Startups hit the big screen


“Generation Startup,” an independent production directed by Academy Award winner Cynthia Wade and award-winning filmmaker Cheryl Miller Houser. Photo via IMDB

An IT services firm, a startup fund and an economic development agency are partnering to host two free showings of a film about startups next month.

“Generation Startup” will be shown at 6 p.m., Nov. 7, at Start Garden, 40 Pearl St. NW, Suite 200, Grand Rapids, and 6 p.m., Nov. 9, at Knickerbocker Theater, 86 E. Eighth St. in Holland.

Event partners Worksighted, Start Garden and Lakeshore Advantage will host a post-film discussion at the Nov. 9 showing with drinks and snacks at Collective Idea, 44 E. Eighth St., Suite 400, in Holland. The Nov. 7 showing will be preceded by a five-minute discussion of the film, and Start Garden will provide access to a New Holland Brewing beer fridge for participants to enjoy during the show.

The showing is the first installment in what will be a monthly film series hosted by Start Garden. The next film in the series, “Something Ventured,” will be shown at Start Garden on Dec. 12.

“Generation Startup,” an independent production directed by Academy Award winner Cynthia Wade and award-winning filmmaker Cheryl Miller Houser, follows six recent college graduates who launched startups in Detroit. The story, shot over 17 months, takes a close look at entrepreneurship, diversity and urban revitalization.

Worksighted marketing manager Ryan Wenk said he first came across the film on Facebook when one of his friends who lives on the east side of the state posted about it.

“I thought it would be a great opportunity to bring more awareness to West Michigan of what’s going on in Detroit,” he said.

He approached Start Garden to ask if it would help Worksighted show the film, and it just so happened that Start Garden was simultaneously looking to launch its own film series, so the two groups’ interests dovetailed. Then he approached a friend who works at Lakeshore Advantage to see if the economic development agency would help host a Holland showing.

“It made sense to get them involved in the Holland showing because they support all the entrepreneurs in Holland. And it made sense to get Start Garden involved because they support entrepreneurs in Grand Rapids,” he said.

Wenk said the event is geared toward business owners, administrators, students and professionals looking to make connections and learn more about entrepreneurship.

Tricia Jackson, a marketing consultant for Start Garden, said she is excited to see how the film impacts viewers.

“We’re super excited about ‘Generation Startup’ because it’s been screened all around the country, but the creators are actually in Detroit. It’s just bringing it all home,” she said.

“I think it will be a game-changer in the startup world,” Wenk said.

Registration is open for the Nov. 7 showing and the Nov. 9 event until Nov. 4, or until space is filled.

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