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facilitators, startup weekend, events, organizers, startup, business, entrepreneurThe following conversation with Thubten Comerford of Portland continues our Featured Facilitator Series.

How did you get involved with Startup Weekend?
“A friend invited me to participate in the Corvallis Startup Weekend the first weekend of December, 2009. I was on the winning team, SherpaDash, and had more fun than I’d had in a very long time.

I was invited to be a mentor at the March 2010 Startup Weekend in Portland, and had a great time advising teams on how to use Twitter, Facebook and WordPress to let the world know that teams’ projects existed. I then mentored at two April weekends in Seattle (Adobe and UW), and knew I’d found a new home.

Marc Nager asked me to facilitate the Startup Weekend in Boise in May, 2010, and I accepted. I’ve organized and facilitated two weekends in Portland, and have facilitated weekends in Olympia, Boise, Calgary, Omaha and Halifax, for a total of ten weekends thus far.”

How would you describe the impact Startup Weekend has had on your local entrepreneurial ecosystem?
“Startup Weekend has become a regular focal point for the whole startup community in Portland, giving it something to rally around on a regular basis, and allowing everyone to check in.

The local organizing team has their fingers in nearly every pot. Startup Weekend has become the hub of the local ecosystem in Portland.”

How do you see Startup Weekend Facilitators contributing to the growth & development of an entrepreneurial ecosystem?
“When facilitators travel outside of their home territory to facilitate weekends, they cross pollinate their networks, allowing for resources to be known by entrepreneurs in need.

I make sure that I connect with as many people as possible in every city I facilitate in, and then connect them to whatever resources they need, all across my networks.”

What words of advice would you give a first time Startup Weekend Organizer?
Relax. Follow the energy. Check in often with teams on their progress. Connect teams to resources during the weekend. Connect participants with resources after the weekend.

Is there anything fun or interesting you do at the events you facilitate? What makes you unique as a Startup Weekend Facilitator?
“As I have several large networks (113,000+ on Twitter, 27,000+ on LinkedIn, I offer every team and participant my entire rolodex to take their projects forward, both their Startup Weekend projects, and their other business projects.

I follow up with participants wherever possible, and when appropriate, I introduce teams to seed, angel and venture investors following the weekends I facilitate.”

Mitchell Cuevas
(@mcuevasm) I am the Sr. Marketing Director here at Techstars, am passionate about helping entrepreneurs, and am obsessed with finding, playing with, and implementing all the best new marketing (and other) technology I can get my hands on.