Guest Post by Adam Klein, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Durham Chamber
The idea for the Bull City Startup Stampede came during a conversation with Preation founder and iContact co-founder, Aaron Houghton. We were talking about how the startup scene in downtown Durham is thriving and that we'd love to expose more entrepreneurs to this environment. That's when Aaron started talking about a wacky sort of spectacle geared at giving Triangle-based startups a first-hand experience of Durham...from there we launched the Startup Stampede.
The Stampede is really an event, not a program or initiative. Its 60 days of free space starting April 1and running until May 31. We're offering startups a chance to launch their business from downtown Durham free of charge. We're covering parking, office furniture and office space. We've also secured the state's fastest wi-fi connection, just for the Stampede.
The programming for the event will be light but we are planning to bring in some very successful Durham entrepreneurs each week to talk with the Stampede participants about the ups and downs of launching a company. We're working with Downtown Durham, Inc., CED, Bull City Forward, Launchbox Digital and Joystick Labs to get the programming right and make sure the entrepreneurs get the help and connections they need during the 60 days.
Interested entrepreneurs can get more information about the Stampede and apply online at www.startupstampede.com or follow us @startupstampede. We have room in the space for about a dozen companies. Applications are due March 11 and selected participants will be notified by March 18. We do not have a specific industry focus but are mostly interested in the background of the founder/team, the market opportunity and the scalability of the concept.
There are over 50 startups in downtown Durham alone, employing over 500 people. This is an incredible place to launch a company and we want to make it as easy as possible for people to be here. Already, we're getting great feedback on the Stampede and hope it will be a place that helps launch several future all-star companies.