During a typical week, it might be abnormal to attend an intergenerational civic engagement panel on a Monday, partake in an aquaponics tour on Wednesday, find out how to fund your startup without investors on Thursday and learn JavaScript game development on Friday.

But next week isn’t typical. It’s Colorado Springs Startup Week, an annual event designed to build Colorado Springs’ entrepreneurial ecosystem.

This year’s five-day event, Oct. 5-9, is billed as “a new type of conference that builds momentum and opportunity around entrepreneurship, led by entrepreneurs and hosted in the entrepreneurial spaces you love.”

The celebration, which is in its second year, “is a reflection of your hard work and your community’s unique entrepreneurial identity,” according to its website.

This year’s event is twice the size of the first Startup Week in 2014, said organizer Chris Franz. The group is hoping for twice as many participants.

“We believe we can bring in about 1,600 people with these events,” he said. “Our goal is to change the lives of entrepreneurs, focus attention on startups and connect people to the resources needed to be successful.

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“Being an entrepreneur is difficult; it can be scary; it can be lonely at times. This is an effort to connect and succeed.”

The weeklong event is now national, but got its start in Colorado. The state’s a great place for startups, Franz said, because of the technology, aerospace and defense firms that have a foothold here.

“So it’s been very popular all over the place,” he said. “And we have some new events that will make a big splash here.”

One of those events will have businesses pitch to real venture capitalists from the Colorado Impact Fund. The goal is not only to raise capital for the startups participating, but to show audience members how to get attention from investors, he said.

Startup Week will feature dozens of speakers and exhibitors from the Pikes Peak region. Topics fall under the umbrellas of mentoring, community, growth, art, diversity, adventure and entrepreneurship.

Events will take place at sites across the downtown area, from Colorado College to the Catalyst Campus, Cottonwood Center for the Arts and more. The schedule actually begins this weekend: In 54 hours, groups will compete to create a plan and start the first stage of developing their own business.

The networking begins at 4 p.m. Sunday with a launch party at Epicentral Coworking, 415 N. Tejon St.

Then, the week goes into full gear on Monday.

“We have talks ranging from Startup 101 to implicit bias and pushing through social constructs,” said Michelle Parvinrouh, program coordinator at Peak Startup.

“We have a youth art night, happy hours, learning opportunities and social events.

“It’s really very broad and targeted toward community. It’s about bringing together people into the same room when they normally wouldn’t be. Everyone can play on this field.”

More than 70 speakers are slated for the week, and more than 50 organizations from the community are part of the event, including Pikes Peak Community College, Colorado College, the Downtown Partnership and the Small Business Development Center.

Parvinrouh said it’s difficult to validate the success of last year’s event, which had a more modest schedule. But she has heard from many of last year’s participants that the networking alone was worth it.

“People really enjoyed it,” she said. “People came to events and learned about resources they didn’t know were there.

“But it’s not just what they’re learning, it’s who they’re meeting. It’s a chance to be introduced to others who are like-minded and could be potential partners or provide resources.”

The connections aren’t always obvious, she said, so Startup Week provides an opportunity to break down barriers.

“One of the biggest heartaches is to hear about a startup or entrepreneur who we never knew about, leave town because they didn’t have the support or resources to get their business to the next level,” Parvinrouh said.

“We have a very supportive community here, but you have to know where to look.”

And that’s what Startup Week is all about, said Franz.

“Colorado Springs is about five to 10 years behind Boulder, as far as developing an ecosystem for startups,” he said. “We’re on the right path now, though, and this is one of the ways we’re going to be successful. This effort is all about finding resources, connections necessary to shape success.”

So far, more than 200 people have registered for the week’s events and, while all events are free, registration is required.

For additional information, or to register for events, visit coloradosprings.startupweek.co.

Startup Week major events

coloradosprings.startupweek.co for complete information


11 a.m.: Mindful Entrepreneurship

1 p.m.: Social Media for Your Startup

5:30 p.m.: Not Your Typical Software Engineering Panel


9:30 a.m.: Startup Law 101

11 a.m.: Courses for Creatives

2:30 p.m.: Marketing on the Cheap


11 a.m.: Exploring Success with Software Development Teams

1 p.m.: Pitch Clinic

5:30 p.m.: Angel 101


10:30 a.m.: Funding Your Startup Without Investors

Noon: Rebranding Without Losing the Brand

6 p.m.: CSBJ Fastest-Growing Companies Gala


Noon: Business and the Arts Luncheon

1 p.m.: Colorado Impact Fund Demo Day

5:30 p.m.: Startup Week Finale party