The 2019 event is being held later than usual after sponsor shifts and programming changes, organizers say.
Startup Week Columbus is on. It's scheduled for Sept. 9-13, organizers say, though the annual entrepreneurial festival backed by Boulder, Colorado-based Techstars is searching for a local title sponsor.
The popular series of workshops, mentoring and networking sessions will be held for the most part at the Lincoln Theatre, with an opening bash at Top Golf near Polaris and a Friday morning community breakfast at Wells Barn at Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.
Local organizers wanted to remix the order of events this year, says Branden Jones, co-lead for Startup Week and a founder of BLK Hack, which supports entrepreneurship in the African-American community and among people of color. This year’s Startup Week Columbus theme will be “Ambition.”
“We looked at the events over the past five years and found the majority of people can’t participate for all five days, so we wanted to isolate some special events,” Jones says. For example, past programs combined entrepreneurs, fundraising, mentors, various industry stars, marketing/branding, HR advisers and more. This year, mentoring sessions will take place all on one day in a “Mentoring Madness” format similar to speed dating, Jones says.
Hitches in sponsorship funding along with a desire to make the event available to Ohio State University students led to a delay of Startup Week from April to September, Jones says. JPMorgan Chase, the event’s lead sponsor in prior years, is no longer in that role, the company confirmed. But it’s contributing $15,000 to local efforts this year, a spokesman says. “JPMorgan Chase supported the volunteer organizers in getting Startup Week up and running in Columbus, and we’re continuing our support to keep the momentum going,” says Andrew Blight, vice president for corporate communications.
Ohio State University’s Technology Commercialization Office will be partnering for the first time with Techstars, providing sponsorship and hands-on participation, including faculty discussion moderators. Rev1 Ventures also is a sponsor, Jones says.
General admission tickets for this year’s event will be $50, available at Ticketmaster. Free tickets to Friday’s Friday community breakfast will be available on Eventbrite. Some details such as keynote speakers are still being worked out, Jones says.
Startup Week is a Techstars creation. Techstars, a growing global network of entrepreneurial programs and tech accelerators, held its first Columbus Startup Week in 2015. Startup Weeks have been held in more than 75 cities around the globe; others this summer fire off in more than 25 international cities.