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Startup Weekend to help generate business ideas

Profile image for By Jenna Duncan / Staff Writer
By Jenna Duncan / Staff Writer

A new event will challenge attendees to come with an idea on a Friday and leave with a business on Sunday, during the first Startup Weekend Denton later this month.

The Startup joins a growing global movement known as Startup Weekends that have generated hundreds of events as close as Dallas and as far away as South Africa to help entrepreneurs generate new business ideas. The first-ever in Denton will kick off Friday.

“We’re trying to get more involvement in Denton,” said Kyle Taylor, the event organizer. “We want Denton to be a pin on the map for tech startups in the North Texas area.”

Taylor estimates that between 60 and 80 people will participate in the event. Attendees will give a 60-second pitch about their business idea, and then everyone will vote on the best ideas. Ten to 12 of the best ideas will be chosen, and attendees will then break into groups.

The teams then spend the rest of the weekend working on and developing their start-up idea, asking designated coaches for help along the way. Then on Sunday evening the ideas will be presented to the judges and awards will be presented to the top three teams.

“The idea is, once you’re done with the weekend, you should have a foundation to launch a start-up,” Taylor said. “You have your business model, you have your idea, you have your team, and then you’re ready to go.”

Registration is open online until the first day of the workshop.

The event is part of a larger movement to organize and help the start-up and technology community in Denton by Taylor, UNT student Clarissa Redwine and others.

After a few test runs were conducted in December, various meetings will be held this year to help technology experts, programmers and other IT professionals network locally. Denton Open Coffee Club will focus on talking and networking every other Tuesday morning. Denton Open Hack will be held on some Wednesday nights for people to help each other write code. Denton Jelly will be a casual co-working meet-up on some Fridays.

When she and some of her classmates started working on their startup last year, Redwine said they had a hard time trying to find a developer, so they decided to do something about it. She began talking with the head of the Dallas Open Coffee Club and thought the model and other networking events could happen in Denton.

Meeting places and schedules are still being worked out week to week, with posts updating on each Facebook page, but they are off to a good start, Redwine said.

The organic growth of the movement is something City Council member Kevin Roden is happy to see, as he has been a longtime supporter of local startups.

“To me it’s a very healthy thing for our economy,” he said. “The more we introduce that starting your own business is sexy again, we can foster that environment.”

By having the meet-ups, those in the field will be able to support each other with job suggestions and help keep businesses local. With the upcoming event, Taylor hopes to create a sense of community to help fuel its growth through the year.

“Whenever we started doing this tech stuff, I really wanted to see Startup Weekend be the kind of initial launch of this new year,” Taylor said. “I’m trying to make this Startup Weekend the initial push to get the tech community going in Denton.”

JENNA DUNCAN can be reached at 940-566-6889 and via Twitter at @JennaFDuncan.