Startup Weekend Ludington

    Friday, July 28 - 30, 2017

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Judges
  4. Coaches and Mentors
  5. Sponsors
  6. Organizing Team
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Startup Weekend Ludington

Friday, July 28 - 30, 2017

Friday, July 28 - 30, 2017
Event starts at 3:00 pm

Camp Douglas Smith
5706 Federal Forest Rd
Freesoil, MI 49411

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Where the innovative come to pitch an idea... and a tent.

Sparks of genius only come once in a blue moon. The great ideas--the ones that bring people together and get people excited--take work. A lot of work. That’s where Startup Weekend comes in. Camp Douglas Smith is the venue hosting Startup Weekend where creatives, techies, strategists, and entrepreneurs will form cross-functional teams, pitching their big idea for the chance to make it into something more. We mentioned we’re bunking at a 100 year old camp, right?

Along the shores of Hamlin Lake, the only thing calling for your attention is your big idea. No distractions, no bustling cityscape: just you, your team, and hours of ideation. With all the amenities you’d expect from a Startup Weekend--housing, internet, workshop access, coffee--Camp Douglas Smith offers in a setting that reflects the summer camps of childhood. Because, well, it was.
The weekend will be challenging. No question. The amount of coffee to be consumed? Ungodly. The opportunity? Invaluable. This is Startup Weekend like you’ve never seen it before. Join us, and immerses your mind, body, and spirit in the creative process of bringing an idea to life.

Startup Weekend is a global grassroots movement of active and empowered entrepreneurs who are learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures. It is the largest community of passionate entrepreneurs with over 1800 past events in 120 countries around the world in 2014. The non-profit organization is headquartered in Seattle, Washington but Startup Weekend organizers and facilitators can be found in over 200 cities around the world. From Mongolia to South Africa to London to Brazil, people around the globe are coming together for weekend long workshops to pitch ideas, form teams, and start companies.

All Startup Weekend events follow the same basic model: anyone is welcome to pitch their startup idea and receive feedback from their peers. Teams organically form around the top ideas (as determined by popular vote) and then it’s a 54 hour frenzy of business model creation, coding, designing, and market validation. The weekends culminate with presentations in front of local entrepreneurial leaders with another opportunity for critical feedback.

Whether entrepreneurs found companies, find a co-founder, meet someone new, or learn a skill far outside their usual 9-to-5, everyone is guaranteed to leave the event better prepared to navigate the chaotic but fun world of startups. 

Come build something with us! 

See what it's all about

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Thursday July 27th

3:00 pm
Early Bird

Friday July 28th

9:00 am
Arrive at the venue and get checked in

12:00 pm
Lunch and Mingle at Barnharts!
Meet at the dock! We will provide you transportation to the infamous Barnharts for a network session over pizza.

3:00 pm
Last Call
If you don't make this boat you will have to swim back from Barnharts

4:30 pm
Final Registration
Registration will be closed at this time.

5:00 pm
Dinner & Networking
Eat food, share ideas, practice pitches, get to know fellow participants

6:00 pm
Opening Remarks/Icebreaker
Time to hear from the Camp and meet your future co-founder.

7:00 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 July 29th

8:00 am
Enjoy breakfast & coffee in the great outdoors! ENDLESS COFFEE

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

10:00 am
Lo-Fi Mockups/BMC/Validation
During this 30 minute session we will focus on prototyping, the business model canvas and user adoption.

11:00 am
Lakeside Activities
Enjoy the half mile of lakefront property.

12:00 pm
Food will be there as well as ENDLESS COFFEE!

1:00 pm
Status Updates Check-In
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!

5:00 pm
Lakeside Activities.
Have fun after all the hard work founding your startup! Half mile of lake shore!

6:00 pm
Eat dinner while watching the sunset! As always, ENDLESS COFFEE!

7:00 pm
After-dinner check-in, status reports, call for help

7:30 pm
Pitch Like a Pro
Learn what you will need in your final slide deck for Sunday.

10:00 pm
Camp Fire.
Finished for the day! Enjoy the camp fire! You may work as late you want or enjoy the camp fire!

Sunday July 30th

8:00 am
Enjoy breakfast & coffee in the great outdoors! ENDLESS COFFEE!

