Regional
12:56 pm
Tue October 15, 2013

NMSU Plans "Startup Weekend" In November

New Mexico State University will kick off its celebration of Global Entrepreneurship Week in November with Las Cruces' first Startup Weekend event, beginning Nov. 15. The event is sponsored by Arrowhead Center, the NMSU College of Engineering, Mesilla Valley Economic Development Alliance, the New Mexico Economic Development Department, and many contributing sponsors

Startup Weekend is a global grassroots movement of community leaders, and entrepreneurs who are learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures. The nonprofit organization is headquartered in Seattle, but Startup Weekend organizers can be found in cities around the world.

Startup Weekend events follow the same basic model: anyone is welcome to pitch their startup idea and receive feedback from their peers. Teams form around the top ideas, as determined by popular vote, and then it's a 54-hour frenzy of business model creation, coding, designing and market validation. The weekends culminate with presentations in front of local entrepreneurial leaders with another opportunity for critical feedback.

Participants include software developers, designers, and people with a background in business, marketing and public relations.

NMSU graduate student Brian Mangusing won first prize at a Startup Weekend event in Albuquerque in June. Mangusing, who has a master's degree in biotechnology and is pursuing another master's in business administration, said the event was intense.

"It was an incredible learning experience and networking opportunity," he said. "There were a lot of great ideas that weren't chosen, but they were still able to learn so much about the process."

Zetdi Runyan Sloan, program manager at Arrowhead Technology Incubator and lead organizer for the Startup Weekend Las Cruces event, said she expects a high level of student participation at the local event. Similar events will take place all over the world during the Global Startup Battle, including Startup Weekend Four Corners in Farmington, N.M., and a teen Startup Weekend event in Albuquerque.

"We hope to also draw some El Paso entrepreneurs, and appeal to developers in the region," Sloan said. "Some of our judges include Beto Pallares, a Kauffman Fellow and venture capitalist; Andy Krafsur, CEO at Spira Footwear; and Carolyn Wincer, head of travel and tourism development at Virgin Galactic."

The Startup Weekend event concludes Nov. 17, and is followed the next day by the start of Global Entrepreneurship Week. Studio G, Arrowhead Center's student incubator, will have booths on campus Nov. 18 and 19 where students can get more information about the resources available for student entrepreneurs. There will be a Studio G open house from 3 to 5 p.m. on Nov. 19 at Academic Research A on the NMSU campus. The open house will have food, prizes and opportunities to join Studio G - all Startup Weekend participants and NMSU students are welcome. A coffee meet-up on Nov. 20 at Milagro Coffee Y Espresso, 1733 E. University Ave., will bring together Startup Weekend participants and Studio G students for valuable networking time. The New Mexico Programming Group will also host its monthly meeting at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 21.

Global Entrepreneurship Week aims to inspire people to explore their potential as self-starters and innovators, and connect participants to potential collaborators, mentors and even investors. For more information about Global Entrepreneurship Week, visit www.unleashingideas.org.

Cost to attend Startup Weekend is $75 through Oct. 24 and $99 after that date. To register for Las Cruces Startup Weekend, or for more information, visit lascruces.startupweekend.org. Students can attend for a discounted $50 entry fee. A limited number of scholarships and sponsorships are available for students and community entrepreneurs. For information about discounts, scholarships and sponsorships, contact Sloan at 575-646-7833 or zrunyan@nmsu.edu.