Why Your Next Adventure Should Be This City On The Rise

Attending a Techstars Unsummit in Tucson will give you a glimpse into a diverse community on the rise, a place that has been around for thousands of years and is still reinventing itself and defining the ecology of our startup environment. We’ll discuss the process of being built in real time, tips and tricks for building a startup ecosystem, and an opportunity to share your own experiences with this budding community.

As creative and entrepreneurial people, we’re in the weeds. But as businessman and media mogul Gary Vaynerchuk would say, we have to be in the clouds as well as in the dirt. The Tucson Unsummit is designed around helping you zoom back out to 30,000 feet, relax and rejuvenate while taking in the sights, sounds, and smells of the American Southwest.

A lot of the weekend is up to you – if you could have a chance to take a deep breath, what are some things you would want to talk about with entrepreneurs and creatives from the region? What are some things you need to keep growing and scaling the initiatives you have going?

The other part of the weekend is up to us – not only do you as an individual and a company/initiative need to grow in the right direction, but you need a community around you that is thriving as well. That’s something we’re happy to share our struggles and successes with, so that you can go back to your community with a path for holistic organizational and community health.

And about the Southwest? We’re known as a City of Gastronomy, a creative cultural hub with miles of the best Mexican food you’ll ever have. We have professional party planners preparing to throw you a big dinner party on Saturday, tour guides ready to show you our city as an easel for murals and community art, a ride on our streetcar through our university and downtown to one of the oldest neighborhoods in all of the United States, and more.

But you don’t have to take our word for it. We’re one of the most affordable and friendly places in the country, so why not check it out for yourself?

There’s a lot we can learn from each other in 43 hours – are you in?!

Parking Information

Parking is limited so arrive early for best chances!!

Attendee Free Parking:
30 N 1st Street, Phoenix, AZ
Surface lot. Entrance is off 1st Street just South of Adams (North of Washington St). The entrance to this lot is directly South of Hanny’s restaurant. Ignore all the no-parking signs, this lot is reserved for The Department’s use. See attached Parking Lot Map

Can you really build a startup in 54 hours?

Absolutely! If you don’t believe it’s possible, then by all means join us and experience it for yourself. Bring those ideas that have been rolling in the back of your mind, or just come ready to roll up your sleeves and pitch in on another idea. The weekend moves swiftly and you will make incredible connections that will last a lifetime!

Just last month we convened for Startup Weekend Nogales, the first bi-national US/Mexico Startup Weekend event held Dec 1-3, 2017. The first place award went to team “What’s Guchi”, creators of a Facebook Messenger chatbot that helps you make ideal “going out” plans. This conversational agent uses a combination of AI and social media queries to recommend evening plans for users based on their preferences, friends, location, and mood. With this win in hand, the team plans to continue evolving the product and monetizing the platform with a creative approach to merchant sponsorship. Check it out at http://m.me/whatsguchi. The winning team is comprised of Arissa Gonzalez (TUC), Elijah Viramontes (PHX), Lauren Witte (PHX), Rebecca Clyde (PHX), Ruth Vela (PHX) and Saul Macias (Nogales).

Startup Weekend is a 54-hour event designed to provide superior experiential education for technical and non-technical entrepreneurs. Beginning with Friday night pitches and continuing through brainstorming, business plan development, and basic prototype creation, Startup Weekend culminates in Sunday night demos and presentations. Participants create working startups during the event and collaborate with like-minded individuals outside of their daily networks.

Make sure to get your early bird ticket for Startup Weekend PHX (Feb 16-18) before prices go up on Jan. 27.



5 Things to Know When You Come to Youth Startup Weekend

We want Youth Startup Weekend to be as impactful, educational and fun as possible! We believe that the first step to making that happen is to make sure you’re extra prepared before you even come in.

You don’t need to come with a business already created. 

In fact, you’re not allowed to! Come with an idea of a problem you’d like to solve, how you might solve it and the type of team you would need to do this! Our facilitator walks you through the ideation phase and pitching process, so no prep work is necessary!

