People: We’re a week out from the BendTECH unConference and I wanted to make sure you all are aware of some of the new additions and changes to this year’s event, which is a fun and fast pitchfest for entrepreneurs and startup founders. First and foremost, thanks to our amazing sponsors — Kollective, City of Bend, Associated Technologies Council and 1001 Tech Space — we are offering cash and other prizes to the winning pitches.

If you pitch, you could win:

  • First prize: $2,500
  • Second prize: $1,500
  • Third prize: Community desk membership at BendTECH

The idea is offer a little boost to entrepreneurs, to help them take their idea to the next level, whatever that may be (website launch, hire a contractor, make a prototype, rent an office, take some time off work to work on your business, and what have you). You might recall that in the past, the unConference winner has earned a spot on the BVC early stage. We are not offering that this year.

We’ll also be raffling off some fun stuff for the audience throughout the event including a Cairn box plus three month subscription and a ticket to the BVC networking night at Broken Top.

A few last items of note. We have 15 pitch spots. They remain first come, first serve. We’ll let people put their names on the board starting at 2 p.m. on the dot. We’ll take sign ups until the board is full. Do you have to get there early? Maybe. Last year, people showed up about an hour prior to stake out their spot in line. Other things: The winners are determined by audience vote. This year we have a new electronic (actually online) voting system and we’re pumped about it. Sometimes people have grumbled about the winners stacking the room with their friends. As an organizer of the unConference, I say: That seems smart. If you want to win and your business idea is good enough that you can convince several people you know to come and vote for you, then good work.

You can find out more about the unConference here. Not pitching? Come and drink free beer and cheer on intrepid entrepreneurs and meet new friends, get inspired and you know, live your best life. Also free cowbells. Because nothing goes with inspiring startup pitches better than some cowbell. Except for … more cowbell.

Here’s the details:

Tuesday Oct. 17
1001 Tech Center
2 p.m. sign up for pitching
2:30 pitches start
4:30 winners announced (or maybe a bit before or after, depending on how much we have our act together)

via GIPHY Is this you? #winning? Better come pitch!