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Startup Weekend Returns to Oxford for Entrepreneurs

Insight Park (courtesy of UM Communications)
Insight Park (courtesy of UM Communications)

Innovate Mississippi announces that Startup Weekend Oxford will be held February 20-22 on the campus of the University of Mississippi in the School of Business. Startup Weekend Oxford is organized by the employees of Innovate Mississippi and in a partnership with the University of Mississippi, Insight Park and the Oxford-Lafayette County Economic Development Foundation.

Powered by Google for Entrepreneurs, Startup Weekends are intense 54-hour events that operate worldwide, bringing together serial entrepreneurs, programmers, developers, graphic artists and business-minded people for a weekend of company creation.

Tony Jeff, president and CEO of Innovate Mississippi said, “This event is an excellent opportunity for those in the Oxford area to participate in a high-performance startup environment and vet ideas and implement plans – all during the course of a weekend.”

The agenda begins with aspiring entrepreneurs pitching their business proposals to the group, who then votes for the most promising 10 to 15 ideas. The group will divide into small teams and spend the rest of the weekend focusing on a single business idea, developing a proof of concept, demo or finished product.

Mentors are on hand to help fine-tune the idea into a “working company” with potential profits. A panel of seasoned professionals evaluates each group’s startup and their chances of real-world success. The event concludes with an awards ceremony where the top three teams receive in-kind prizes from local service providers.

Innovation Mississippi logo

William Nicholas, assistant director of the University of Mississippi’s Insight Park said, “Startup Weekend provides an ideal opportunity for entrepreneurs to share and cultivate ideas, and potentially launch a start-up. We have arranged a strong lineup of talented mentors and judges, so I encourage any individual that has an interest in entrepreneurship to attend Startup Weekend. It promises to be an informative and fun experience for all participants.”

The mission of Startup Weekend is to provide a high-energy, collaborative environment that facilitates experiential education and meaningful connections. Participants also build long-lasting relationships and may even walk away with a job or an investment.

“Because this event draws together regional innovation communities to one location, it ensures that teams can create the critical mass they need to succeed,” said Jeff.

Judges for the event include Allyson Best of the University of Mississippi, Paul Gunnoe of Ortho Kinematics, Britton Holleman of Addicus, Christy Knapp of FNC Inc. and Brad Morris of Brad Morris Law Firm.

Mentors include Owens Alexander of the University of Mississippi, Bethany Cooper of FNC Inc., Joyce Freeland of Freeland and Freeland Law Firm, Max Hipp formerly of the Oxford-Lafayette Industrial Foundation and Chamber of Commerce, Misty Lapham of the Bank of Manhattan, Reg Lapham of Spartan Ventures Inc., Ashley Locke graduate of the University of Mississippi, Josh Mabus of the Mabus Agency, Sharon Morris of Safe and Sound Home Care, Chan Patel of Charter Road Hospitality Group, Brian Reithel of the University of Mississippi, Kate Rossen of the American Cancer Society and Chip Wade of Ortho Kinematics.

Ox-Laf Economic Development Foundation

Bethany Cooper, corporate recruitment and talent management coordinator at FNC Inc. said, “Mentoring at Startup Weekend Oxford last year was incredibly inspiring. It is fantastic to see the diversity of innovative ideas coming out of this area of North Mississippi. Equally impressive was the hard work that the participants put into preparing their business plans and pitches as well as their interest in gaining feedback and advice – that combination is truly what makes this program so successful. I look forward to being involved again this year.”

Startup Weekend Oxford sponsors include Abbeville Bank, Abner’s, Dominos, Casa Mexicana, Charter Road Hospitality, Merchants & Farmers Bank, FNC Inc., No Time To Cook, Rebel Bookstore, Allen Samuels, Swetland Cook CPA and Taco Bell.

Tune in to Q93.7 and Supertalk radio throughout the weekend for updates and announcements. Visit www.innovate.ms for more information and to purchase tickets, which include all meals for the weekend. Students receive 50 percent off ticket prices.

Follow all Startup Weekend Mississippi events on Twitter via @SWmississippi or visit their Facebook and LinkedIn pages by searching Startup Weekend Mississippi. All Startup Weekend Mississippi events are
organized by Innovate Mississippi.

Contact Tasha Bibb for more information. Innovate Mississippi is a nonprofit organization with the mission to drive innovation and technology-based economic development for the State of Mississippi. Visit www.innovate.ms to learn more. 

Courtesy of Innovate Mississippi

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