Meet the Judges – Ashleigh S. Chapman, JD

StartUp Weekend Laramie is approaching!  We are going to post a series of blogs to introduce you to our Judges and Coaches!


StartUp Weekend Laramie Judge

Ashleigh S. Chapman, JD

President/CEO, AFRJ®
Founder/CEO, Altus™

Ashleigh S. Chapman, JD has worked solely on combating human trafficking and protecting vulnerable populations for the past 18+ years professionally, and travels extensively to strengthen the movement. Her passion and focus areas are in helping to reform systems of care, strengthening community collaborations, increasing multi-sector engagement, and building the solutions needed to increase the impact of all justice advocates in the field.

Prior to founding the AFRJ, Ashleigh served as: the co-founder and Director of the Center for Global Justice at Regent University School of Law in Virginia; the Director of a non-profit serving thousands of at-risk youth in Tennessee; a Children’s Pastor; and a Court Appointed Special Advocate for children in foster care.

Ashleigh is a licensed attorney. She graduated Magna Cum Laude with her Juris Doctorate from Regent University School of Law, receiving the school’s Most Outstanding Graduate award, and Summa Cum Laude with her B.S. from Tennessee Technological University.
In addition to her work in the nonprofit sector, Ashleigh is the founder of Altus™, a benefit corporation that exists to innovate solutions in education, technology, finance, and business to accelerate the movement to end and prevent human trafficking.
Ashleigh and her husband, Sloan, reside in Wyoming.

Register for StartUp Weekend Laramie HERE!

5 Tips for Having a Successful StartUp Weekend

Last year’s winner from StartUp Weekend Laramie, Minden Fox, offers tips for 2019 participants. Minden is a Marketing & Entrepreneurship professor for the Laramie County Community College and owns Blue Box Fox, an allergy-friendly vending company.


Here are 5 Tips to help you prepare for StartUp Weekend Laramie:


#1 Practice your pitch.

Sixty seconds goes by fast and you need to be able to explain your idea well so that the majority of people understand your idea.


#2 Stay and learn to get the most out of this experience as possible.

Even if your idea isn’t chosen there is so much great information shared that can be used down the road with your ideas.


#3 Bring your laptop, paper and pen, and a lot of creativity.


#4 Be prepared for networking opportunities.

If you have business cards, bring them. You’ll meet amazing people that you’ll want to stay in touch with and people that can help you down the road.


#5 Lastly, take away everything you can from Startup Weekend Laramie.

It’s a fun, fast-paced weekend, that anyone could benefit from (student or not).


Register for Techstars StartUp Weekend Laramie >>>HERE<<<

StartUp Weekend Laramie to be held at the UW College of Business October 4th-6th 2019

Registration is now open for the 2019 Techstars StartUp Weekend Laramie that will be held October 4th-6th at the University of Wyoming’s College of Business. The event is organized by the Laramie Chamber Business Alliance’s Retention and Expansion (BR&E) Committee. As well as being open to entrepreneurs, students, and intrapreneurs, the 2019 StartUp Weekend Laramie is focused on helping current businesses create new business offerings; where companies can send talented employees to gain fresh ideas and valuable business skills.

Techstars StartUp Weekend Laramie starts with participants pitching their business ideas. Teams are formed around the ideas that are selected and the rest of the weekend, they work together on developing a prototype and final presentation. Prizes are awarded to the top teams.

During the event, participants have access to top mentors and industry experts to help them further develop their ideas into a final product.

The idea that won at the 2018 StartUp Weekend Laramie was an allergy-free vending machine, pitched by Minden Fox, a Marketing & Entrepreneurship professor for the Laramie Community College. In a recent interview, Minden commented, “The people I met that joined my team, their background and knowledge helped me tremendously. I’m a big fan of the Techstars platform and can’t say enough good things about the value attendees get out of the experience.” After the event, Minden moved forward with her company Blue Box Fox and is working on recruiting brands and locations for the vending machines in Wyoming and other states.

“In addition to providing a fun, supportive environment for participants to develop entrepreneurial and business skills, the success of StartUp Weekend Laramie comes from community partners working together to help foster Albany County’s entrepreneurial environment,” remarked BR&E Committee Co-Chair, Rebecca Miller of ANB Bank.

Brad Enzi, CEO of the Laramie Chamber Business Alliance added, “LCBA is excited to be hosting our second startup competition this fall. As part of our mission to grow businesses and jobs in Laramie, this is an exciting way to learn and share ideas as we continue to encourage entrepreneurship and business startups in Laramie.”

Sponsors for Techstars StartUp Weekend Laramie 2019 include the Laramie Chamber Business Alliance, the City of Laramie, the University of Wyoming College of Business, Albany County, Albany County Tourism Board, and the Laramie County Community College.

