Startup Weekend: Berkshire Economy

    Friday, November 1 - 3, 2019

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Speakers
  4. Coaches and Mentors
  5. Sponsors
  6. Organizing Team
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Startup Weekend: Berkshire Economy

Friday, November 1 - 3, 2019

Friday, November 1 - 3, 2019
Event starts at 6:30 pm

Berkshire Community College
343 Main Street, #1
Great Barrington, MA 01230

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Turn Your Idea Into a Business in 54 Hours at Startup Weekend

Do you have a problem you'd like to solve? An idea you'd like to pursue? A business you'd like to start? 

Bring your vision to life at Startup Weekend: Berkshire Economy!

Under the guidance of expert mentors, you will work alongside fellow community members to launch your business idea over the course of Techstars' 54-hour entrepreneurship immersion experience, coming this fall to Great Barrington, Massachusetts. 

Startup Weekend: Berkshire Economy
 is designed for you to bring your innovative idea or business concept to life.  Bring your most innovative idea to solve a problem and/or build a business in one of the Berkshire Economy's 5 primary sectors:
  1. Hospitality & Tourism
  2. Creative Arts
  3. Healthcare
  4. Food & Agriculture
  5. Advanced Manufacturing

What You Get in the Full Weekend Long Experience:

  • Learn from the best!  Engage with our powerful network of world-class mentors, panelists, and judges throughout the weekend.  
  • Engage in 54 hours of workshops, coaching, mentoring, panels and business building to fully develop and validate your startup idea. 
  • Receive valuable advice from expert speakers on how to rapidly start a mission-driven business
  • Pitch your idea and have it validated by an expert panel of judges and business leaders
  • Work on a team of like-minded individuals and learn how to build a business
  • Develop your own professional network with other business-minded individuals and entrepreneurs
  • Conduct one-on-one consultations with experienced mentors who will guide you and provide feedback
  • Discover how to validate and present your idea
  • ATTEND DEMO SUNDAY with our esteemed judges
  • What if your idea is not selected? Learn how to work on a startup team to plan and validate a business
  • Form new friendships over 7 delicious meals throughout the weekend 
  • Consume all of the internet and coffee you desire

Who Should Attend:

  • Everyone who has an idea to make the world better.  No business experience required!  (We provide the mentors).
  • People of all ages from Teen to Retired.
  • Innovators and Disruptors.
  • Serial Ideators!
  • Anyone who wants to work on a business (No idea or experience needed - just a willingness to work hard). 
  • Life-long learners.
  • Networkers who want to meet like-minded individuals and make new friends.
  • There are NO bad ideas.

What do you need to bring?

Lots of Energy! And a new idea!  Please note that this has to be a new idea, not an existing business.

What will you do in the 54-hour weekend?

Over the course of the weekend, you'll be challenged to create a prototype, or minimum viable product (MVP), that fits the needs of your target customer.  

On Friday night you will pitch your own idea and/or listen to others.  Participants will vote on the most interesting ideas and form teams for the weekend.  The teams will develop and validate selected ideas. Finally, teams will share their progress with the group and judges on DEMO SUNDAY.  

Why are we organizing this weekend?

Dedicated to our community, we are long-time residents of the Berkshires with a desire to develop a thriving ecosystem for entrepreneurs. This is a not-for-profit event designed to find the entrepreneurial spirit in all of us.  

We aim to attract talented innovators and disruptors from around the Northeast and establish the Berkshires as a regional center for social and environmental innovation.

Do you have an idea that would be great for individuals, the community, or the environment? If so, this is the place to find a team, create a prototype, validate your idea, and receive feedback from experienced startup mentors.

Startup Weekend's Partners: is a county-wide organization focused on economic development and promotion of the region as a preferred place to visit, to live, and to grow a business. It provides programs that connect businesses with each other and with potential customers, as well as works to develop future leaders and support entrepreneurs.

Read about #1 small town in America according to Smithsonian Magazine Great Barrington, MA.
See what the NY Times says about the Berkshires.

Still not sure about the weekend-long experience?

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. Join the Techstar's Startup Weekend Great Barrington, MA movement and help us develop a thriving ecosystem for innovators and disruptors here in the Berkshires!

No talk, all action!

See what it's all about

Learn More


Friday November 1st

6:30 pm
Arrive at the venue and get checked in

7:00 pm
Dinner & Networking
Eat food, share ideas, practice pitches, get to know fellow participants

7:20 pm
Welcome & Speakers
Review agenda for the weekend and introduce speakers, coaches, and community leaders

7:30 pm
Pitches Start
Optionally line up to give your pitch

9:00 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 as late as the venue will allow

Saturday November 2nd

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

9:30 am
Begin Work
Teams formed and setting up workspace for the weekend

12:00 pm

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

2:00 pm
Coach Meetings
Coaches help teams one-on-one. They are here to 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 November 3rd

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

10:00 am
Coaches arrive. Final opportunity to ask questions

12:00 pm

12:30 pm
Coach Meetings
Coaches arrive… ASK QUESTIONS

3:00 pm
Presentation Prep & Tech Check
Final hours of worktime should be focused on perfecting your presentation, tech-check for final presentations also takes place

4:00 pm

5:00 pm
Final Presentations

7:30 pm
Judging & Awards

8:30 pm

9:00 pm
Go Home!


