Economic and Community Development
Attracting Entrepreneurs to Durham
From April 1 to May 31, North Carolina Research Triangle area entrepreneurs had a chance to launch their companies from downtown Durham for free, courtesy of the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Durham, Inc. and Self-Help Commercial Real Estate.
The idea, called Bull City Startup Stampede, came from a conversation with Aaron Houghton, founder of Preation and co-founder of iContact. He thought more entrepreneurs should be exposed to Durham’s thriving downtown. He suggested giving Triangle-based start-ups a first-hand experience there, and the Startup Stampede was born.
The Stampede is an event consisting of 60 days of free space in downtown Durham complete with parking, office furniture and wi-fi. Programming for the event was light but each week Stampede participants heard from successful Durham entrepreneurs on the ups and downs of launching a company.
At the end of the program, 15 startup business leaders gave their sales pitches. Three companies reached the product launch stage and all 15 who participated plan to keep working on their ideas.
A poll of Stampede participants found that 90 percent had a more favorable view of downtown at the end of the program, and 75 percent said they’d be more likely to launch in Durham again. “The Stampede was really about building awareness among Triangle startups as to what a great place Durham is to launch a company and the quality of the startup community here,” said Adam Klein, Director of Strategic Initiatives for the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce. He said there are plans to launch Stampede 2.0 in the fall.
The Herald-Sun: Start-up Stampede comes to an end
The Herald-Sun: Durham startup pushing fitness program for busy executives
Triangle Biz Blog: Four to move from Startup Stampede to Bull City Forward
Durham Magazine: Startup Stampede rumbles along