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Cedar City hosts first ‘Startup Weekend’

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CEDAR CITY – Utah has receive numerous rankings for its small business attitude. This weekend, entrepreneurs from across the state are in Cedar City to see if their ideas could be the next big thing.

The event is called Startup Weekend. It’s a global event with participants in over 80 different countries. In the end, it's a competition to see who can develop their idea the furthest, but attendees say it's a way to network and get the creative juices flowing.

"Literally that just raw creation," says St. George entrepreneur Ryan Harmon. "I've got a laptop and a notepad and whatever's in my head. I’m going to team up with some people and it will just be a brain explosion and hopefully something is born out of it."

It's the first time Harmon has pitched an idea. And he's not alone. Almost everyone at the Cedar City startup event is new to the game. This weekend's event is the first in Southern Utah.

"We're doing a live feed here with Algeria, and with Ames, Iowa, and we're trying to hook up with Hong Kong,” says event co-organizer Brandon Jones. "All those cities are doing the same thing we're doing here in Cedar City. Trying to spur entrepreneurship and new business creation."

Thursday night, businessmen pitched their ideas, many technology-based. From there, attendees voted for the most popular. Then for the next 54 hours, some working through the night, they will attempt to make those ideas reality.

"We're going to show a unique, novel way for businesses that have vehicles to stream their information your smart phone, your tablet," says St. George entrepreneur Carl LaMont.

Organizers say the start-up buzz is alive in Southern Utah. Every day, they run into budding businessmen who just need a chance. But even if they don't create the next Fortune 500, attendees say it's valuable experience for the next pitch.

For more information on Startup Weekend Cedar City, visit cedarcity.startupweekend.org

You can follow the progress along on Twitter with the hashtag #SWCedar.