Denver Startup Week: The Intersection of Community and Entrepreneurial Spirit

This is a sponsored post by Denver Startup Week, and we’d like to thank them for all of their support!

Pure magic is happening in Denver.

Three years ago a group of entrepreneurs, business owners, city leaders and volunteers led by Ben Deda, Tami Door, and Erik Mitisek got together with the seed of a simple idea: shine a spotlight on the Denver tech community. This simple thought has rapidly grown into the largest free entrepreneurial event in North America: Denver Startup Week.

For the third year in a row the entrepreneurs of The Mile High City will rally around business, design, technology, and manufacturing from September 15 – 20 to raise awareness of the great happenings within their community.

“We want to have people who are passionate as well as audiences who want to engage, learn, and get value they can take home and do something cool with,” says Zeschin, Denver Startup Week Technology co-chair and local entrepreneur. “We want this to be the focal point for the year that gives people the energy and drive to then go out into the community and build something amazing.”

The inspiration behind Denver Startup Week came when Deda noticed that local entrepreneurs in Denver were having a difficult time connecting with each other. As he explains, Denver had a cowboy mentality where CEOs would work on their products, keep their heads down, and not crow about their startups every day.

“We were one of a few startups recently coming into the downtown Denver area – we had just wrapped up TechStars Boulder,” says Deda. “They were missing the sense of community that they had in Boulder. It wasn’t that the companies weren’t in Denver, we just didn’t know how to find each other.”

When Deda, Mitisek and Door announced the first Denver Startup Week, they were counting on the fact that entrepreneurs would take a step back, relax, and get to know everybody else in their community. They absolutely fulfilled that goal, and the love for Denver Startup Week spread like wildfire in the community; the first year, 2012, they had 3,500 attendees.  This year they are expecting upwards of 7,000.

“The way we do Denver Startup Week is different than other events – all we do is build a box and hand it off to the community. They fill it with the events they want,” says Deda.

By leaving the majority of the creative control up to the community, it accomplishes the task of giving them something to be proud of that is inherently their own. All that the Denver Startup Week organizers ask in return is two things.

First, they want people to get knowledge, new ideas, and inspiration from the sessions during the day. Second, and this point is a bit more important, they want to provide people with opportunities for collaboration that lead to amazing things throughout the rest of the year.

To help further this mission, last year’s Denver Startup Week featured Basecamp Launched by Chase, a new segment that acts like mission control for the whole week. Sponsored by Chase via Todd Munson, the first Basecamp was so overwhelmingly successful that it will be making a heralded return this year.

According to Munson, Basecamp is the spot to be if you’re involved in the community at all, especially if you’re in the private equity community. It’s where all the entrepreneurs come to connect over issues, elements of starting up, and new trends to pay attention to.

“This is a collegial group of entrepreneurs,” says Munson. “You don’t need bricks and mortar to build businesses anymore. The energy starts on day one, and although Denver Startup Week might end on the 20th, the inspiration never stops.”

Registration for the event is completely free, although all of the events are on a first come first serve basis. Make sure to grab your tickets today!

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Written by:
Will is a Senior Writer with Tech.Co, based out of America's Finest City: San Diego. He covers all territory West of the Mississippi river, digging deep for awesome local entrepreneurs, companies, and ideas. He's the resident Android junkie and will be happy to tell you why you should switch to the OS. When he's off the clock, Will focuses his literary talent on the art of creative writing...or you might find him surfing in Ocean Beach. Follow Will on Twitter @WJS1988
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