May 11, 2021
Flint Hills Group Founder Launches New Program To Mentor Tech Startups
A new kind of workshop is coming to Wichita to provide tech startups with a place to learn, grow, and build their ideas. Campfire is a 12-week program aimed to offer individuals in the early stages of a tech startup education, mentorship, and support.
Created by Flint Hills Group Founder, Dave Cunningham in collaboration with Groover Labs, this program was built to fill a missing role within the community and one that he could have used during his time building his business.
“When I created Flint Hills Group five years ago,” Says Cunningham, “I found there was nothing out there for new entrepreneurs to help create tech startups. I came across dozens of people willing to charge me thousands of dollars to coach me, but nothing reasonably priced with experienced people. Campfire is now that option for entrepreneurs to get their business idea off the ground for an insanely low cost!”
The 12-week course is offered for $250 and registration is available online. The first course started in May 2021, with a second one scheduled for fall 2021. The first cohort of Campfire meets at Groover Labs in Wichita’s historic Old Town. Groover Labs, a 42,000 square foot facility aimed at collaboration and support, is the perfect location for these classes. While the current Campfire class is only available at this brick-and-mortar location, there have been talks about moving the program into the virtual space in the future.
How Campfire Works
Campfire is best for people who have a tech startup idea and want to take it further or even have a little experience and are ready to take their startup to the next level. The goal of Campfire isn’t to have the students walk out of the door after 12 weeks with funding and a complete go-to-market strategy. In fact, many students may scrap their ideas all together. Others may form new concepts with peers or reimagine their existing idea in ways they never approached before.
This is how Campfire will operate: a safe place to explore and learn about your startup with other like-minded individuals while being guided and supported by experienced and involved mentors.
The 12-week Campfire program leverages a combination of Y Combinator and Stanford University information, Ted Talks, Scale Venture Partners & Slidebean YouTube videos. Successful entrepreneurs and business owners will present dialogue and guidance around these videos and concepts. Mentors speaking throughout the first 12-week Campfire lessons include:
- David Cunningham, CEO and Founder of Flint Hills Group (Program Administrator)
- Molly Breitenbach, Director at BKD LLP
- Steve Castro-Miller, Managing Director of Technology at Intrust Bank
- Danielle Cornejo, Attorney with Martin Pringle Law Firm
- Greg Giefer, Vice President of Sales and Business Development at DARI Motion
- Josh Oeding, President and CEO of NXTUS
- Mark Janzen, Tech Entrepreneur and Vice President of Engineering at Avalara
- John Messman, Program Director of The Conference Board
Those who complete the 12-week Campfire course may be better qualified for higher level accelerator programs held at Groover Labs or in the region. These programs often require a solid base of startup knowledge or a more mature startup idea which will be developed through Campfire.
While building relationships and meeting with like-minded individuals is a part of the core foundation of this class, there are other startup skills students will learn along the way. Main points learned throughout the course include:
- Find Product Market Fit
- Analyze Legal & Accounting Needs
- Startup Funding Explained
- Set Prices
- Know When to Exit
- Evaluate Startup Ideas
- Build Workplace Culture
- Plan for MVP
- Pitch to Investors
- Determine Investor Business Models
Get Involved with Campfire
If you’re interested in the Campfire program and currently reside within the Wichita area, there are open spots for the fall program. The spring program was quickly filled. However, while you don’t need immediate funding for your idea or any prior business experience, there are a few opt-in requirements you need to join Campfire. These requirements are:
- Have a tech idea or concept
- Willingness to put your own money into your idea
- Willingness to commit the time and effort to develop your idea
The work involved in creating a successful startup is not an easy venture, and building out a group of peers and mentors who can help guide and support you along the way is priceless. Join the Campfire class with an open mind and a willingness to adapt, grow and learn from your mentors and peers.
To learn more about Campfire or to register for the class, visit Groover Labs.
Julie Simpson is a freelance writer, SEO consultant and technology enthusiast from Lucedale, Mississippi. When not writing articles and updating websites, she can be found working on her 7-acre farm with her husband, daughters, and assortment of plants, chickens, dogs, cats, and sheep.
Julie Simpson is a freelance writer. SEO consultant and technology enthusiast from Lucedale, Mississippi. When not writing articles and updating websites, she can be found working on her 7-acre farm with her husband, daughters, and assortment of plants, chickens, dogs, cats, and sheep.