Calling all entrepreneurs, startup enthusiasts and people who like interesting things: Next week is your week. There’s a lot going on, and we wanted to offer some tips for not just surviving–but straight-up THRIVING–during the funnest week of the year. Pull out your calendar, because we’re digging in.

First up: unConference.
When: Tuesday, Oct. 17
2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
1001 Tech Center
1001 SW Emkay
What: Fun pitchfest. Totally free. Come pitch your business. Spots are first-come, first-serve. There’s 15. Win $2,500 or $1,500 or just enjoy a free beer and ring a cowbell. Crowd participation encouraged. Audience vote determines winner.
Pro tip: Last year, we filled all the pitch spots in a few minutes. Consider coming a scootch early if you’re hellbent on getting on stage. Nothing crazy. But definitely not late. Also if you know how to do that thing where you “make it rain” with dollar bills, we may need your services. #imadork #harderthanitlooks

via GIPHY Can Jean-Ralphio come to the unConference?

Next: Bend Outdoor Worx Venture Out
When: Wednesday, Oct. 18
Doors open at 5 p.m.
Tower Theater
What: The second annual venture event specifically for the outdoor industry. Nine startups will by vying for a range of awards and investment. The competition features a new rec tech category this year, as well as the early and growth stages. Business Oregon will award $100,000 in SBEP funding to one of the companies pitching.
Pro tip: There’s a kick-off party with free beer and food the day before at 5 p.m. at 10Barrel East. Meet some of the entrepreneurs pitching, the folks from Bend Outdoor Worx and check out 10B’s new east side digs.

Then: BVC Social Impact Track
When: Thursday, Oct. 19
1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Tower Theater
What: Back for its second year, the social impact track features for-profit companies with a social or environmental mission. Last year, the pitching companies won investments ranging from $50,000 to $100,000.
Pro tip: You can buy a ticket for just this portion of the conference. Last year, these pitches were some of the most interesting to hear. Go and get inspired about how these entrepreneurs are using their businesses to make change.

Also: Broken Top Networking Reception
When: Thursday, Oct. 19
5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Broken Top Club
What: Basically a party with a heavy dose of real-life networking. I’ve watched people find jobs, meet investors and feel out whether Bend is the place they want to move their company. Room full of BVC attendees, some who choose to only come to this part of the conference.
Pro tip: There are a bunch of appetizers for dinner. However, will any of them actually make it into your mouth? Hard to say. I have a hard time eating and talking and meeting new people all at the same time. Perhaps it’s because I’m exceptionally uncoordinated. In any event, a good snack beforehand ensures that you don’t end up in the Taco Bell drive thru at 8:15. Love, your mom.


Finally: Bend Venture Conference
When: Friday, Oct. 20
7:30 a.m. to 4ish p.m.
Tower Theater
What: Venture conference featuring 10 startups in early and growth stages. The early stage founders are hoping to win $17,500 from BendBroandband, while the growth stage founders are vying for investments. Last year, BVC competitors tallied up $4 million in awards and investment. They hand out giant checks to the winners, which just tickles my funny bone (Where do you cash them? Will your bank take one? How do you transport it?).
Pro tip: You get a lunch assignment at a specific restaurant. You may be tempted to switch tickets to be with people you know. But don’t. Because even if it’s out of your comfort zone to have a meal with complete strangers, it’s also a rare opportunity. So head over to wherever you’re assigned, find an empty seat and sit on down. You never know who you are going to meet–and that’s the whole point. Also bring a sweater. Also turn off your phone.

What happens to these checks???! Where do they go??!

Alright, the countdown has begun. Enjoy your weekend and we will hopefully see you out and about next week.

Kelly Kearsley

Kelly Kearsley, the co-founder of, is passionate about startups, entrepreneurship and Bend. In addition to writing this blog, she creates content and manages content projects for global financial companies, tech firms and startups. She began her career as a newspaper journalist and later worked as a freelance writer. Her work has appeared in, Money Magazine, CNNMoney, MSNBC and Runner's World. See her work at or

You can reach Kelly by email at [email protected].
Kelly Kearsley