Celebrating Lincoln’s thriving startup ecosystem, Techstars Startup Week kicks off today

This week marks a return to in-person events for Techstars Startup Week Lincoln, a free, five-day celebration that builds momentum and opportunity around entrepreneurship in Nebraska’s capital city. Startup week kicks off today and runs through Friday evening, featuring 18 events at various locations throughout Lincoln. (See the full schedule here.) “The thing this year…

Image courtesy of Lincoln Techstars Startup Week.
Image courtesy of Lincoln Techstars Startup Week.

This week marks a return to in-person events for Techstars Startup Week Lincoln, a free, five-day celebration that builds momentum and opportunity around entrepreneurship in Nebraska’s capital city. Startup week kicks off today and runs through Friday evening, featuring 18 events at various locations throughout Lincoln. (See the full schedule here.)

“The thing this year that we’re really trying to accomplish is to bring people together and celebrate what’s happening in the startup ecosystem,” said Christina Oldfather, director of innovation and entrepreneurship for the Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development, a public-private partnership charged with fulfilling Lincoln’s economic development goals of job growth and business expansion.

Oldfather said the unifying thread of this year’s Techstars Startup Week Lincoln is to provide a place for people to gather in-person again while sprinkling that with some more niche opportunities for people to engage in entrepreneurial education.

Events include a Startup 101 event, a session by career coach Sarah Collins on how to leverage your strengths to achieve your goals, and a panel discussion moderated by Matt Foley, program director for The Combine agtech incubator, on what investors expect when they look to fund an emerging startup.

A particularly novel highlight of Techstars Startup Week Lincoln is Friday night’s concluding event: a Cowboys vs. Aliens-themed martini competition at Turbine Flats, one of Lincoln’s more prominent coworking spaces that aims to cultivate “a robust, self-sustaining, collaborative environment for small and start-up businesses to bring their products and ideas to market,” according to the organization’s website. 

Billed as a private “fun-raising” event, the Cowboys vs. Aliens martini competition will allow attendees to sample a smorgasbord of original concoctions mixed by tenants of Turbine Flats, all while raising money for MakeShift, a nonprofit, community-operated makerspace where people with a shared interest in science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM) can connect and collaborate.

Organizers have once again designed the week to include a mix of events that appeal to attendees no matter what stage of the startup game they are in, from aspiring founders to serial entrepreneurs and investors. 

People uncomfortable with attending live events can still tune in for some virtual opportunities, Oldfather said. Details on those can be found here.

Ultimately, Techstars Startup Week Lincoln strives to create ideal opportunities for the kinds of networking and fortuitous collaborations that may lead to new businesses and a stronger local startup ecosystem.

“It’s still a pandemic, but (we’re) coming out of it and trying to give people an opportunity to have those important collisions once again,” Oldfather said.

Sponsors of Techstars Startup Week Lincoln include the Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development, Turbine Flats, FUSE Coworking, Nebraska Innovation Campus, Monolith and more. A full list of sponsors can be found at the Techstars Startup Week Lincoln website.

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