There are some really awesome mentors, talk to them!

We will have mentors walking around throughout the entire event. They are entrepreneurs, small business owners, and team members from huge companies! Expect to chat with industry experts from companies like Uber, GoDaddy, Nextiva, and so many more!! If you want to bring questions to ask them, do it. These mentors are here to help you both over the weekend and with your future entrepreneurial endeavors.

The best team isn’t always a team of your friends

We can’t stress this one enough. We’ve seen teams form because they’re best friends, but they aren’t all interested in putting in the hard work or passionate about the business. Make sure that you form a team that seems to get along and each team member can contribute something unique.

We use scrum boards for efficiency 

They look like this ^. We have them formatted for you and ready to go, but these help mentors know what’s going on. We’ll show you how to use them at the event.

It’s not about winning

THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART, SO LISTEN CLOSE. This event is not about winning. It’s about taking an idea and creating something from it. It’s about doing that rapidly, managing your time well, and getting to know some awesome fellow entrepreneurs in the process. Come with that mindset and you’ll move mountains.

What to Expect as a Mentor to Students

If this is your first Youth Startup Weekend as a mentor, you might be wondering how the structure works and what the role expectations are when you’re here!

Rest easy, dear friends, because here we are with a brief guide on what to expect, tips on being an impactful mentor and an overview of what the weekend entails.

Before we get down to the nitty gritty, I’d like you to envision an adult that had a significant impact on your childhood, an idol or someone who simply inspired you along the road to where you are now. Your role, at its very core, is to channel that person and be that for these students. On top of having an understanding of the startup world and your selected area of expertise, you are a “grown-up” that is showing them that they matter simply by showing up. Showing them you believe in them with your attendance speaks volumes. So… go you!

The Schedule

If you refer to the event schedule, you will have a great overview of what will be going on. So I’ll simply be delving into what to expect during that schedule.


  • Students are meeting each other, and participating in a rapid- fire pitch session. They are asked to come with no pre-existing businesses (in fact there are rules in place that they are not allowed to come with something already created). They present a problem they see, a suggested solution and the type of team they need.
  • Students vote with sticky notes for the top 10 ideas (number changes based on head count… max team size is 7). Mentors are asked to circulate the room, ask questions and help assist in forming the team. Make sure the teams aren’t forming because they’re all friends, but because they can work together. 
  • Teams are solidified, and everyone goes home!


This is mostly a heads- down day. We are getting team tshirts donated from Brand X, so the teams are asked to create a company logo before working on anything else so we can send the logos over and get everything printed before their final presentations. Deadline is 11am.

  • Mentors meet before the students come in to go over the existing teams.
  • When students show up, we do a quick and easy tutorial on how to utilize scrum boards. The purpose of these are not only to keep the students on track and organized, but to let mentors know what they are working on and how they might be able to help
  • In the afternoon there is a new round of mentors that comes in, and there is a mentor huddle where mentors can speak to what their team might need and help figure out who else can come in and assist
  • **It’s important to note that one of the most helpful things to do while mentoring is try to stick with your team for a good chunk of your time. This helps build trust, and they typically will ask for more guidance when they feel comfortable with you. We don’t place mentors with teams, but feel free to circulate and find the right fit.


  • Mentors help with refining the business model and helping them with their pitches
  • Some students were finished a bit early, but it was really easy to tell who had spent a good chunk of time practicing and who didn’t. This time around I encourage mentors to help not only with the practicing but to give some practice judge questions!
  • Students pitch to the judges, ultimately there is one prize!