For additional information, visit: or email Melissa Ross

What does your roadmap look like?

No matter who you are, or where you work, you may have ideas but you don’t know where to start. The thought of how to get from point A to point B can seem daunting and overwhelming. Sometimes the hardest part is just putting one foot forward.

Here is an exercise to help you jumpstart your ideas into a workable project. Start by answering these questions:

1. Who are your customers?

You need customers to make a business successful! Start by writing down the customers who will benefit from your idea.

  • Are your customers individuals or businesses?
  • How often will they need your product or service?
  • Let’s be realistic – will they buy your product or service? If you are already selling this ‘thing’…you might be onto something!


At StartUp Weekend Laramie, you will have the opportunity to pitch an idea (that you have not been previously working on) and see if that idea generates interest. The ideas that are picked will form teams around them for the weekend’s competition. If your idea is not picked, don’t sweat it, maybe your idea needs some re-working. Whatever the case may be, learning how to pick up fresh ideas is one of those important business and entrepreneurial skills that you will learn!

2. What are you selling?

Now that you know who your potential customer base is, what are you really selling?
How does your product or service add value to those customers and why would they pick your idea over a competitor?

3. Who are your competitors?

It’s great to have an idea and offer a service, but who will be your main competitors, where are they located, and again, why is your product or service better or different? When you list these companies out, figure out if there is a saturation of this product or service or if there a gap somewhere.

4. Do you have a team?

Forming a great team is one of the factors that can make an idea transform into a successful venture! At StartUp Weekend Laramie, you will have an opportunity to meet and form a team with talented individuals like you, who are thirsty for ideas, business skills, and feedback. This networking opportunity could transform into future collaboration, or who knows- maybe your idea will take off from this very weekend!

Photo courtesy of

Having a network of support goes a long way in being successful in any career and especially taking an idea to the next level.

5. What is your mission?

Why are you creating this product or service? Do you have an itch to help people, did you discover a trend that you think will make you millions? Do you find science experiments fun? Are you a competitive person? It’s important to understand your reasoning behind your whole concept. Creating a solid foundation with your vision and goals is important for your future success.

A great example of a strong mission is from a recent interview with local business owners, Dylan and David Milam of the Spine and Injury Clinic of Laramie. They started out as a small Chiropractic office and have evolved into Chiropractic, Physical Therapy, Massage, and a gym!

“We always have had a vision of being able to be a clinic that can handle any type of musculoskeletal injury, but most importantly be a clinic where people receive the best care available, and where people are treated right,” said Dylan Milam.

Remember, roadmaps are never set in stone. Roadblocks happen, life happens, money happens, technology changes, the economy happens, people come in and out of our lives, and as an entrepreneur or business leader, it is always important to be adaptable. You will most likely have to change things up as you go, but like I said, putting your foot forward is the first step to moving forward.


Get involved in StartUp Weekend Laramie October 4-6th 2019

Like our Facebook page for ongoing updates: or

Purchase tickets here:

What is StartUp Weekend Laramie

Startup Weekend Laramie is where businesses do startup. Pitch an idea, join a team, and develop entrepreneurial skills in a fun supportive environment. The weekend starts off Friday evening where participants will pitch their ideas to solve problems. Everyone gets to vote on their favorites and then, after you have formed a team, you’re off and running with top mentors, help from industry experts, and much more! We don’t just want you to think about a business model or write a business plan. Be surrounded by people who want to think outside of the box, and learn and test out their entrepreneurial skills! The weekend finishes off with final presentations from each team. Awesome prizes will be awarded to the top teams!

Techstars Startup Weekend in Laramie is the place for entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs, designers, & developers.

It’s a place for companies to send talented employees who will return to work with fresh ideas that may improve your business.

If you already have a job but have that entrepreneurial spirit, that’s OK!!! Don’t quit your day job. Spend the weekend and learn how to create a side business that you can earn extra money in your spare time.

Learn how to solve customers’ problems more efficiently and effectively.

Commit your weekend to have some of the most fun you will ever have and learning some valuable business skills that will help skyrocket your career. Will your brain be tired at the end? – Yes, but you will also be full of yummy food, coffee, inspiration, and ideas!

We want absolutely anyone and everyone to come!

We don’t care if you’re fresh out of high school, taking organic chemistry, living with your parents, working a 9-5 job, stay-at-home parent, or bored of retirement. Everyone is welcome.

Get involved in StartUp Weekend Laramie October 4-6th 2019

Like our Facebook page for ongoing updates: or

Purchase tickets here:

As a bonus – if you complete the weekend, you will receive your registration back ($10 for students) or ($20 for general) in cash as you walk out the door!