a startup, in just 54 hours.

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