University of Idaho Pitch Clinic – Get a Head Start on the next Startup Weekend Spokane

University of Idaho Pitch Clinic

Choose ONE session: October 13 – October 17, 2014, Monday through Friday, 6:00-8:00

  • Develop your business idea using the Lean Canvas method
  • Learn how to PITCH YOUR IDEA for a product or service
  • Get FEEDBACK from some pros
  • Meet other ENTREPRENEURS
  • Win a ticket to Startup Weekend Spokane

What is an Elevator Pitch?

An “elevator pitch” is an overview of an idea for a product or service. The name reflects the fact that an elevator pitch should be possible to deliver in the time span of an elevator ride.

Why should I participate?

You will gain excellent feedback on your ability to pitch from a team of judges who are business leaders and entrepreneurs in their own right.

Reserve your spot now, it’s FREE!

Light refreshments provided

Sponsored by University of Idaho Coeur d’Alene


Meet the pros:


George Tanner – Monday, October 13 & Wednesday, October 15

George Tanner is an instructor in entrepreneurship, in the College of Business & Economics, at the University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho. George is the faculty advisor for Vandal Solutions, a not for profit student run business that is offered as an upper level course at the University of Idaho College of Business and Economics. It is designed to allow students to use the skills and concepts they have learned and apply them in sustaining a real business.

Marsh Cochran Sutherland – Tuesday, October 14 and Thursday, October 16, 2014

Marsh Cochran Sutherland is a Spokane native and serial tech entrepreneur who launched 4 startups in Boston. He brought Startup Weekend to Spokane with Brett Noyes in 2012, is a former Angel Hack Boston Organizer, Startup Weekend Providence co-organizer, and a judge for both Mass Hack hackathons and Princeton Alumni startup pitch competitions.

Karen Thurston – Friday, October 17, 2014

Karen Thurston launched an Internet startup in 1999 with her then 15-year-
old son, ran a software and consulting company for over a decade, and has worked as a software developer, analyst, and project/product manager for international corporations, public utilities, and telecommunications companies. She was formerly an adjunct professor of computer science at California State University, Sacramento. In her current position with the University of Idaho, Coeur d’Alene Center, she focuses her efforts on developing the technology industry in our region which stretches west to the Cascades, east to the Bitterroots, and south to the Idaho and Washington borders.

View the Pitch Clinic Flyer 


Community Spotlight : Bellevue Chamber

We are happy to add the Bellevue Chamber as a partner for Startup Weekend Bellevue this year!

An investment in the Bellevue Chamber is a simple, inexpensive way for you to increase your local visibility and marketing efforts to develop business relationships that produce more opportunities and sales.

The Bellevue Chamber provides members with a variety of resources, including cost-saving programs to help their bottom line, print and web visibility and a robust event calendar to build new business relationships and cultivate existing ones.

Shop Local
Visit the member directory to find goods and services and make connections to help grow your business.

The Bellevue Chamber researches, lobbies and routinely discusses key issues with local and regional government, elected officials and the media to keep people up to date on issues of importance pertaining to your business and the community.

3 Lessons for Startup Weekenders

Valentina Ferrari

“This past weekend I participated in my fourth Startup Weekend. For those who don’t know, Startup Weekends are 54-hour events that bring together business people, engineers, and designers who have never met each other before to create a startup with a minimum viable product. My team and I designed a platform that provides personalized makeup advice and products. Here are a few of the lessons I learned.”

Read Valentina Ferrari’s 3 takeaways and a cool hack on how to peel Post-it notes properly on the Blink UX blog.

Could Seattle’s 'Africatown' be the next Motown?

(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

As a millennial that grew up in Detroit, its hard for me to imagine a time before Stevie Wonder, The Supremes, or Michael Jackson.

Berry Gordy’s frustration with pop culture pushed him to create one of the most successful African­-American owned and operated businesses in the U.S. He envisioned a world where the music he wrote didn’t just live on the local radio stations but would ride to the top of the pop charts. With an $800 loan from his family, Gordy founded Motown Records.

Photo: Domonique Meeks

As I look at the recent tech diversity workforce reports, I see data that reflects the current dominant tech culture. To be Black and be a part of the tech ecosystem means that you might have gone to a college or university where you were amongst the 3% who were Computer Science majors according to the Computer Research Association. Recent research also shows that weak ties in your social network might be more diverse than that of your White counterparts, and pattern matching by VC’s could prohibit you from getting funding for your new startup company.

Photo: Zithri Saleem

On January 12, 1959 in Detroit, after writing songs for other record labels, Berry Gordy must have at some point asked himself, “How might we create a place where African Americans can create pop hits and own their publishing?” Today, I ask the question, “How might we create fertile ground for the African American community in Seattle to grow with the city’s current tech boom?”

Motown was a place-based solution that provided training for songwriters, focus group events for performers to hone their sound, and physical space in the form of Hitsville, USA on West Grand Boulevard. Thanks to support from community leaders, engaged citizens, Startup Seattle,, and companies like Google, the Central District, an historically African American neighborhood, has “Hack the CD”. It is a collective of self determined social innovators reliant on the community for sustainable and equitable growth in the Central Area of Seattle, also known as Africatown.

