The 5th annual Longmont Startup Week wrapped up on Friday with its 65th presentation of the week followed by a party and summer concert featuring the Oliver White Group!
The final workshop focused on how virtual and augmented reality can enhance educational opportunities, especially for those with disabilities.
“It makes it a brand new model for teaching and learning that is errorless,” said Chris Baumgart, an assistive technology expert with Imagine! Colorado, a non-profit service provider for those with developmental, cognitive, and physical disabilities.
By incorporating virtual reality programs designed by Reality Garage, a Boulder-based virtual reality design firm, Imagine! can help its clients train for a job opportunity without leaving their comfort zone.
For instance, one of the jobs Imagine clients often pick up is at the Left-Hand Brewing packaging plant. Rather than having them try to learn on the job and potentially break some bottles along the way, Reality Garage designed a virtual reality program that imitates the packaging plant and allows the clients to practice without the fear of making an error.
“This will be such a benefit to my sister who has autism,” Cara Sheridan, who works with Imagine!, said. “She would be so much more willing to get a job if she wasn’t so stressed out that she’s going to screw up on the first day.”
Others in the crowd, like John Coe a programmer with 4th Party Software, attended the presentation just to catch up on the latest developments in virtual reality tech. He also attended meetings earlier in the week on Blockchain technology and Google Venture.
Unlike previous years, however, Longmont Startup Week wasn’t just focused on technology.
Coe also attended workshops on how to best obtain a patent, how to slowly grow a startup without venture capital, how to manipulate data and finding ways to become a better leader.
There were also sessions on how to start a food company, how to manufacture a product, create successful marketing campaigns, and even a design contest.
“Startup Week has progressed a lot over the years,” he said. “In the past, it was mainly focused on technology, but this year they branched out a lot.”
In addition to incorporating workshops for a wider array of industries and different levels of startups, this year’s event also made use of a more diverse set of venues including CoSolve Coworking, The St. Vrain, Christ Church International, the Firehouse Art Center, the St. Vrain Cidery, and La Vita Bella.
“It was definitely better organized this year,” said Mike Zook, of Docketly, a Longmont based company that connects clients to attorneys outside of the jurisdiction to represent them in procedural hearings. “A few years ago, when everything was at the community college I felt like it was in a class. This year was much more engaging.”