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UMW Business Club sees success at Startup Weekend

A group of four University of Montana Western students from the Business Club traveled to Billings this past weekend, January 23-25, to attend Startup Weekend.

Startup Weekend is an international non-profit entrepreneurial event held all over the world. Originally started in 2007, there have now been over 100,000 attendees since then. The goal is simple: pitch an idea on a Friday, build a team and you have 54 hours to create a business by Sunday.

The group of four UMW students included Chris Casties, Vance Fulkerson, Jacob Vaccaro and Shayla Wood. All four students were on three separate teams that ended up making it to the top three places in the competition out of seven original teams.

Judges included the CEO of Red Oxx Jim Markel and featured prizes in excess of $5,000.

When asked if they would attend the next upcoming events, the four attendees didn't hesitate to say yes and are already excited for the next ones. They also had the opportunity to interact with a group of coaches throughout the weekend with varying backgrounds from marketers, lawyers, and business owners.

The event was held at Rocky Mountain College. The UMW students who attended were able to meet their student counterparts as well as local attendees and they plan on partnering with the RMC business club for events in the future.

Over 35 people attended the event with representatives from the Governor's Office of Economic Development, Small Business Development Center, and Big Sky Economic Development attending as well.

"After having been to three Startup Weekends prior to this one, I have to say that it is a once in a lifetime opportunity where you can experience the thrill of creating a business in one weekend, and I definitely plan on taking the club to more events like this," said Casties.

The UMW Business Club will be also going to the Startup Weekends in Great Falls on May 15-17 as well as in Bozeman on April 17-19.