Whatcom County home to a week of business start-up events

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDNovember 15, 2013 

While plenty of learning will take place, Global Entrepreneurship Week in Whatcom County will have a celebratory atmosphere.

Several economic development agencies and companies have organized events Nov. 18-24 geared toward helping people turn a good idea into a viable business.

The Port of Bellingham will host the kickoff event on Monday, Nov. 18, while the BIG Idea Lab will wrap things up Nov. 22-24 with a business startup weekend, with entrepreneurs working 54 straight hours to get a business idea through the creation stage. Winners will compete against seven other teams from startup weekend events in Seattle, Portland and Spokane on Dec. 10 at the Northwest Battle in Seattle.

Throughout the week the event will have a variety of workshops, which are free to attend except for the startup weekend. Other communities around the world will be hosting similar events.

The goal was to fill up the week with a variety of offerings to help entrepreneurs get the tools to take things to the next level, said Jennifer Shelton, director at Western Washington University's Small Business Development Center.

Shelton added that the week is also a celebration, highlighting what makes Whatcom County a good place for innovation and growing a business. As someone who oversees the Small Business Development Center, she has noticed a high amount of company startup activity, as well as plenty of firms being bought and sold.

"Money has eased up, so it's a really positive atmosphere right now," she said.

For those who are at the beginning stages of a business idea, Shelton would recommend going to the Nov. 18 kickoff event, which will have Keith Carpenter of Bellingham-based Wood Stone as the keynote speaker. Along with the speaker, it'll be a good place to network and get an overview of what resources are available.

Other workshops can be a place to drop in and listen. At the Pitch Fest workshop on Thursday, Nov. 21, new entrepreneurs can see or even pitch a business idea and get feedback on what's effective.

For further details about the events, call Shelton at 360-778-1762 or visit kickstartbellingham.com.

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

Here is a list of Bellingham events for Global Entrepreneurship Week, held Nov. 18-24. All events are free except for the Startup Weekend, which costs $99. RSVPs for many events are recommended due to limited space.

Monday, Nov. 18:

-- Kickoff event at Squalicum Boathouse, 4:30-6:30 p.m. Keynote speaker will be Keith Carpenter of Wood Stone.

-- A local food sourcing for restaurants workshop is at the Sustainable Connections office at 1701 Ellis St. from 5-6:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Nov. 19:

-- Pricing for Profit workshop, 10-11 a.m. at the SBDC office at 115 Unity St., Suite 101.

-- Highway to Revenue at the SPARK Museum at 1312 Bay St. from 5-6:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Nov. 20:

-- Lean Startup 101 workshop, 6:30-7:30 p.m. at BIG Idea Lab 114 W. Magnolia St., Suite 505.

-- SBDC Marketing Extravaganza, 1-5 p.m. at BelleWood Acres, 6140 Guide Meridian.

Thursday, Nov. 21:

-- Pitch Fest, 5:30-7 p.m. at BIG Idea Lab.

-- Washington Health Benefit Exchange workshop, 4:30-6 p.m. at the Pickford Film Center, 1318 Bay St.

Friday-Sunday Nov. 22-24:

-- Startup Weekend starts 5 p.m. on Nov. 22 at BIG Idea Lab.

For more information or to RSVP, go to kickstartbellingham.com and click on the event information for contacts.

Reach Business Editor Dave Gallagher at 360-715-2269 or dave.gallagher@bellinghamherald.com. Read his Business Blog at bellinghamherald.com/business-blog or follow him on Twitter at @bhamheraldbiz.

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