Susanna Sharpe
Co-Founder and Creative Director at Mungy Studios

Suanna is the co-founder and creative director, leading all things in both graphic design and web development at Mungy Studios. Raised as a third-culture kid, Susanna spent her childhood living all over the world, from New Zealand and the Americas to Europe and the South Pacific islands. 
While running a lively Irish pub in downtown San Diego, Susanna simultaneously studied graphic design at San Diego Mesa College and web design online at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. When babies came along Susanna left the late nights in the restaurant industry for interrupted nights with babies and freelancing during naps.
Today, with her husband and their three children, Solana, Tasman and Byron, she is focused on her newest adventure: Mungy.  
Throughout her life, Susanna has always been drawn to design and photography, documenting the special moments that arise from the everyday. In quiet moments you can find her behind a lens, doing yoga, baking, painting and crafting with her kids.

Ilana Siegal
Founder and CEO at Lifeworks Studio

When she founded LifeWorks in 2013, Ilana Siegal envisioned a space that would be more than a yoga or dance studio.  She wanted a place where the community could come together, grow, explore movement, promote healing, and find wellbeing, in an affirming and welcoming environment.  Since 2013, Ilana has been focused on creating an environment that fosters the feeling that making your life work is possible, for each individual that comes to the studio.  Drawing on a long career in yoga, Pilates, dance, bodywork, and personal development, Ilana develops programs that integrate best practices in mind and body fitness and wellness.
Ilana has said, “At its heart, the mission of LifeWorks Studio is to bring a culture of radical (self) care to the Berkshires and provide a hub of support for individuals and families in the community.  In truth, our mission continues to grow and evolve daily, as we learn from and respond to the needs of the community.”

Coaches and Mentors

Erika Allison
Assistant Vice President at Willow - Investments for Loving Change

Erika Allison is Assistant Vice President at Willow - Investments for Loving Change, a socially-responsible investment firm.  Originally trained as a mechanical engineer, Erika has held positions in sales, marketing, education, project management and leadership within large corporations, public institutions and small nonprofits.  Erika's mobile app idea Goals With Friends won the inaugural Startup Weekend in Portland, Maine in 2013.

Conor Flynn
Founder & Program Manager at Social Sector Network, LLC

Conor Flynn works to assist social entrepreneurs by night via Social Sector Network and investors by day at Compliance Solutions Strategies. His experience includes managing operations for Startup Commons and hosting a startup ecosystem podcast. He has worked on a variety of projects to develop entrepreneurial communities in both local and international contexts.
Additionally, Conor has advised and assisted numerous early-stage entrepreneurs facing strategy and technology challenges.
His experience at the nexus of entrepreneurship, investment, and community development provides him with a unique perspective on social and environmental challenges. Feel free to check out Social Sector Network's online entrepreneurship training program: Social Impact Startup

Michael D. Andelman
Finance and Operations Coordinator, Race Brook Lodge, Undermountain Hospitality, Inc

Often referred to as DemAndelman, Michael has been an entrepreneur since high school when he started Compu-Mail, a direct mail and database management company. He turned around, and in turn, co-owned Los Angeles based Insomnia Cafe, the pilot's namesake for TV's "Friends." With a producer friend, Michael co-founded Fish of Death Records in Los Angeles. His track record for discovering, grooming, and maneuvering artists onto major record companies was 12 for 15. After being audited by the IRS while making a movie in Boston, Michael became a professional tax preparer, teaching individuals and small companies how to prepare their own taxes, and keeping tens of millions of dollars away from The Man. In The Berkshires, Michael has been a financial stability educator, 1Berkshire entrepreneurial mentor, property flipper, gallery curator, Cultural Council Chairman, competitive cyclist, developed, and facilitated the sales of small businesses. 

Mark Avnet
Founder Converging Arts LLC

Founder, Converging Arts LLC. Professional Development consultancy. Educator, media psychologist, advertising/branding person, hypnotherapist. Damn fine bass player.

Rebecca Churt
VP of Marketing & Sales at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health

Rebecca Churt is a marketing professional who brings to Kripalu more than 15 years of experience. She joined the organization in the summer of 2017 as the General Manager of RISE™, and was most recently promoted to Vice President of Marketing and Sales. She is an entrepreneurial-minded leader with a demonstrated ability to execute business growth and innovation within a myriad of environments and industries. Acknowledged as a digital marketing and go-to market strategy thought-leader, Rebecca brings experience in building highly motivated and effective teams in order to reach key business goals.

Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, in Stockbridge, MA, is the largest retreat center in North America, known for its personalized programs and tranquil location. Guests can choose from hundreds of immersive programs and experiential workshops year-round that feature world-class teachers and presenters on topics that nourish the mind, body, and spirit. 

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Startup Weekend: Berkshire Economy team is grateful for the support of local community partners without whom this event would not be possible.
Learn how to become a sponsor here.



Organizing Team

Techstars Startup Weekend Great Barrington, MA is 100% led by volunteer community leaders.
Learn how to get involved here

  • Mark
  • Erika
  • Bill
  • Tim
  • Amber
  • samuel
  • Conor


Steven Rodriguez
Managing Director, SUEGO

Steven is a worldwide startup community strategist, helping to build diverse communities of innovators, entrepreneurs and startups with more than 12,000 entrepreneurial leaders across 170 countries. He is a local Washington D.C. entrepreneur and lives and breathes this ecosystem with a passion. Through his connection to Project 500, Steven has the opportunity to serve as a resource for the region's minority community and to give back what has been so freely given to him.

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