Startup Weekend Grand Rapids

    Friday, February 8 - 10, 2019

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Judges
  4. Coaches and Mentors
  5. Organizing Team
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Startup Weekend Grand Rapids

Friday, February 8 - 10, 2019

Friday, February 8 - 10, 2019
Event starts at 5:30 pm

Start Garden
40 Pearl NW
Suite 200
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Buy Tickets

Your idea in 54 hours

Do you have an idea you'd like to pursue or a problem you'd like to solve but don't know where to start or who to start with? 

Techstars Startup Weekend is the place to look for a team, create a prototype of your idea, validate your business idea, and receive feedback from experienced entrepreneurs, all in one weekend.

What do you need to bring?

Lots of energy! You'll pitch your own idea or listen to others, then vote on the most interesting ideas and form teams with diverse skill sets. You can come with friends, but you’ll get the full experience if you participate in separate teams. Remember, it’s all about the team.

Your idea should be something you have not previously worked on. The idea you pitch and the problem you set out to solve can span social, educational, financial, environmental, or other issues. Over the course of the weekend you'll be challenged to create a prototype of your MVP, or minimum viable product, that fits the needs of your target customer. You'll get feedback, iterate, and likely pivot your approach entirely! Important: You cannot have worked previously on your idea.

Techstars Startup Weekend is a full weekend long experience. Your ticket includes:

  • 7 full (and delicious) meals over the course of the weekend
  • Benefits and discounts from our global partners
  • One-on-one time with amazing mentors
  • A new network of developers, designers, and entrepreneurs eager, like you, to change the world.
  • All the internet and coffee you can consume.

Watch the video below to see what you can expect, and if you’re feeling inspired click on the “Buy Ticket” button now!

Still have questions, feel free to reach us at “”.

Don’t wait any longer and join the Techstars Startup Weekend movement!

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Friday February 8th

5:30 pm
Arrive at the venue and get checked in

6:00 pm
Dinner & Networking
Eat food, share ideas, practice pitches, get to know fellow participants

6:45 pm
Announcements & Weekend Agenda

7:15 pm
Pitches Start
Optionally line up to give your pitch

8:30 pm
Attendees vote for the top pitches

9:15 pm
Form Teams
Teams start forming and discussing ideas

10:00 pm
Begin Work
Start to formalize teams and take an inventory of skills. Be honest, and direct about what resources and skills are needed for the weekend. You may stay and work until midnight.

Saturday February 9th

8:30 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

9:00 am
Begin Work
Concurrent Sessions: 1) Business Model Canvas, 2) Customer Validation, 3) Prototyping, 4) Pitch Template

12:00 pm

1:00 pm
After-lunch check-in, status reports, call for help

6:30 pm

7:30 pm
After-dinner check-in, status reports, call for help

10:00 pm
Finished for the day. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow

Sunday February 10th

8:00 am
Doors Open
Continental Breakfast

9:00 am
Get back to work
Final hours of worktime should be focused on perfecting your presentation, tech-check for final presentations also takes place

11:30 am
Light Lunch

1:00 pm
Final Presentations

3:00 pm
Judging & Awards

3:30 pm

4:00 pm
Go Home!

Event Judges

Jorge Gonzalez
Director of Start Garden

A Grand Rapids native holding a degree in Public Administration and minors in both Business and Sociology from Grand Valley State University, Jorge joins the Start Garden team in 2017 from his time spent as Executive Director of the West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. His involvement with the Hispanic Chamber began with the inception of the organization. Gonzalez has established it as a central connecting point for Hispanic entrepreneurs in West Michigan, both for aspiring business owners and seasoned veterans. Prior to that, he was at LINC UP as the Director of Economic Development for four years and has 15 years of experience in the banking industry. His last banking position was as VP of Community Development from 2005 to 2010. Gonzalez has been married for 18 years and has five children. In his spare time he enjoys running, occasional golf, spending time with friends and family.

John Rumery
Campus Director, Grand Circus Grand Rapids

John is a "starter" and connector, with experience as both an entrepreneur and intrapreneur. At the heart of his work is a broad professional network: mentors, funders, supporters and collaborators.  

Coaches and Mentors

Mary Hartfield
Business Development Officer/Business Counselor

Coach, Registration Volunteer

Veronica Kirin
Coach, Author, International Speaker

Veronica Kirin is a Forbes notable graduate of Grand Valley State University and a 40 Under 40 Business Leader. An Anthropologist turned Serial Entrepreneur, her career has taken her from Disaster Relief through the Startup world. She is founder of the award winning GreenCup Website Services, author of Stories Of Elders, and Entrepreneur Coach to Audacious Empire Builders who want to scale their businesses so they work less, grow faster, and earn more. Her work as a coach is certified by the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce and is known for her trademarked Self Care Through Scaling™ program. She is also the founder of the Audacious Entrepreneur’s Sandbox, where Entrepreneurs can build community and get Coached in workshops and Live Q&As.

Chris Wendel
Business Coach with Northern Initiatives

Chris Wendel is a Business Coach with Northern Initiatives, a Community Development Financial institution based (CDFI) based in Marquette, Michigan. Northern Initiatives provides money and know-how to businesses throughout Michigan. Wendel has worked with thousands of business owners as a lender and advisor specializing in management and finance. A native of western New York and a graduate from the University of Colorado, Wendel has direct experience in retail, publishing, and manufacturing. He previously worked with a Consultant and Regional Director with the Michigan Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and is a regular contributor to the “Traverse City Business News”.

Jason Wagner
Web Developer

Jason is a local web developer and tester with marketing and analytics experience.  He has contributed to many software and web projects, currently developing customer facing apps in React Native.  He has been a hiring manager and team leader and can jump in at any stage of a project and contribute.

Organizing Team

Techstars Startup Weekend Grand Rapids is 100% led by volunteer community leaders.
Learn how to get involved here

  • Laurie
  • Belen
  • Holly E.
  • Rachell
  • Matt
  • Amanda
  • Aris


Grant Carlile
Event Coordinator at Run for Phil

Grant thrives on curiosity, coffee, and office supplies.
Drawing on my experience growing three businesses, building out content strategies, coaching teams in multiple capacities across multiple industries for 12+ years, and creating relationships with personnel of many walks of life, I thrive on curiosity, coffee, and office supplies.

Event Staff

Mary Hartfield
Business Development Officer/Business Counselor

Coach, Registration Volunteer

Robert Hughes


Kelli Smith
Lending Coordinator


Catherine Leniczek

Volunteering event 

Event Blog

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