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

1:00 pm
Presentation Prep & Tech Check
Final hours of worktime should be focused on perfecting your presentation, tech-check for final presentations also takes place

2:00 pm
Final Presentations

3:30 pm
Break From Final Presentation
3:30 is the hard stop for final presentations. Take the time before dinner to enjoy the camp.

4:00 pm

4:45 pm
Judging & Awards

5:30 pm

6:00 pm
Go Home!
Or stay and camp an extra night

Event Judges

jeff Gershune
Research & Design Strategy Director at IA Collaborative

Jeff Gershune Research & Design Strategy Director, IA Collaborative   Jeff is a design research leader at IA Collaborative and responsible for driving innovation for some of the world’s most progressive organizations. He has conducted research and facilitated breakthroughs for Fortune 500 companies including Nike, HP, Bosch, Steelcase, SC Johnson, Best Buy, FedEx and Daimler-Chrysler, in the Americas, Europe and Asia.    Whether working for a start-up or multinational, he specializes in designing creative, contextual methods of gaining insight. Jeff has earned multiple patents for his work and approach to design thinking spanning the creative process from insight to commercialization.    In addition to C-suite presentations and global work sessions, Jeff also lectures on user engagement and creative research methodologies at institutions including the University of Notre Dame, talks on behalf of organization such as the Council of Innovation and at conferences such as World Usability Day.   Jeff has a BFA in Industrial Design from Kendall College of Art and Design and a Masters Degree in Design Planning from IIT Institute of Design.  

Jon Moroney
Designer, Educator and Entrepreneur

Jon Moroney is a designer, educator and entrepreneur with a passion for developing business growth strategies driven by product innovation.  With an educational background in industrial design, business and consumer behavior, he gathered diverse experiences in product design, branding and communications leading inter-disciplinary teams at a design studio consulting with small manufacturing businesses, startups and corporate R&D.  His newest ventures, Pretch and Sled Legs, were created as the co-founder of Tiger Drive, a design incubator company.  As the Chair of Industrial Design at KCAD, he has fused entrepreneurial thinking and user-centered design together to create unique learning models that send students on a journey to start their own product businesses.

Shorouq Almallah
Director at the Richard M. and Helen DeVos Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Shorouq Almallah is the Director at the Richard M. and Helen DeVos Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation (CEI) at Grand Valley State University.  She joined CEI in June, 2010.  In this role, she provides the necessary leadership and strategic direction for the centers management, program development, curriculum development, marketing, public relations and community outreach.   She is responsible for resource facilitation to entrepreneurs, program development, curriculum development, project management, organizational processes, and grant solicitation and management.  Previously, she served as Knowledge Resource Manager for the Family Owned Business Institute where she played an integral role in supporting the Institutes research, mission and initiatives.  Almallah has over ten years of experience in designing and coordinating the entrepreneurial education programs in West Michigan.   She is responsible for talent development initiatives on the University level and the region by working with community organizations on collaborative events and programs. She serves on a number of advisory and steering committees including the Annual Collaboration for Entrepreneurship, the West Michigan Colleges and Universities Group (WMCUG), the West Michigan Foundations Endowments & Family Offices (FEFO), and Grand Rapids Economic Development Partners Group (ESO).  Shorouq is fluent in both Arabic and English.  She earned a Bachelor of Arts from Indiana University in English and Linguistics, with a minor in Middle East Studies, and a Masters of Information Science from Indiana University

Scott Ward
Interim President of West Shore Community College

Scott Ward is currently serving as Interim President of West Shore Community College.  He has over twenty-four years of experience in higher education having worked in the University of Alaska and University of Wisconsin systems before coming to West Shore Community College in 2009.  Throughout his career he has facilitated many partnerships with other institutes of higher education, state and local governments, corporations and non-profit entities.  He has served on a number of boards and committees during his career including current service on the boards of The Starting Block Kitchen Incubator, Industrial Development Corporation of Manistee County and The Alliance for Economic Success.  He earned an MBA from the University of Alaska Anchorage and a Bachelor of Science degree from Northern Michigan University. 