Photo: Zithri Saleem

On August 25th – 29th, Hack the CD partnered with Coding Dojo to put on a Youth Coding Bootcamp at the C.A.Y.A (Central Area Youth Association). Over 30 African American students (10 – 15 years old) learned how to use HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, while making their own games like Pacman and Streetfighter.

Photo: David Harris

The students also had a pitch workshop from public speaking professional, Toyia Taylor of Ten of the students received a Coding Dojo Junior Green Belt which shows their exceptional level of mastery.

Games are usually a big hit with kids. In May, two Middle Schoolers took first place at the University of Washington Startup Weekend with their game that teaches kids to code. It is important that this generation learn to be creators and not just consumers of technology. Nielsen’s Diverse Intelligence Insights show that 73% of Whites and 67% of Hispanics believe Blacks influence mainstream culture.

Photo: Zithri Saleem

As the Central District community of thinkers, hackers, and makers grows, they’ll need events to apply their knowledge and skills. Hack the CD is organizing the Central District Startup Weekend hackathon event on September 26 – 28. During this weekend, Garfield High School will open its doors to a 54 hour entrepreneurial jam session with software developers, designers, entrepreneurs, and creatives young and old. No high school or college degree will be necessary to pitch an idea, form a team, and build a venture. There will be coaches covering a wide range of fields from community organizing to growth hacking. They’ll have an after party following the demo of the new products, in honor of the local pioneers that came before, like Manuel Lopes, Quincy Jones and Jimi Hendrix.

“Imagine a place where people of one community share resources. Imagine life without competition and instead replaced with collaboration. Imagine a collective society. Imagine our very own Central District possessing these qualities; building each other up instead of dragging one another down. Wouldn’t that be some place? Who wouldn’t yearn to live in that world?”
– Addisalem Gebremedhin and Solomon Welderfael via Central District News

Photo: Zithri Saleem

What if there are more coding bootcamps and hackathons in our neighborhood? What if the young coders built apps for local businesses? It gives me goosebumps when I close my eyes and imagine what an “Africatown Innovation District” could look like in just the next five years if the teams that start businesses at the Central District Startup Weekend continue to collaborate.

An Innovation District is what the Brookings Institute defines as a synergistic relationship between people of a community, anchor businesses and the built environment that facilitates idea generation, but also spurs productive, inclusive and sustainable economic development.

Publicity photo of Motown records founder Berry Gordy posing outside "Hitsville USA" in Detroit
Motown records founder Berry Gordy poses outside “Hitsville USA” circa 1960 (Reuters)

Just like Motown had Hitsville, Africatown will need physical space that not only incubates social innovation but communicates collaboration. In her book, “Weaving a Tapestry of Resistance,” Sharon Sutton, the first African American woman in the United States to be promoted to full professor of architecture, says that the physical environment can be understood as a system of three-dimensional, hieroglyphic symbols – a text that conveys information about the social, political, economic, and cultural relations of a society. What will our environment read?


Instacart offer for Pitch Karaoke attendees!



We’re excited to share an evening of laughs and learning with you all. Pitch Karaoke will be the first public event at UP Global’s new HQ at Startup Hall on the University of Washington campus.

Instacart is a grocery delivery service that delivers in as little as an hour! It connects you with Personal Shoppers in your area who pick up and deliver your groceries from your favorite local stores.

Promo codes will be distributed at the event.

Thanks Instacart and to our additional community partners in HaikuDeck and 3M Post-It.

Seattle Pitch Karaoke… What is it anyway?

August 28th marks the 2nd Startup Weekend Bootcamp that Seattle has hosted this year and we’re hoping to make it something really special.

BattleDecks (aka PowerPoint Karaoke) is “an improvisational activity in which a participant must deliver a presentation based on a set of slides that they have never seen before.” (Wikipedia-official definition y’all)

As far as we can tell, in Seattle, this has only been done once before by Creative Mornings which was both 1) a blast and 2) a learning experience.

As part of the Seattle Startup Community, we at UP Global HQ are excited to resurrect this nifty activity with our own little twist.

1) We’re gonna make it all about pitching startups!

2) We’re gonna do it at night, over drinks!

3) We’re gonna learn something!

Behold, PITCH KARAOKE! An untraditional take on pitch prep featuring 6 mystery pitch-decks, 6 unprepared pitchers, laughs, learning, and beer.

Pitch Karaoke seeks to support anyone interested in startups and entrepreneurship by:
– helping people overcome public speaking fears
– educating the community on the critical elements of a 5 minute pitch presentation
– pushing future entrepreneurs to be comfortable with the concept of failure
– bringing together the Seattle startup community in a humorous yet relevant environment

The Format:
6 mystery slide decks will be created to showcase 6 imaginary startups.On the day of the event, volunteers from the crowd will be asked to pitch these startups in front of Seattle’s welcoming, friendly, and HUMBLE entrepreneur community. 😉

The Caveat?
– They will NOT see the slides in advance of their presentation.
– They will NOT be told the outline of critical presentation elements.
– The startups will be imaginary. They do not exist in real life… yet.
– Presentations are Ignite-style: 5 minutes total – 20 slides auto-advancing every 20 seconds.

At the conclusion of the pitches, the audience & pitchers will gather to discuss the critical elements of a good pitch and to recap highlights from the evening.

Check out this sample of what’s to come:

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Hope to see you there!