The 3rd annual Startup Week took entrepreneurs to Abilene Independent School District high schools and middle schools, and a variety of on-campus events Monday through Saturday.
The week featured 125 events sponsored by the Griggs Center for Entrepreneurship and Philanthropy and the Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization. Meredith Orr, student director of Startup Week, said her team partnered with Junior Achievement of Abilene to bring entrepreneurs to speak at AISD high schools and middle schools.
“This year we put a lot of focus on involving the Abilene community,” said Orr, sophomore management major from Fort Worth.
The Springboard Elevator Pitch competition took place Monday at 2 p.m. and students had two minutes to pitch their products or businesses to win $1500. Nathan Reynolds, junior management major from Houston, won the contest for his Burro Pack Cover. He said his pack cover, designed for backpacking, has a hood attached to it, three pockets on each side and a rain jacket that sips backwards to the cover. He competed last year and didn’t win.
“Throughout this I have learned that perseverance really does pay off,” Reynolds said in an email. “I appreciate all the support from the judges and my friends and family that always support my crazy business ideas.”
Alumni and guest entrepreneurs dined with students at the CEO Networking Dinner Monday night and local entrepreneurs were invited to the Springboard Community Luncheon Wednesday.
“This really helps promote entrepreneurship in Abilene because we care about our city that we’re hosted in,” Orr said. “If we promote Abilene as a community that is continuing to grow, not stagnant as it has been in the past, overall will really build up Abilene.”
Orr said Startup Week placed entrepreneurs in events already happening on campus, including classes, student organization meetings and social club Chapels.
“The week seemed to go about as smoothly as it could,” Orr said. “We get to show them what we’re doing and show them ‘you can be a part of this.'”
All Startup Week events were registered with Global Entrepreneurship Week, an international initiative in more than 160 countries. Orr said the first Startup Week only had six events, the second had 100 and this week had 125 events. Startup Week helped CEO become the best chapter in the nation because Orr said it allows CEO members to reach out to non-business majors.
Preparation for Startup Week began in March but Orr and her team of four co-chairs took the lead in August.