How to be an Impactful Mentor

  • Don’t tell your team what to do or take control. Yeah, that’s super hard when you know the ‘right’ answer but this is their time to explore different options
  • Use intentional question- asking to lead them to conclusions. If they ask you what to do, try leading them to an answer through questions. They should be solving problems and using you as a resource, not getting all of the answer from you
  • These students are bright and wildly intelligent and they’re entrepreneurs right now! Talk to them like adults, not 5-year-olds
  • That said, don’t be a jerk and crush dreams.
  • Look at scrum boards, ask how the teams are doing and listen. “We’re great” is the answer all of us feel naturally inclined to give. Understand that through direct and pointed questions you can get somewhere
  • Ask the other mentors in the group how you can help

Hard and fast rule

  • You cannot, at any point in time, hang out alone with a student. Not for an interview, podcast, photo op, or 1on1 discussion. There are huge issues with that and we’ll all (including you) be in a WORLD of trouble. They’re wicked smart, but still youth.
  • Never ever utter the words “that isn’t possible.” Ever. Never.
  • Never.
  • Not even once.

We are SO excited to have you as a mentor, and can’t wait for you to see these future change-makers and feel the amazing sigh of relief that our future is resting in some remarkably compassionate, intelligent hands.

“You have to love problem solving!”

Being a developer is an awesome challenge and being the developer on a startup team allows you to experience all sorts of new challenges as you build your business! We asked Sahil Saini, founder of AKOS about his life as a developer and what encouragement he would give to people just starting out.

The Creative Life!

There are many roles to play on a startup team! Design plays a key role in the life of a business, and the amazing, talented founder of Attic Salt Rani Sweis talks about his life as a designer and brand specialist.

Tips on Teambuilding!

Earnest Sears Jr., founder of SOS Consulting, shares with us some tips and tricks to building the most effective, most amazing team ever! Bringing together a strong team is part of what makes Youth StartUp Weekend an awesome experience!

Ready to be Awesome?



Welcome to the first Phoenix Youth Startup Weekend! We wanted to get things started and give you some resources, some fun activities and most of all, get you excited for this awesome event!

Before we start, we want to introduce ourselves: We’re the CO+HOOTS Foundation! We work out of and with a coworking space in Midtown Phoenix called CO+HOOTS. Our mission is to CO+Work, CO+Build and CO+Change the World by engaging the creative power of entrepreneurs, start-ups and small business owners. We believe that harnessing the power of risk takers and dreamers leads to innovation and overall awesomeness!

CO+HOOTS started in 2010 when our founder, Jenny Poon, discovered that developing her graphic design business from home was lonely work. She came together with a handful of other big thinkers and one of the top coworking spaces in the United States was born! Over the last 6 years, CO+HOOTS has done some wonderful things… including starting the CO+HOOTS Foundation in 2004 to connect the members of the coworking space with the community around them!

The CO+HOOTS Foundation has done everything from hosting the largest Code Day in the nation to implementing a pro bono week in the City of Phoenix to starting the most individualized women’s business scaling program around. We find out what our members excel at and connect them with our community!

On August 26th-28th we are once again making an impact for good in our city and bringing Youth Startup Weekend to Phoenix! For more information or to get involved see our event site or contact the Foundation Director, Meg Taylor at 602-688-2825.

Now go be awesome!

What's in it for the Winner at Tempe Startup Weekend?

Startup Weekend is awesome enough on its own, but we’re making it even more awesome!  There are two potential ways to win during this exciting Startup event. First, the organizers and primary sponsors, M2 Group, are actively looking to incubate and grow a communications based startup.  Second, the winner of the pitch-off will get help and assistance to keep their startup going, from office infrastructure and business planning assistance.

So, what is a communications app and what kind of incubation might be had? Communications technology just gets human information from one place to another using technology. So, you might be working on a Twilio app or chat or a VoIP system. If we find the right startup, you could get office infrastructure, business support, possible funding, and most importantly a sales team to help you get this to market!

But you’re not building a communications app? No problem! We don’t care if your startup idea is a new skateboard or audio device…just get it started! The winner of the pitch-off event on Sunday will receive virtual office services and business planning assistance for a year! You’ll have a place to continue working as a team and the advice from successful entrepreneurs to help you along the way.

So, think you have the next big idea? Come on out and launch your startup!