Welcome to West Slope Startup Week! We’re celebrating our 5th year and gathering in Durango, CO, August 21–25, 2023.

Every session, meetup, workshop, lecture, discussion, and celebration is in-person, radically inclusive, and totally FREE!
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Wednesday, August 23 • 11:45am - 12:45pm
Service Provider Industry Lunch: The Art of the Strategic Alliance for Rural Service Providers

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To help us make the most of our time together, please read our blog post, which sets the stage for conversations we'll explore at the industry lunch. Click Here.

Across small towns and remote regions, a new generation of entrepreneurs is rising, building flexible new business models that catalyze innovation, fuel job creation, and drive regional prosperity, all while reimagining traditional ways of doing business and creating success on their own terms.

Service provider, solopreneur, consultant, and freelancer—known by many names, you are a micro business owner.

Micro businesses have 1–9 employees, make up 75% of all private employers, and generate over $1 trillion annually. On average, a micro business owner creates at least two additional jobs beyond their own. *

More than "just a service provider," your agility, specialized expertise, networks, and instinct for collaboration and building strategic partnerships are invaluable in a rural entrepreneurial ecosystem where relationships drive business and trust is the engine behind the sale.

Join us for a guided conversation on creating mutually supportive and profitable partnerships with other service providers, micro and small-business owners, support organizations, and startup founders.

We'll explore strategies to establish trust and nurture collaboration by leveraging shared goals and values, including:
  • Balancing collaboration and competition
  • Crafting partnerships beyond transactions
  • Sharing risks and rewards
  • Resources and referral relationships

This interactive session is tailored for micro business owners across a range of service industries, including (but not limited to):
  • Agriculture
  • Artisan & Craft
  • Business Support
  • Community Services
  • Construction & Trades
  • Creative Industries
  • Educational
  • Financial & Legal
  • Hybrid (can be delivered both in-person or remotely)
  • Lifestyle & Wellness
  • Professional/Specialized
  • Technology & Digital
  • Tourism & Hospitality

EsoTerra Ciderworks provides a $14 Local's Deal for Lunch, including a sandwich and salad. Vegetarian options are available; you may also order from their regular menu of sandwiches, charcuterie boards, salads, desserts, and more.

Note: WSSW is not covering the cost of your meal

Our conversation is facilitated by:
  • Jessi Burg, founder of Outgrow Your Garage, Inc., an education company dedicated to helping service-based businesses scale sustainably.
  • Celeste Herron, Programming Lead for WSSW 2023 and an evangelist for regional economic development through growing a startup community.

* 2019 JP Morgan Chase & Co report

avatar for Jessi Burg

Jessi Burg

Founder and CEO, Outgrow Your Garage
Jessi started her journey as an entrepreneur after experiencing toxic work environments. She thought there had to be a better way to value employees, pay them a living wage, and still be able to work outside. Her first company, a landscaping business, taught her that being a business... Read More →
avatar for Celeste Herron

Celeste Herron

Founder, Northern Crown Media
Celeste Herron is a strategist, brand storyteller, multidisciplinary designer, and creative director who helps startups, small businesses, and service agencies rapidly design, develop, and scale their product and service offerings. She is also the Programming Lead for WSSW 2023, an... Read More →

Wednesday August 23, 2023 11:45am - 12:45pm MDT
EsoTerra Ciderworks