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KEYT: "Start Up Weekend Aims to Jump Start New Business"

Entrepreneurs from across the state, are hoping to breathe new life into the stagnant economy. Some of California’s greatest minds are spending the weekend in Santa Barbara, hoping to teach–and learn–from each other.And ultimately, to jump start new business in the technology and green sectors.Entrepreneurs met last night to pitch their ideas. Participants picked their favorites, and teamed up to develop the business models, which will be judged at the end of the event.

If it sounds familiar, organizers say, it’s similar to a popular TV show, but with a twist.

“This is sort of like ‘Shark Tank’ for entrepreneurs but everybody wins, because everyone who comes here to pitch ideas, whether chosen or not, everybody gets to participate on teams that are moving forward. So, everyone benefits,” explains architect and entrepreneur, Michael Holliday.

“Start up Weekend” is part of a three-year-old global organization. It brings together entrepreneurs, technology start-up enthusiasts and venture capitalists, in hopes of creating new jobs.

More than 100 people showed up for the first ever event in Santa Barbara. Each pitched an idea. 54 were chosen.

Participants have less than 60 hours to complete a start-up prototype.

“The opportunity to network and meet other people outside the business world without economic restraints, we’re free to be creative,” raves design professional, Mitra Cline.

The groups will pitch their business models Sunday night. A panel of judges will choose the top ideas. But organizers, like Kyle Ashby, say the real goal is to launch new business in the Santa Barbara community.

“Its fantastic to see all this happen in Santa Barbara. Hopefully teams will stay around and do business and engage and work in the community.”

Holliday adds, “Santa Barbara has been described as a ‘tech-topia,’ the ultimate place in the country, or the world, to start and grow a high tech business.”

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