Professional Development

DC Startup Week is back this October. Here’s what to expect

From Oct. 18 to 22, this year's DCSW will be a five-day event featuring a mix of in-person and virtual content on all things startup grind. The theme, "It's Your Time," aims to shift founder mindsets from survival to growth mode.

A panel at AARP Innovation Labs during DC Startup Week 2019.

(Photo via @DCstartupweek on Twitter) DC is a media partner of DC Startup Week 2021.

In what seems like some sort of freaky time-warp, fall is already on the way. And with it comes the sixth annual DC Startup Week, a five-day series for entrepreneurs, investors and creators on all things startup grind.

Following up last year’s all-virtual event, the 2021 edition will be held Oct. 18 to 22 with content tracks focused on different startup stages and types in a mix of IRL and virtual events. This year’s theme, lead organizer Rachel Koretsky said, is “It’s Your Time,” referring to many the plans founders had to put on hold in the last 18 months that might now get their day in the sun.

Koretsky told that throughout the pandemic, many startups were in survival mode and unable to pursue various growth and goals. DCSW hopes to change that mindset.

Rachel Koretsky. (Photo via Linkedin)

“We kind of want to create that shift and say, no, now it’s your time to make whatever it is for you,” Koretsky said. “It’s your time to grow, to scale, to find that next hire, to send out that email or to launch your company. It’s your time to start doing these things and to get out that survival mindset and to go into more of a growth mindset.”

DCSW 2021 feature a mix of hybrid and in-person events with five tracks: early-stage founder, growth stage, service-based, social impact and culture, with a free or paid VIP option. Those who choose a VIP track have access to additional content, lunches and pitch competitions on VIP days as well as an in-person, outdoor happy hour (barring Delta strain development and safety). All attendees of in-person events must either be fully vaccinated or show proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 24 hours of the event, and everyone must be masked.

The rest of DCSW will be hosted on mobile events app Attendify as well as Zoom, and Koretsky said the team is currently projecting about 5,000 to 6,000 attendees. Alongside the service track, which is new this year, the team is adding Market Talks focused on particular sectors of the industry.


But all in all, Koretsky said, the event is about embracing the community aspect of being a local founder.

“As a founder, as being a part of a startup, or in the community of entrepreneurship, the community is so important as you look to grow or expand or even get through the struggles that every entrepreneur faces,” Koretsky said. “DC Startup Week really helps bring together the community as a whole and allows you to find the resources [that you need].”

Register here

P.S. DCSW just opened apps for both its early-stage and growth-stage pitch competitions. Apply to participate by Sept. 17.

Projects: DC Startup Week
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