Today, the organizing team for Techstars Startup Weekend Arizona Online is announcing our decision to move the event’s date to October 23-25, 2020. We are also announcing a new scholarship program to support access by underrepresented and economically disadvantaged communities.
WHY WE MADE THIS CHANGE
Our decision came after being made aware that the final portion of the final day conflicted with the start of Yom Kippur, one of the Jewish faith’s most holy days. While making a date change leads to some disruption, keeping the date would have alienated an entire community within Arizona’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. And that would have undermined a key part of our mission in launching this event.
Arizona’s size and diversity means that our entrepreneurship and innovation (E&I) communities are often geographically and culturally siloed. For this reason, a key part of our mission for creating an online version of Startup Weekend Arizona was to help successfully catalyze the growth of a truly diverse and connected, state-wide E&I community.
DIVERSITY DRIVES ENTREPRENEURSHIP & INNOVATION
To be successful in that mission we need to establish a culture of both diversity and inclusion in the process we use to develop this event. We worked hard to recruit a diverse organizing team and a long list of 60+ outreach partners from all corners of the state.
But successful entrepreneurs know all too well that growth and mistakes usually exist in a virtuous cycle. In order to grow, we try new things, which leads to mistakes. If we embrace the mistakes, we grow. If we avoid recognizing the mistakes we will eventually fail.
Innovation is a naturally creative practice. Fostering a successful culture of innovation requires a community of people who explore new ideas by seeing the world in non-traditional ways.
This process of diversity, action, and learning-through-failure is at the heart of Startup Weekend Arizona culture and, most of all, of modern entrepreneurship and innovation.
NEW SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM
At the time we learned about our scheduling conflict, we were in the final stages of discussions with partners to launch a new scholarship program to provide full or partial scholarships to cover the cost of event registration fees.
Thanks to the support of event partners like Next Foundation, the University of Arizona’s College of Engineering and Eller College of Management, and the Arizona Regional Economic Development Foundation, we are accepting applications from anyone seeking support from underrepresented or economically disadvantaged communities, the unemployed or underemployed, or those simply unable to prioritize the event fees during this difficult time.
Please apply at this link:
We made a mistake by scheduling our event to overlap with part of Yom Kippur, and in doing so, excluded an underrepresented community. But the error has given us as a team (and as a community) another chance to reflect on the significance of these key elements to successful innovation and entrepreneurship communities. That is a wonderful side effect.
If you have any questions or are an organization interested in partnering on Startup Weekend Arizona Online or helping to expand our scholarship program for participants in your community, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
— The entire Startup Weekend Arizona Team