Maybe it was crazy- the decision to hold 32 events over the course of 10 days- or maybe it was just Awesome. 10 days of Awesome to be exact.
The Birth of Startup Week
Rumors of a mini-SXSW in the Okanagan have been floating for some time now, but Startup Week Okanagan was officially born over lattes and tea in January 2013, two months prior to the March 1st kickoff date. While sipping their java, Members of Digital Okanagan, Creative Okanagan and Accelerate Okanagan realized they were all holding 3 big events over the same week, the most anticipated one in the tech community being Startup Weekend.
“ Wouldn’t it be great if we held a number of smaller, tech/business events leading up to Startup Weekend? Get everyone pumped for the big 52hrs?”
And thus the birth of Startup Week Okanagan. Global Music Fest and Startup Weekend would bookend the 10 action-packed days and a handful of community-led events and meetups were scheduled throughout the week.
Bits and Bites
To say Startup Week Okanagan was a roaring success would be an understatement. The Okanagan tech community has officially infiltrated into the Okanagan’s mainstream and on more than one occasion, were whispers of surprised residents shocked that such a community existed. Vancouver natives even commented on the supportive and inclusive nature of the Okanagan startup scene.
To those entrepreneurial pillars in the community, good on you for laying the foundation for exciting times to come.
Here are some tidbits of info surrounding the 10 days:
- 2000+ attendees at 32 events over 10 days!
- Hashtags: #StartupWeekOkanagan, #SWOkanagan and the comedic #stinkyT became the organizers hashtag
- Website: www.startupweekokanagan saw 9,731 pageviews in 5 weeks
- Find yourself in Startup Week and Startup Weekend photos!
Startup Week Highlights
- Entrepreneurs Unplugged
Lance Priebe and Lane Merrifield sat down with Braden Messenger, Program Director at Accelerate Okanagan, in a cool, comfortable atmosphere at Kelowna’s Streaming Cafe. They talked life, lessons and learning throughout their entrepreneurial journeys and what’s in store for the successful founders next. If you missed the live event, video footage can be found here.
- Lean Coffee
Every Tuesday morning at 8am in the co+Lab, Kelowna entrepreneurs, Brent Lachman and Chad Kohalyk of Syndicate Theory talk about lean business development. Their Startup Week Meetup saw its largest group to date, despite the 8am start time. These guys have mad entrepreneurial skills and facilitate an informed, intelligent discussion that focuses on the lean startup methodology.
- Media Training for Startups
For those of you who attended this event, a little insider information, it almost didn’t happen. Elisha McCallum was scheduled to fly into Kelowna to share her knowledge about crafting your startup story and creating shareable, engaging content online. Unfortunately, Elisha’s flight was cancelled 1 hr prior to go-time. Fortunately, Jan Enns of Kelowna stepped up last minute to save the event from being cancelled and gave an excellent presentation which can be found here.
- 3 x 8am Meetups = True Commitment to Your Craft
Wednesday morning saw 3 Meetups - Art Brew, #devKL and Social Entrepreneurs Connect – and ~50 professionals converging at Accelerate Okanagans’s headquarters. All three meetups occur on a regular basis and are a great way to keep your pencils sharp and your mind engaged. For more information on meetups check out Digital Okanagan’s Meetup group.
- Pitch Pit
If you missed out on this one you must be feeling some serious regret. Nineteen people pitched their startups in 1 min or less. It was a fun, engaging event that saw our own, Andrew Greer, ride his scooter on stage during his pitch for his scooter sharing service, Janice Taylor of Just Be Friends pitch from her homemade Ball Pit (yes… Ball Pit) and Peter Matejeck of HuStream Video take 30 sec of his 1 min pitch to eat a crispy, green apple. Congrats to Janice for taking home the cash prize and to runner-up by one point, Amber Piche of My Tea Blending Room. Check out our event photos, too!
- Startup Mashup
This event was networking at its finest. Let’s ‘mashup’ all the folks who normally attend Vernon and Kelowna #geekbeers, Startup Drinks and Penticton Tech Talk, put them in Accelerate Okanagan’s new coworking space, The Pod, and provide free beer (compliments of Big Surf Beer).
- Startup Weekend Okanagan
The 10 days that made up Startup Week Okanagan ended with a bang with Startup Weekend! Seventy participants joined teams and built companies from scratch in 52 hours. Dennis Powers, Digital Okanagan member, provided a great recap. Congrats to those of you who poured your heart and soul into the 2nd Annual Startup Weekend Okanagan yet still managed to make it to work on Monday morning!
Thank-you Okanagan Tech, Business and Arts Communities!
Startup Week Okanagan was a true, community-lead, collaborative effort that illustrated just how amazing, smart, creative and active the Okanagan is. A toast to all those who helped organize an event, to the other organizing groups, Digital Okanagan and Creative Okanagan, Andrea Lindal of Lexabi Communications for designing the posters, welcome boards and printed schedules and to every person who participated, tweeted, blogged or published a story.
Roll on Startup Week Okanagan 2014!