Startup Weekend Sacramento: Elk Grove Edition went off last weekend at Innogrove in Elk Grove and was a great success. The 54 hour, 3 day event was the culmination of several months of planning by the Startup Weekend Sacramento organizing team, which I am very pleased to have been a part of.

This was my first time participating in organizing a Startup Weekend, or even attending one for that matter. Though it was a lot of work and I was exhausted by Sunday night, I had a lot of fun and it was a great experience. Here’s a few things I learned over the course of 2+ months of organizing the weekend and attending the event.

1. Sacramento has great ideas.

I really wasn’t sure what to expect on Friday night when 19 participants pitched their ideas in 60 second pitches. First, I was surprised to see the long line of participants lining up to pitch their idea. I new we had 50+ people signed up for the event, but I was surprised to see that roughly one third were pitching their own ideas. Then I was pretty impressed with the quality of the ideas. If the ideas that were pitched are any indication of the quality of talent in our region, we have yet another reason to be proud of Sacramento.

2. Sacramento has great pool of business leaders to tap into for coaching, mentoring, and judging.

Being new to the area, I really wasn’t aware of the deep talent pool that the region has in fostering entrepreneurship. Co-organizer John Nogrady spearheaded the effort to line up coaches to mentor the teams participating as well as an experienced panel of  judges to select the winners of the event. Not only is there a high caliber of business experience & know-how in these people, but their willingness to volunteer their time and knowledge to help foster innovation in the Sacramento region is another testament to how this region bends over backwards to help each other out.

3. Sacramento has great resources to help startups succeed.

The whole weekend wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the local sponsors. From the donation of the venue at the newly opened co-working space Innogrove, to generous prizes from Sacramento resources like Apptology and Rocket Department, these organizations are going above and beyond to foster the growing Sacramento startup ecosystem.

4. The Sacramento Startup Weekend organizing team is awesome.

I have to give out a big shout out to fellow organizing team members. The talent and passion for entrepreneurship as well as love of the city and region in this group is inspiring. They’ve set the bar high for any future teams I work with. Great job team!

5. The Sacramento Startup Scene is even better than I thought.

Though I’ve been following the startup scene closely for awhile now, the experience of co-organizing and attending a startup weekend here, really showed just how vibrant the startup community is here. This Startup Weekend coincided with Global Entrepreneurship Week, and was just one of several startup-related events in Sacramento over the past week. In addition to Startup Weekend, there was Startup Expo at Hacker Lab, which featured the recent cohort of graduating teams from Startup Hustle. There was also Startup Grind at Urban Hive, and Velocity Ventures Entrepreneur showcase which featured 14 promising seed stage technology startups from Velocity’s 2015 Entrepreneurs Showcase Accelerator program. And what would the startup scene in Sacramento be without its monthly Beer & Geeks event, held yesterday at K Bar.

All of this goes to show that there’s a lot of great startup activity going on in the Sacramento region. It’s a community that’s a lot of fun and very rewarding to work with and I’m looking forward to getting involved even more.