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North County gets the spotlight during ‘Startup Week’

CARLSBAD — Starting a business can be a daunting task, which is why the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation is dedicating a whole week to startups.

Dubbed “Startup Week” in Carlsbad to ease the burden of daily trips to San Diego and to attract more North County startups and entrepreneurs.

On June 2, at least 300 people will descend on the Make space, 5600 Avenida Encinas, and home of Walmart Labs, GoPro, GoDaddy among others, to foster and guide startups through their growing pains.

“Every year it’s grown organically,” said Neal Bloom, an Encinitas entrepreneur and speaker at the event. “The other piece we looked at growing … making sure that we are inclusive and being open to all and allowing anyone with an inkling of entrepreneurship to get them there.”

Last year the SDREDC expanded into North County with a morning session in Carlsbad. One reason for the expansion is the business parks in Carlsbad and other cities housing startups.

In addition, the San Diego portion will be held at the San Diego Convention Center, a move made last year to centralize the location. The first night, though, will be in Tijuana.

Kierstin Rielly, manager of economic development in North County for the SDREDC, said the ultimate goal is to expand resources to those North County startups.

“We found out they had to drive downtown or to L.A. (Los Angeles) to get those resources,” she said. “It’s really for anyone in startups. There’s not a particular industry.”

The program starts with a coffee networking session followed by a meet-and-greet with the San Diego Tech Hub, three panels and networking sessions with mentors and other attendees.

Additionally, the week’s four main themes include ideas, seed, growth and San Diego. Each focus on specifics components of the theme and how startups can best use those resources to grow.

One of the sessions centers on veterans and those in the military looking to transition back into civilian life, Rielly added.

“Just given the proximity to Camp Pendleton and so many people … who stay in Oceanside or North County after that,” she said. “There’s a lot of similarities and synergy between being a leader in the service and their own company.”

As a whole, the event has grown from 200 people to 4,000 and in Carlsbad the expectation is to draw at least 300 people, if not more, Bloom and Rielly said. The Carlsbad event will be on a Sunday, which allows more people to attend, he added.

Another boost to the week, especially in North County, has been Innovate 78, a SDREDC program connecting Carlsbad, Escondido, Oceanside, San Marcos and Vista to foster business and talent.

“We want to ride that wave, too,” Bloom said. “We want to put a whole spotlight on what North County-focused grassroots entrepreneurship looks like.”

Tickets are still available and be purchased through the Startup San Diego website.

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