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Startup Weekend delayed because of lack of participants

NATCHEZ — The think tank event meant to launch new businesses had to be postponed this weekend, but the ideas participants would have brought with them won’t have to be put in long-term filing.

Sponsored by the Kauffman Foundation and Innovate Mississippi, Startup Weekend Natchez would have been hosted locally by Alcorn State University and Natchez Inc.

Ruth Nichols, ASU’s vice president for educational and community partnerships, said the event was postponed by Innovate Mississippi and the Kaufman Foundation.

“They need 20 participants at least to make it worth it, and we were close but we didn’t have 20,” Nichols said. “We had a good group of people, but it just wasn’t enough to do all the activities they wanted to do.”

During Startup Weekend, small business startups are given advice on how to launch and sustain their business in what amounts to a business bootcamp. At the end of the weekend, the participants take their polished business plans and pitch them to investors.

Because a date for the postponed event has not been set yet, Nichols said those who wanted to participate in Startup Weekend would be allowed to participate in the next Entrepreneur Academy in January.

The Entrepreneur Academy — a local effort by ASU, Natchez Inc. and the Mississippi Development Authority — is a series of classes teaching participants how to develop a business plan, find funding, manage money once a business is started and how to market the business.

“Even though we weren’t able to have this weekend at this time, we don’t want those good ideas (for businesses) to go to waste,” Nichols said.