Jeanette Bennett, editor of Utah Valley Magazine and Utah Valley BusinessQ, moderates a panel on "Sleeping with your business partner: Husband-wife duos," at StartFEST Tuesday. Panelists, left to right:
Jeanette Bennett, left, editor and owner of Utah Valley Magazine and Utah Valley BusinessQ, moderates a panel titled “Sleeping With Your Business Partner: Husband-Wife Teams,” at StartFEST Tuesday. Panelists, left to right: Vanessa and Nate Quigley, founders of Chatbooks; David and Holly Lesué, founders of Stately Type.


If you go:

When: Sept. 1-5
Where: Downtown Provo
Cost: $20-$50
Site: startfestival.com


Downtown Provo is buzzing with aspiring and established entrepreneurs during Utah’s first StartFEST, an event dedicated to motivating and connecting the Utah startup scene.

Following a late-night kick-off party on Aug. 31, the five-day festival formally began Sept. 1 with an introduction by Clint Betts, founder of Beehive Startups and StartFEST, followed by a keynote address by Utah Governor Gary Herbert.

In addition to a lineup of speeches and forums with established companies like Vivint, Domo and Qualtrics, speakers also include Utah businesses that are growing rapidly, but have only recently graduated from the class of startups like Freshly Picked, Stately Type and Chatbooks. After-hours, festival-goers mix and mingle in a relaxed environment that features performances from local bands.

In founding Beehive Startups and bringing StartFEST to Utah, Betts’ goal was to foster a networking community that offers resources to budding entrepreneurs.

“Our modest goal was to tell the stories, celebrate the successes and learn from the failures of Utah entrepreneurs and startups,” Betts writes on his website. “We quickly learned … folks were yearning for an organization to do something more, something meaningful. Just beneath the surface of our simplistic early objectives, we found an entire community of entrepreneurs longing to play a more active role in building and defining Utah’s startup ecosystem.”

StartFEST events run until Saturday. View the schedule at startfestival.com and follow the online conversation at #StartFEST.

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