West Slope Startup Week 2021 is officially in the rearview mirror and holy cow do I have some wonderful things to look back on! On June 1st I was rocketed from Communications Track Captain to Lead Organizer just six weeks out from our event. Even having been involved in the event for three years prior, I had no idea how much was actually involved in the planning and execution of a full startup week. When presented with the opportunity to step into the lead organizer role I was filled with nervous excitement, knowing that this would be a challenge that would push and evolve my skills.

What is West Slope Startup Week?

#WSSW is a week-long event that follows the “Startup Week” format put forth by Techstars. Boulder Startup Week and Denver Startup Week have become extremely successful examples of the Startup Week format that has now been popularized all over the globe. In 2019 a group of Western Colorado entrepreneurs including Mara Hardy, Brain Watson, and Bryan Wachs decided to put theirs heads together to facilitate the first West Slope Startup Week as a regional initiative. West Slope Startup Week kicked off in 2019 with a week long in-person event in Grand Junction, Colorado. The event went fully virtual in 2020 and in 2021 we leveraged a hybrid format of virtual and in-person events.

Mtn. Dog Media’s Involvement

Mtn. Dog Media got involved with West Slope Startup Week in 2019 as the Communications Track Captain and has served in this capacity for all three years. In 2021 Mtn. Dog Media also took on the marketing, promotions, and communications for the event itself actively managing the WSSW social media accounts, blog, and newsletter. It was in June 2021 that Mara Hardy passed the baton to Kayleen to complete the lead organizer role for 2021.

Project Management & Event Planning

Hey! I thought this was a digital marketing agency?! Where did project management and event planning end up in the mix? Remember when I said I knew this would be an exciting and new challenge for me? From day one I threw myself into the deep end pushing my project management skills to the max. It turns out, this is one element of running my business that I absolutely adore and when given the opportunity, I fell right into a groove and thrived! Event planning?! Why not! Toss some of that in the mix too. After all, it is my nature to facilitate community events and connections. I’ve planned 1 workshop. Why not 67?!

West Slope Startup Week: The Numbers

So how did it all shake out? Our first hybrid event was a success. Here are the numbers:




Virtual Sessions

In-Person Sessions



WSSW-79 (1)

“I have decades of attending such events in Silicon Valley. Considering the limitations of virtual, wide geography, and limited resources this event was great!” -Anonymous survey feedback