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Registration open for the Virtual 2020 Techstars Startup Week in Dayton

By Audrey Ingram

In its fifth year, the free, annual, week-long, entrepreneur-led, community-focused conference brings together the Dayton region’s entrepreneurs and small business owners in a virtual setting. Individuals from all experiences are welcome, from seasoned entrepreneurs to new community members: There is space for everyone to join in.

“We’re excited to bring Startup Week back for a fifth year and while we’re disappointed we can’t see everyone in person this year, we hope this pivot to a virtual event will allow more people to tap into the expertise and energy in Dayton’s startup community,” said John Owen, Wright State Applied Research Corporation program manager and lead organizer for Techstars Startup Week Dayton.

On Monday and Tuesday, Sept. 21-22, Startup Week Dayton will bring the community together around inspirational local founders who offer applicable advice for various industries.

High-level speakers who will grace the virtual main stage include:

  • Marty Grunder, founder of Grunder Landscaping

  • Kala Gibson, executive vice president and head of business banking at Fifth Third Bank and board chair of MORTAR

  • Jerricha Hoskins, founder of the million-dollar hair care line Arcani Coil Care

  • Robin Gentry-McGee, the Functional Formularies founder who recently sold her medtech company

  • Erica McGeady, founder of EricaFitLove and trainer on The Biggest Loser

  • Lance Juhas, chief operating officer of Piada

  • Stephen Hightower, founder of Hightowers Petroleum Co.: one of the country’s largest fuel suppliers

Wednesday through Friday, attendees will be able to delve deeper into their own business needs with industry-specific tracks that include sessions on how to find funding and customers in the food and beverage, health / beauty / wellness products, medtech, materials and manufacturing and defense industries. Topics and speakers include:

  • In Health / Beauty / Wellness: “Holistic Branding: How to Stand Out in a Crowded Marketplace”

  • In Medtech: “Don’t Tell Me, Show Me: 12 Months of MedTech Deals”

  • In Food & Beverage: “The Rapid Fired, Hot Head Story” by founder Ray Wiley

  • In Defense: “A Look Forward at U.S. Air Force Research and Development Priorities” by Brig. Gen. Heather Pringle, Air Force Research Laboratory Cmrd.

  • In Materials & Manufacturing: “The State of Manufacturing in Ohio” by JobsOhio’s Glenn Richardson

Monday evening will wrap up with a social event featuring two local businesses. Snag a signature Startup Week cocktail from new avant-garde bar Tender Mercy and play Dayton startup trivia hosted by Liftoff Entertainment.

Tuesday evening will feature the annual Early Risers: Startup Week Pitch Competition. Ten startups across both tech and main street categories will compete for cash prizes. Apply to pitch by Sept. 8:

Throughout the evening, Launch Dayton will also present the first Launch Dayton Startup Storytelling Night in collaboration with LORE. Founders Anthony Head of The Chicken Spot and Vaniti Bryd of Baba Love Organics will take the virtual stage between pitches to share their launch stories.

“Winning the pitch competition during Startup Week Dayton was by far one of the most exciting milestones yet for Baba Love Organics,” said Byrd, who was one of the 2019 Early Risers: Startup Week Pitch Competition winners. “It was my first time to compete among other small business owners and share the Baba Love vision in front of so many guests.”

This year, Startup Week Dayton will also broadcast 30-second pre-recorded elevator pitches from attendees between sessions. Attendees can submit a 30-second recording introducing themselves and their business and sharing a need. Launch Dayton will share recordings to connect attendees to the community to help attendees move their companies forward. Submit here:

Techstars Startup Week Dayton 2020 is made possible through support from title sponsors Fifth Third Bank, The Entrepreneurs Center and WSARC. WSARC’s Launch Dayton efforts are supported by the Entrepreneurial Services Provider program administered locally by The Entrepreneurs Center.

Our entrepreneur and small business coverage is powered by Launch Dayton, an organization that seeks to connect entrepreneurs to peers, resources and supporters while telling the story of the region's thriving entrepreneurial community.

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