It’s not often you can say you were at an event with participants from every continent who all believed in building a community of entrepreneurship. Up Global hosted their annual Up Summit, this time in Las Vegas’s revitalized downtown community. I was invited as part of the Startup Education team, being invovled as a mentor and organizer for Startup Weekend Education in Orlando. It was a great opportunity to get a larger picture of the entire Up Global team, including Startup Weekend, Startup Education, Startup Digest, and Startup Next.
Many of these global visitors have never been to Las Vegas and for some it might have been their first time in the United States. It was my first time staying in Downtown Las Vegas, actually off the strip. You might be thinking Fredmont Street, Golden Nugget, and the old school casinos with penny slots, which all still exists. Look beyond those norms for the Downtown Project in Downtown Las Vegas has committed to helping transform it into the most community-focused large city in the world; with entrepreneurship, co-working spaces, learning village, art projects thriving, and amazing container park.
Kicking off the opening in the hot Las Vegas sun was Marc Nager, President and CEO of UP Global. Nager shared his vision for Up Global and the amazing awesomeness of all the volunteer organizers, facilitators, and Up Global’s 60+ staff that has help transform the startup communities around the globe.
Sharing the amazing impact Up Global’s various ecosystem have had on the world and spiriting entrepreneurship help continue to build energy around these topics.
After a hot and inspirational kickoff to Up Summit it was time to checkout a few things around Downtown Las Vegas, such as a Telsa parked at Work in Progress co-working space. After that it was time get together to feast with your region at a few of the local food trucks in Las Vegas.
Conference activities were dubbed “learning experiences” and “fun experiences” — the former being motivational, sharing sessions, and how-to talks, and the latter being excursions such as indoor skydiving or a trip to the Hoover Dam.
Many of the learning experiences were held in the learning village in Downtown Las Vegas. This is a space provide for meeting and learning by The Downtown Project. I attend the opening night campfire that was divide by country (regions), which as a great place to share our experiences both good and bad in our communities. It always amazing to learn what others are doing and being able to share what really works well with your community.
Two of the learning experience I attended the next morning centered around corporate innovation and sponsors. It was great to hear how corporate innovation has help spur creative problem solving and collaboration with Startup Weekend events at corporation such as Coca Cola and Sprint. I believe it would be great to see Orlando based corporations and educational institutions to try this model.
Next was a session on sponsors. Two main questions: What do we want from sponsors? How can we help them?
Startup Weekend sponsors should be move involved than providing funding, location, swag, and in-kind gifts (those are very important). Helping by bring mentors, being a judge, promoting the event to their community and employees, helping teams beyond the weekend, social media attention, connection to other possible sponsors, and continued long term partnerships.
Startup Education communities leader were able to meet to learn from each other. We shared issues in our communities, how we could keep educators involved beyond the weekend with Meetups, Boot Camps, and social media groups.
It was amazing to hear how much Startup Weekend Education (SWEDU) has grown globally in the last few years. We are hosting our third SWEDU event in Orlando on July 11-13 #SWORLEDU. We have been one of the early communities to host SWEDU events but now it’s predicts over 50 will happen this year. Compared to about 13 or fewer in past years.
Startup Education, which houses Startup Weekend Education will be expanding it’s programming and resources for education entrepreneurs.
Just a few examples (I’m sure I’ll share more details later):
- Themed Events – Higher Education, K12, and many more
- Sponsored Challenges – Solving a certain problem in education
- Boot Camps – 2-3 hour events to help education entrepreneurs learn something new to help them.
- Resource Hubs – Place to get information, support, and resources.
- Meetups – Continued sharing, networking, and learning beyond SWEDU.
- Summits – Gathering of educational startup leaders to share, network, and have fun.
I can’t wait to hear more about these initiatives and be a part of the future of Startup Education.
Meeting people from Brazil to Spain to Australia to Japan each had a unique community with many of the same issues. Networking, connecting, and sharing was a huge part of Up Summit and probably the best takeaway.
One of the “fun experiences” I decided on participating in was the tour of the Hoover Dam. Usually when visiting Las Vegas, I’m on the strip for a conference and don’t get to leave the main parts of Vegas. This was a chance to check out a little of American history.
It’s very important to focus on celebrating, learning, networking, and having fun at conferences. Up Summit did a great job of this! Thanks for the invite and hopefully will be back next year for another adventure.
A quick video showcasing all the learning, networking, and fun has at Up Summit Las Vegas.