Startup Park City, a new non-profit, aims to help early-stage businesses | ParkRecord.com

Startup Park City, a new non-profit, aims to help early-stage businesses

Curtis Holder and Ted Diven have been there. They understand what it’s like to have an idea and the challenge of turning it into a successful business.

It is not easy. There are pitfalls and road blocks along the way. Success, at times, can seem like a distant light, way off in the future.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have some place to turn to for guidance?

Now early-stage companies in Park City do. Earlier this year, Holder and Diven opened Startup Park City, a non-profit dedicated to providing young businesses with a network of advice and resources to help navigate the world of startups.

"It’s just exciting to take a company from an idea and help them put the pieces in place and to see them start making money and grow," Holder said. "I mean, that’s what America is founded on, right? It’s this idea that we start it up from nothing and we’re going to grow into something big. Every company has to start somewhere. And it’s great to get involved with people who want to do that."

Already, the organization has begun helping local business and has collected a stable of advisers who have expertise in the business world. Monthly meetings allow startups to share advice and learn from experienced mentors.

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Diven said there are a lot of local startups that can benefit from the knowledge and experience of others. Holder added that Park City’s wealth of business experts — as well as Utah’s burgeoning business and tech scenes — also made the town an enticing home for the non-profit.

"We started it here because of all the influences around here," Holder said. "We’ve got business owners who have been really successful, and we’ve also got some really good companies that have come out of Park City. So there is a lot of good information and resources in Park City. So we’re saying, ‘Let’s bring in these resources and help companies grow.’"

Common problems startups run into include finding financing, figuring out distribution and inventory and understanding how products fit into the marketplace. Often, Holder said, early-stage business owners are experts in the products or services they’ve created but don’t quite know how to be entrepreneurs.

"You find startups that will go, for example, and spend thousands of dollars on a patent and find out that their product is not validated in the market," he said. "So they’re already thousands of dollars in the hole, where they could have spent less money for a provisional patent and gone out and tested it and found out if there’s a market for it."

Added Diven: "If you’ve never done it before or been involved in it, it can be a monumental task and you don’t even know where to start. But there are resources out there for companies like that."

But rather than wading through the difficulty alone, entrepreneurs can now get in touch with Startup Park City, where Diven and Holder are eager to help.

"Sometimes it’s just one or two people, and they’re trying to figure it out," Holder said. "They’ve got a great idea, they’ve done some research, but they don’t know where to go from there. We want to talk to them and help them."

For more information on Startup Park City, or to become involved with the organization, visit startupparkcity.com.