The Small Business Development Center is getting ready for Startup Weekend Roseburg, an annual competition that brings hopeful entrepreneurs through the process of turning ideas into new businesses.

“It’s the diverse ages and experiences of the participants that make Startup Weekend so great,” said Kemberly Todd, administrative and program specialist at the SBDC.

This year, SUW is slated for this Friday through Sunday at Umpqua Community College. Friday and Sunday night events will take place at the Danny Lang Event Center while the rest of the competition will be held at the Health, Nursing & Science Center.

As of Wednesday morning, 81 people were registered. Registration was open for those 15 and older until noon today.

“This event is really about the people,” Todd said. “You don’t just sit at a table and listen to the speakers and watch things go by, you are in it for the experience.”

She said she’s looking forward to reconnecting with Startup Weekend alumni who are coming back for another weekend of entrepreneurial competition.

During the 54 hours of Startup Weekend, participants will give a one-minute pitch in front of the judges. They will then form teams for each of the eight to 10 top business ideas, and work with coaches to start a business plan and prepare for Sunday night’s final pitch.

The winners will receive a grand prize, including resources, space at the Umpqua Business Center in Roseburg and consulting services from patent attorneys.

“We try to assist them on their way,” Startup Weekend Facilitator Brandon Cordell said.

Alan Aylor, UCC business instructor, will be one of the coaches helping the teams to drive their products and presentations in a way that will be acceptable to the judges.

“It’s to ask questions about where they are and try to guide their thinking. You don’t want to do the work for them, you want to help them do the work for themselves,” Aylor said of coaching.

“We’re also cheering on and supporting that creative process, that entrepreneurial spirit” Christina Wooten added.

Wooten, a corporate trainer for Wells Fargo Bank who’s starting her own coaching and consulting group, plans to help the participants hone their presentation skills and show how they’ve developed an idea into a business plan in 54 hours.

People do not need to come with an idea to pitch in order to participate in SUW.

Cordell has participated in five previous Startup Weekends, in which he came in first place once and second place twice.

He said the educational component is a significant part of SUW, as the competitors learn how to create business models and effective pitches.

“Each participant will have their certain skills and strengths, and it’s making sure they’re not forgetting a piece,” Cordell said.

The teams will also get a chance to conduct primary market research in Roseburg through receiving feedback from potential customers.

Though registration closed at noon today, people who would like to come out for the Sunday night pitches are still welcome to purchase a $25 Demo Day ticket. Along with the final pitches, Jennifer and Casey O’Toole of O’Toole’s Pub will talk about their own startup journey and bring growlers from the pub to the Sunday night event.

For more information and to purchase a Demo Day ticket, call 541-440-7824 or visit

Reporter Emily Hoard can be reached at 541-957-4217 or Or follow her on Twitter @hoard_emily.

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Outdoors and Natural Resources Reporter

Emily Hoard is the business, outdoors and natural resources reporter for The News-Review. She can be reached at 541-957-4217 or by email at Follow her on Twitter @hoard_emily.

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