Peak Startup, SSPR gear up for annual startup week

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An annual five-day celebration of the local startup community is about a month away.

“Startup founders and their teams are heads down, hard at work and often fly under the radar,” said Natasha Main, the executive director of Peak Startup, via email. “This year, we aim to spread awareness of the unique, rapidly-scaling nature of startup companies and spotlight our local startups for the great work they are doing in our city.”

Peak Startup is hosting Colorado Springs Startup Week, which runs Aug. 20-24, through Tech Stars that promotes Startup Weeks globally. The event also has three track sponsors, including the Pikes Peak Workforce Center, locally based SSPR and the Colorado Institute for Social Impact.

“With relevant and applicable workshops, presentations, events, and mentoring sessions designed to inspire, educate and advance our startup community, there is something for every startup no matter what stage in the life cycle,” Main said.

There will be workshops tailored to discuss different business needs around four main tracks: workforce, growth, social impact and startup fundamentals.

“In addition, we have some fantastic keynotes and sessions lined up,” Main said. “In celebration of our military community, we are collaborating with Mt. Carmel Veterans Service Center to offer a two-hour session introducing veterans and active military women and men who are exploring entrepreneurship to startups. This event will highlight the stories of local veteran entrepreneurs currently pursuing startup ventures.”

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SSPR is sponsoring and running the Growth Track at Startup Week and is hosting a happy hour and networking event Aug. 20 at its headquarters, 105 East Moreno Ave., in Colorado Springs.

“We’re asking any and all local small business owners and entrepreneurs to stop by, share a drink and make some LinkedIn connections,” said Heather Kelly, CEO of SSPR, via email. “Colorado Springs Startup Week is an opportunity for local business leaders, entrepreneurs and startup and accelerator experts to come together and network. … For SSPR, it’s an opportunity to educate local startup founders about the importance of PR and communication when crafting a startup strategy.”

Other scheduled events and workshops include:

  • A Shark Tank Effect Panel on Aug. 20, which consists of startup and investor experts, with the focus revolving around the perception of starting a business versus how it works in the real world.
  • The Almost Famous Workshop, a half-day boot camp on Aug. 22 led by various SSPR communication professionals. Startup leaders will learn why PR is beneficial, how to define and measure goals, and ways to improve current communication strategies.
  • A CI4SI celebration in honor of its first anniversary Aug. 23 with a party at 4:30 p.m.,  before the annual pitch night competition at 6 p.m.
  • A final workshop on Aug. 24 consisting of SSPR leaders sharing how to become a visionary thinker and look five to 10 years ahead when creating a business.

The majority of the workshops will be at the Tim Gill Center at 315 E. Costilla Street.

Go to coloradosprings.startupweek.co to sign up for Colorado Springs Startup Week.

“From your login page you can add workshops from the schedule to customize your Startup Week experience,” Main said. “Please be sure to attend the workshops you sign up for, as space is limited in each session.”

Startup Week originally was organized to highlight local startups as one type of business in the broader Colorado Springs business community.

“Over the years, as awareness and education around startups has continued to grow, Startup Week has evolved to offer more tailored sessions not only to celebrate startups throughout the community, but also include information to best support businesses as they grow,” Main said. “There is an amazing energy around the startup community that we want to highlight and celebrate. This is a fantastic opportunity to meet founders, learn practical skills, and see what is happening in this innovative sector in your own backyard.”

Kelly added, “You won’t find a better opportunity for such an extensive education lineup, expert insight, happy hours and networking nights, inspirational keynotes and startup workshop time for free. It’s hosted at various times throughout the week, so you simply need to find a time that works for you. These experts are giving their time and talent to be a resource for entrepreneurs — it’s the best time to ask your questions and learn more about growing your business.”