By Chaning Green, News Writer
This weekend Oxford is hosting Discovery Luncheon and Startup Weekend. <>
This is the third year that this event has been held in Oxford and is put on with a combination of efforts from Innovate Mississippi and Oxford’s Economic Development Foundation.
The Luncheon that is being held is something that Innovate Mississippi holds every month or every other month in Jackson. It is being held at the Oxford Conference Center before the kickoff of
Startup Weekend to make sure everyone has a chance to get acquainted with everyone participating.
Entrepreneurial Development Manager with Innovate Mississippi Tasha Bibb said that the Discover Luncheon provides participants with the opportunity to meet professionals that could be potentially beneficial to them and their business ideas.
Guest speakers at the luncheon are local entrepreneurs Garret Gray of Next Gear Solutions and Alex Ray of Zyn Careers.Around a thousand people signed up for the luncheon.
Startup Weekend is an international event sponsored by Google. The way it works is that people sign up and pay an entry fee. All of these people have something to offer in terms of starting a business. Some may be mobile application designers, marketers, financial managers, etc. Then there are people who have an original idea for a business.
The idea person presents their idea and people who feel like they have something to offer the business idea sign up and offer to work with the person with the idea. The idea person then chooses a team and things get started.
These individual teams have 54 hours, beginning Friday night and ending Sunday night, to come up with a functional business model, prototypes and anything else that can help prove their business idea to be a functional and potentially successful startup. The hope is that these groups will stay together and go on and from legitimate businesses. Teams are provided with meal breaks. Sleep seems to be optional.
Startup Weekend is being hosted at the University of Mississippi’s School of Business in Holoman Hall.
John Maynard is president and chief executive officer of the Oxford-Laffayette Chamber of Commerce and the Economic Development Foundation. He is thrilled with the idea of Startup Weekend and thinks it is a great way for people to get together and find what they need in order to get their small business off the ground while also contributing to the economic development of the city.
“The mission of this is to create more businesses in Oxford,” Maynard said. “Our biggest challenge at the Economic Development Foundation is to develop growth without changing the Charm that Oxford is so well know for. Yes, we recruit business from outside Oxford, and that helps supply us with more jobs, but we need to grow small business. We want to cultivate startups and entrepreneurs and be able to supply them money, skilled workers, locations and anything else they need to succeed. We want to grow Oxford without changing who we are as a town.”