Fort Hays State University will host the first Startup Weekend in
western Kansas and one of the first in Kansas from Nov. 15 through 17.
Led by FHSU's College of Business and Entrepreneurship, Startup
Weekend is an event designed for entrepreneurs to meet, share ideas and
launch new businesses. The three-day event is open to anyone with a
great idea, and the desire to make that idea a reality.
The overall theme of Startup Weekend is "No talk, all action. Launch a startup in 54 hours."
Mark Bannister, dean of the college, said: "The College of Business
and Entrepreneurship is dedicated to developing new businesses,
particularly in rural areas, and Startup Weekend is the perfect
opportunity to inspire, educate and empower individuals, teams and
entire communities. Participants are invited from Kansas and elsewhere.
If you have the dream of starting your own business and have an idea,
this is a great opportunity for you to test it and to potentially put it
The Hays event is an officially sanctioned Startup Weekend. The
Startup Weekend website states that "on average, half of Startup
Weekend's attendees have technical or design backgrounds, the other half
have business backgrounds."
Bannister pointed out, "In Kansas, we are likely to see a diversity
of backgrounds and are likely to have people interested in starting
businesses in areas of regional strength, such as energy services,
agriculture value-added products, manufacturing and retail, as well as
Beginning with open-mic pitches on Friday, attendees bring their best
ideas and inspire others to join their team. Over Saturday and Sunday,
teams focus on customer development, validating their ideas, practicing
LEAN Startup Methodologies and building a minimal viable product. On
Sunday night, teams demo their prototypes and receive valuable feedback
from a panel of experts.
On Friday, Nov. 15, Dr. Edward H. Hammond, FHSU president, will greet
participants. An entrepreneur with experience with the Startup Weekend
process will challenge participants. U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., who
has been an advocate of entrepreneurship, is scheduled to speak to the
participants on Saturday, Nov. 16. Most communication will be between
participants. A volunteer team of business, legal and design coaches
will be available throughout the weekend to provide assistance. On
Sunday, Nov. 17, the participants will present their business plans to a
panel of judges.
Participants must register. Partial scholarships will be available on
a competitive basis for college students. Participant presentations
will be open to the public free of charge at 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 17.
Judging and awards will take place at 7:30 p.m. Events on Friday, Nov.
15, will take place in McCartney Hall, and on Saturday and Sunday in the
Robbins Center, all on the FHSU campus.