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Longmont Startup Week pivots to virtual format

Instead of in-person speakers and panel discussions, Longmont Startup Week,, which starts Monday, will be virtual, embracing technology to keep ideas flowing amid the coronavirus pandemic. 
Robert Gutierrez, Brian Miranda, Tyler Lisenbe, and Anthony Mendoza of Axus lead a discussion during last year's Longmont Startup Week. (Photo by Mandy Froelich)

Longmont Startup Week, the annual event aimed at helping new businesses of all stripes move from concept to reality, this year will embody its entrepreneurial spirit. 

Instead of in-person speakers and panel discussions, the five-day event will be virtual, embracing technology to keep ideas flowing amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

The sixth annual Startup Week, which runs Monday through Friday, has pivoted to an all-online format, livestreaming all one-hour sessions via Facebook and YouTube, and Morgan Smith is excited about the possibilities. 

“I think we’ve curated an excellent schedule this year, especially for the compressed timeline and change in structure,” said Smith, vice president of the Longmont Economic Development Partnership, which is one of the event’s lead organizers. 

Particularly exciting, he said, is the shift from tracks focused on specific tools or industries to daily themes: “Creativity & Disruption,” “Financial Health,” “Social Good,” “Living Digitally” and “Company & Team Building.”

Knowing that business owners and entrepreneurs are always busy, the virtual format also allows for them to take part in Startup Week as their schedules allow. 

“Each day offers a pretty wide breadth of what’s going on in the world related to that topic,” Smith said. “Our goal is to find a few sessions during the week that really speak to you.”

The schedule also includes a chance for busy entrepreneurs to take a breath. 

Each day will start with a 30-minute Mindful Mornings session led by Beth Jones, chief operating officer at Longmont’s own Sticker Giant, who is a certified teacher and instructor of mindful awareness and meditation.

Thursday’s Living Digitally lineup also will include live website advice in the 4 p.m. Firing Line session. A panel of five experts from Innovate Longmont, Catapult Creative Co. and Branded Beet will provide “rapid-fire brainstorming” on sites, sharing what they like and don’t like and offering advice for improvement. To submit your site for review, click here

Lori Jones, president and CEO of Avocet Communications in Longmont, is among the speakers on the schedule for Monday. Her talk at noon, “Entrepreneurial Grit and Daring Marketing: Bold Moves that Ignite Business Growth,” will hone in ways businesses can differentiate themselves from their competitors. 

Jones, who will be presenting for a third time, has a special affinity for the event. Avocet is a startup, founded by her father, Kit Sutorius, and for four years now has provided pro-bono PR for Startup Week. 

“It’s all about community and sharing your heart and wisdom and helping people out,” she said. 

That community spirit has taken hold in Longmont, which has “always been an entrepreneurial hotbed,” Smith said. 

Each year Startup Week draws hundreds of attendees, and he said he is excited to see how many people this year’s virtual format reaches since it allows for more spontaneous participation because there is no registration deadline. 

However, Smith encouraged people to look through the schedule ahead of time and indicate which sessions they will attend since that will provide greater opportunities for them to engage with speakers via comments and questions, and to engage with others via community link on the website. 

That website, by the way, moved to a new URL this week.

“There’s an old saying that something has to go awry before an event,” Smith said in an email sent Wednesday. “Last year, our (audio-visual) equipment was being totally funky and we were short on volunteers (until literally the day of). The year before, we had venue slipups. This year, our first fully digital year, it just had to be our website. If you’ve had the opportunity to visit our website in the past couple days, you’ll notice something is awry. Alas! This is how events go.”

Startup Week info is now available at

Julie Baxter

About the Author: Julie Baxter

Julie Baxter is The Leader's' assistant editor.
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