The Texarkana Chamber of Commerce and the Texas A&M University-Texarkana College of Business have announced plans for the second annual Startup Weekend Texarkana.

This year's event will occur Friday through Sunday, April 21-23, in the University Center on the A&M-Texarkana campus.

Startup Weekend Texarkana is an event designed for entrepreneurs to meet, share ideas and launch new businesses. It is open to anyone with a great idea and the desire to make that idea a reality, according to an A&M-Texarkana news release.

"Startup Weekend is a global network of passionate leaders and entrepreneurs on a mission to inspire, educate and empower individuals, teams and communities,” said Dr. Gary Stading, dean of the College of Business at A&M-Texarkana.

“In just 54 hours, participants experience the highs, lows, fun and pressure that make up life at a startup. As they learn how to create a real company, they'll meet the mentors and sponsors who are ready to them get started.

The overall theme of Startup Weekend Texarkana is "All action. Launch a startup in 54 hours."

“This weekend will be an excellent first step in taking an idea and making it a reality.  Every great business started with an idea. Here is the chance to take the first step,” said Mike Malone, president and CEO of the Texarkana Chamber of Commerce.

"The College of Business at A&M-Texarkana is dedicated to helping to develop new businesses in the region,” Dr. Stading said. “For individuals with ideas who dream of starting their own businesses, this is a great opportunity to potentially put their ideas into motion.

”While many Startup Weekend attendees have technical, design or business interests and backgrounds, people with creative and artistic aptitudes are necessary also.

Everyone is welcome. Beginning with open-mic pitches on Friday, attendees bring their best ideas and inspire others to join their team. Over Saturday and Sunday, teams focus on customer development, validating their ideas, practicing startup methodologies and building a minimal viable product. On Sunday evening, teams demonstrate their prototypes and receive valuable feedback from a panel of experts.

On Friday evening, April 21, Dr. Emily Cutrer, university president, Dr. Stading and faculty from the College of Business will greet participants from 6:30-7PM with dinner, networking, pitches and voting throughout the evening.On Saturday, April 22, participants will work in teams from 9AM to 10PM to develop their ideas.

A volunteer team of coaches will be available throughout the weekend to provide assistance. On Sunday, April 23, the participants will again work all day and will present their business plans to a panel of judges.Participant presentations will be open to the public free of charge at 5 p.m. on Sunday, April 23. Judging and awards will take place at 7:30PM.

Participants must register for the event. Cost is $50; however, a student discount is available. Registration cost for all college students will be $25. Registration includes meals and meeting handouts.

For additional information and registration visit the Startup Weekend Texarkana website.

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