Startup Weekend Encourages Entrepreneurs to Bring Ideas and Creativity

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Tuesday, February 4, 2020, 1:30 pm
Sarah Spohn

(Photos courtesy of Aaryn D. Richard / Burgess Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation)

Correction (1 p.m. Tuesday): The East Lansing Startup Weekend will take place at the Gaynor Entrepreneurship Lab, which is located on the lower level of the new Minskoff Pavilion, 651 N. Shaw Lane (west of Bogue Street, near the Eppley Center). Parking will be available at the Shaw Parking Structure. 

Calling all dreamers, doers, and thinkers! The Startup Weekend East Lansing takes place Friday through Sunday, Feb. 7-9, at the Gaynor Entrepreneurship Lab, 651 N. Shaw Lane. The event welcomes anyone who has an idea to pursue, or a problem to solve — looking for advice, guidance, teamwork assistance, and feedback from experienced entrepreneurs.

The weekend-long experience includes meals, one-on-one mentoring time, benefits and discounts from partners, and a network of business developers and product designers.

Burgess Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation Assistant Director Lori Fischer said the event has been held for 10 years, and is continually growing.

“The event has become so popular that for the past two years, we’ve been hosting two per year,” Fischer said.

The event welcomes anyone to attend, and join a team, even if they don’t necessarily have a specific idea or pitch for a product or business. For those who do have an idea, Startup Weekend is a chance to develop and test it, network with seasoned professionals, meet cool people, and enjoy lots of food from local restauranteurs.

“Approximately 20 community members act as mentors for our Startup Weekend participants,” Fischer said. “These mentors assist in guiding teams in areas of discovery, validation, financials, marketing, as well as business law.”

Many local thriving businesses have attended the workshops, and gotten their start in the greater Lansing area’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, thanks to Startup Weekend.

“We have a long history of partnering with sponsors, like the Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP), and their Proto Accelerator, Foster Swift, and the MSU Federal Credit Union,” Fischer said.

Starting a business can be daunting, overwhelming, and at times, can feel defeating. This event aims to make entrepreneurs feel less alone in the process.

“Startup Weekend energizes our entrepreneurial community,” Fischer said. “It also serves to connect attendees to a broader network of folks who are committed to helping people take their first steps and, ultimately, succeed.”

Though the event has a global reach, it’s the people in East Lansing that really set it apart, according to Fischer.

“Whether you’re a college freshman, or you’re starting your first year as a non-traditional student at Lansing Community College, or you’re a retiree curious about how to bring your idea to market – we’re here to help you bring your passion alive.”

Registration is open to the public, and sales ($86 for the entire weekend, including meals) are open until Friday, Feb. 7. MSU students can receive a discounted ticket by contacting Lori Fischer at

For more information, and to purchase tickets, visit the Startup Weekend East Lansing website.

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