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Countdown to Startup Week
Massive event will spotlight Denver entrepreneurs

Looking back at DSW 2012

High praise: participants comment on last year's Startup Week.


tartup fever in Colorado, already bursting thermometers in the Rocky Mountain region, is about to get even hotter. The countdown has officially begun for the 2013 edition of Denver Startup Week (DSW), a mammoth event spanning six days and featuring more than 125 events.

The event, now in its second year, is scheduled for Sept. 16-21. It is organized by the Downtown Denver Partnership and the Colorado Technology Association to “showcase the entrepreneurs, employees and the startup companies fueling innovation in Denver.”

“Denver Startup Week is a platform to convene all those who are building startups, want to build startups and want to be involved in the community,” say organizers. “With hundreds of activities and events over a period of six days, there is something for anyone who wants to engage in Denver’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

Almost overwhelming in scope, the week will include workshops, mentoring services, resource fairs, networking mixers and other events aimed at highlighting business opportunities in Denver.

Marketing guru Seth Godin, called the "ultimate entrepreneur for the information age" by Businessweek magazine, will be the keynote speaker at the official kick-off luncheon. Godin is the author of 14 books on marketing, leadership and change. He has founded dozens of companies, including, his latest Internet startup. Other speakers will include Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, Convercent CEO Patrick Quinlan, Thoughtbot Managing Director Desi McAdam, Full Contact CEO Bart Lorang, and Love Grown Foods founder Maddy D’Amato.

The luncheon will take place Sept. 16, 11 a.m.–1:30 p.m., in the Seawell Grand Ballroom at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. But if you haven't already registered, you may be out of luck. As of Aug. 22, the registration form on the DSW website shows the event as full.

More than 125 planned activities for the week were chosen from among some 180 suggestions submitted to the DSW organizing committee by the Denver community. They are all free to the public, but registration is filling up quickly.

All event registration is done through the Denver Startup Week website. Once an event is full, however, additional registrations will not be accepted. A quick survey of the events offered for registration showed about a quarter of them are full as of Aug. 22.

But organizers say all hope is not lost. If seats are available after the start of an event, any attendee can join. The advice from DSW:

“Arrive 15 minutes prior to the event you wish to attend. There may be another event wrapping up so be patient as the presenters close and the room empties and re-sets. As soon as the space is open, registered attendees can enter. Anyone who is not registered but wants to attend will be asked to wait outside. After all registered attendees are seated and the start time of the event is a few minutes past, the Denver Startup Week volunteer will allow any other Denver Startup Week attendees to enter until the space is at max capacity. Make sure to show up on time for your events if they are near capacity so you can guarantee your seat. If you fail to arrive on time, volunteers may give your seat away!”

If you miss out on a free lunch, not to worry. Our check of events showed plenty of available networking affairs offering ample liquid refreshments.

This year, DSW will also feature a “Denver Startup Basecamp,” sponsored by JPMorgan Chase. The Basecamp will be located on the 16th Street Mall at Larimer Street and will serve as a hub for the week’s activities. The Basecamp will host speakers and panelists, founders and entrepreneurs, media, mentor programming, leadership sessions, live music, networking events and other activities.

According to organizers, Denver Startup Week is focused on three goals:

  • To enhance the sense of community amongst Denver entrepreneurs, with specific focus on Downtown Denver;
  • To highlight Denver as an entrepreneurial center on the local, regional, and national stage; and
  • To provide education, inspiration, and networking events for the Denver entrepreneurial community.

The week is designed to be part educational, part inspirational, part motivational, and part celebration. The core programming is focused on five tracks – business, design, technology, manufacturing and social enterprise. Events will include educational sessions, presentations, panels, workshops, happy hours, social events, job fairs, and other activities.

Startup Week is free to the public and thousands are expected to attend. However, individual activities and events do have capacity limits and organizers are asking participants to register for specific sessions to ensure a spot. You can view the full calendar of events and register here.