For those of you who are learning of my existence for the first time, welcome! I’m writing today about my involvement with Charlotte Startup Weekend 2, but I have to start with some of my own background to help you understand why you should be involved as well.
I came to Charlotte in January of 2008 to pursue my professional passion of working with Ruby on Rails. I selected a Charlotte startup over one in the Bay Area because I believed in the business. During our time here, my wife and I have come to love Charlotte deeply, and have made it our home. I am an advocate for Charlotte, and I’m also an admirer and exhibitor of its entreprenurial spirit. After moving here for one Charlotte startup, I’ve founded or co-founded two others, and joined a fourth as its CTO.
I am co-organizing Charlotte Startup Weekend 2. I am donating my time because I believe in the format, and that it’s exactly what Charlotte’s maturing entrepreneurial environment needs to take the next step. During my time as a freelance consultant doing networking in Charlotte, I came to be familiar with a great deal of this city’s talent in design, software development, marketing, and entrepreneurship. I believe it’s time for this claim that I know to be true to become widely believed: this city has an incredible talent base and tremendous potential. By participating in Charlotte Startup Weekend, you’ll be teaming with some of Charlotte’s best and brightest for an inspiring weekend of networking, friendship, and working together.
The agenda is available on the CSW2 website, but here is a summary. On Friday night, after opening remarks, those who have an idea they’d like to put before the group to create will pitch their concept. A small number of those concepts will be selected, and teams will self-organize based on what and who they’d like to work with. Work will begin. Food and drink will be provided. Advisors will review and offer commentary on your progress. At the end of the weekend, a panel of judges will decide who has won. Depending on the organizers meeting their sponsorship goals, there may be prizes awarded the winners. Perhaps our winner will have an opportunity to become tenants at our host sponsor, Packard Place!
The primary sponsor of the Startup Weekend brand is the Kauffman Foundation, whose mission is promoting entrepreneurship. A study from that group in 2010 begins When it comes to U.S. job growth, startup companies aren’t everything. They’re the only thing.. The study reveals that, both on average and for all but seven years between 1977 and 2005, existing firms are net job destroyers, losing 1 million jobs net combined per year. By contrast, in their first year, new firms add an average of 3 million jobs.
I’d exhort us all to build new companies together here in Charlotte. Practicing will make us better, and you could meet your next business partner at this event. You’ll have a chance to know what everyone on your team is capable of, and you’ll be comparing results with your peers for weeks to come. You’ll look at what has been accomplished by a group of strangers in one weekend, and you’ll wonder what’s possible in your own business with your own teams in the next two weeks.
So, go register!. And if you are interested in sponsorship, please contact me at jim at jimvanfleet.com and reference CSW in your subject line.