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LAS CRUCES — It’s billed as 54 hours of intense training for entrepreneurs and, if you are up for the marathon, there is a chance it could launch a career.

Las Cruces is among three cities taking part in New Mexico’s Statewide Startup Weekend, which begins Friday and runs through Sunday night. This year, the third year Las Cruces has participated along wtih Albuquerque and Santa Fe, marks a change from previous years as experts from around the state and country use technology to share information among all three cities simultaneously. The event will connect all three cities, with sessions to be held at the Santa Fe Business Incubator in Santa Fe; Fat Pipe, Eipcenter & ABQid in Albuquerque; and Arrowhead Center on New Mexico State University’s campus in Las Cruces.

“Unique this year is New Mexico will be the first and only integrated statewide startup weekend,” said Zetdi Sloan, director of the technology incubator at the NMSU Arrowhead Center.

Sloan said collaboration between speakers at the three statewide events and the use of technology will bring an opportunity for all participants to benefit from the shared knowledge of the speakers presenting this weekend.

“The keynote speaker will be in northern New Mexico and webcast to all participants across the state,” Sloan said. “Santa Fe, Albuquerque, we’ll have some other guest speakers over the course of the weekend.”

Participants will begin Friday evening with brainstorming sessions to pitch ideas for development. Through a voting process, top candidates will be selected and teams formed to develop a business plan and pitch it.

The top project for each city will be selected Sunday night and will immediately go before a panel of judges. The winner will receive $2,000 in development assistance from the state’s Economic Development Department.

Zetdi Sloan