John Wilson
Chief Executive Officer

n 1980, John K. Wilson joined what was then Western States Oil Company, Inc. as a staff landman. A graduate of Michigan State University’s School of Business, John determinedly worked his way up the corporate ladder, becoming Vice President of Land in 1989. Upon retirement of T.T. Thompson, founder of Western States Oil, John purchased the company in 1992 and changed the name to Western Land Services, Inc. With persistence and dedication, John expanded the company’s footprint across the nation and shifted Western Land’s focus from traditional oil and gas leasing services to a full-service mentality. By growing the service portfolio to include not only traditional leasing and title work, but also project layout and design, wildlife and environmental studies, and coordination of field activities, John wisely positioned WLS in the market to offer comprehensive solutions to clients facing industry challenges. Outside of the organization, John shines in the community as a humanitarian, contributing to local charities and fundraisers and leading efforts to improve the livelihoods of others. Often, he incites WLS employees to do the same by creating company-wide challenges to raise money, which in the past, has even resulted in the CEO, himself, jumping into the frigid early-spring waters of Lake Michigan. It goes without saying that John has masterfully positioned WLS as a key player in the oil and gas industry and in the local community at large.

Coaches and Mentors

danny gaydou
Owner & Principal Designer

Danny Gaydou, Owner & Principal Designer, Nextpoint Design Danny is the founder of Nextpoint Design, an end-to-end design firm focused on Interaction Design, UX, and Design Consulting. His passion is to create purposeful and desirable experiences for people and the products, services and spaces they interact with every day.   From start-ups to Fortune 500 companies, Danny has lead the creation of new products, introduced UX processes and practices to improve product usability and user satisfaction, and implemented design thinking methods into organizations to increase their ability to create innovative and successful products. Danny has worked with companies such as Gentex, Johnson Controls, Visteon, Spectrum Brands, Comcast, TV Guide, and X-Rite Pantone. Danny lectures on the building of design processes, team collaboration, and usability practices. He is also an Adjunct Professor at his Alma Mater, Kendall College of Art & Design.

Daniel Spicer
Principal at Our Full Attention

Over the past 15 years, Daniel has developed brands and campaigns for specialty retailers such as American Eagle, Aerie, Kohl’s, and Land’s End on both in-house and agency teams. Upon returning to West Michigan after a stint in New York and another in Wisconsin, Daniel enjoyed teaching at both Kendall College of Art and Design and Grand Valley State University in their graphic design programs while working as the creative director of a local firm. In the fall of 2015, Daniel harnessed his entrepreneurial spirit to start Our Full Attention—an advertising engagement agency located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Since starting Our Full Attention (OFA), Daniel has shared his passion for creativity and dedication to quality with brands like Yanfeng Automotive Interiors, NYX Cosmetics, and Old Orchard Brands. With such diverse career experience, Daniel has spoken at a number of advertising and design-centric events about his industry experiences, lessons learned, and how to craft engaging branded content. Daniel is excited for the chance to guide and coach Startup Weekend Ludington’s participants and is looking forward to seeing the pitches come together. 

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Startup Weekend Ludington 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 Ludington is 100% led by volunteer community leaders.
Learn how to get involved here

  • Tim
  • Crystal
  • Thomas
  • Monica
  • John
  • Ryan
  • Daniel
  • Rachael
  • Cara
  • Digital


Michael Norton
Entrepreneur In Residence

Michael has led over 60 Techstars Startup Weekend events throughout the US, Canada, and Australia. He teaches workshops, designs programs, and speaks on a variety of topics related to innovation and entrepreneurship.

Michael has worked professionally in marketing technology startups, with big data, non-profit fundraising, customer support systems design, technical project management, educational program development, event production and decor, iOS app design, video games, user testing, prototyping, and in the coffee industry.

His own past and present business ventures include several SaaS web app platforms, photography, woodworking, printing, audio engineering, video production, musical composition/recording/performance, publishing, art curation, operating an Amazon Pro Merchant storefront, and a funnel cake stand.

Michael guides innovative communities to build and nurture regional entrepreneurial ecosystems. He guides corporations through internal innovation and intrapreneurship. 

He frequently works as a freelance business development consultant, crowdfunding guru, technical project manager, and as a marketer — focused on branding, messaging, storytelling, social media, and email marketing.

Michael loves hiking in Yosemite, bicycling around San Diego, eating authentic Baja California Mexican food, and drinking amazing coffee in Seattle.

Event Staff

Tim Murphy

Ryan Parrish

Crystal Young

Thomas Hinman

Event Blog

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