beaver_lockup 2013

Oregon State Athletics Emphasizing Collaboration And Entrepreneurial Thinking


beaver_logo 2013Oregon State Athletics is taking a new approach to student-athlete development by hosting its first Startup Weekend, an entrepreneurship event in which participants will collaborate to build potential business ventures.

The Oregon State Startup Weekend, May 10 – 12 at the Club Level of Reser Stadium in Corvallis, Ore., will be the first hosted by a collegiate athletics department. Registration is open and tickets are $25 until April 15 and include seven meals.

Startup Weekend, a nonprofit based in Seattle, Wash., is a global grassroots movement of active and empowered entrepreneurs who are learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures.

Each event is a 54-hour blast of problem solving. Participants pitch ideas for possible ventures and break into teams on Friday. Teams consist of whoever has the necessary skills to bring the idea to life. Everyone with any background participates.

Teams work on their idea until Sunday, when leadership and business professionals judge their work. Coaches are available to assist the participants throughout the weekend.

“This was too good to pass up,” said Akili King, managing director of the OSU Athletics Leadership Institute. “We’re trying to provide our student-athletes with more chances to hone the skills that make them well-rounded people. Hosting an open, non-athletic event that brings people together to collaborate seemed like a good place to start.”

The Leadership Institute, most notable for its Beavers Without Borders program, is advocating a collaborative approach to student-athlete development. Doing this means establishing programming and events that incorporate the entire OSU community – sports, academia and the vast pool of innovation residing in Corvallis.

“Yes, we definitely want student-athletes to jump into this,” said King. “But this is open to everyone. The university hadn’t hosted a Startup Weekend before, so we’re taking our mission and trying to get the wider community involved. It’s just as useful for everyone else as it is for anyone involved with athletics.”

Mike Riley, OSU’s head football coach, will be the opening speaker at Startup Weekend.

“This sounds like a really great opportunity for our athletes,” Riley said. “It’s so much about setting goals and executing, which everyone in athletics understands,” Riley said. “And getting them involved with the whole community to work together makes this even better. I’m looking forward to this.”

The Leadership Institute will consider future Startup Weekends both in Corvallis and in Portland following its inaugural event in May.

Early-bird registration closes April 15, 2013.