From Zero to Hero: How to Start a Company in Just One Weekend



Have you ever had the perfect idea for a startup, but not known where to begin or how to find the perfect teammates to help you execute it? It’s a conundrum that I—and countless others—face all the time: thinking big, but not quite sure about how to transform that idea into reality.

Then I came to Columbus’ Startup Weekend, and I realized just how many opportunities are available for hopeful entrepreneurs in the Central Ohio area—and across the nation.

Startup Weekend is a global nonprofit that has one deceptively simple mission: take a group of strangers, pair them off, and help them create a business in just two days.

Some people came to the table with fully formed plans; some came with the beginning of an idea. Some just wanted something to do over the weekend.

But by the end, dozens of innovators from all over the country gathered at TechColumbus, presenting fifteen new solutions to some of our most common everyday problems.

From using Bluetooth to connect phones without a signal, to designing social media analytics for pharmaceutical companies, every group had a sales plan and a functioning company website—and many of them even had developed mobile platforms for their product.

All of this went down in just 54 hours.

I wasn’t an “official” participant in Startup Weekend, but I did sit in on Sunday night’s final presentations.

And as I listened to people from different walks of life and from all around the country, I felt a pang of regret because I hadn’t signed up for the full two days myself.

I had justified myself by thinking, I don’t have an idea. I don’t have time to start a company. I don’t know if I could commit to one more thing. But there’s something about sitting in a room full of people who are saying “I can” instead of “I don’t know” that shifted my perspective.

It doesn’t matter if you have an idea. It doesn’t matter where your strengths lie. If you want to help someone else get an idea off the ground, and you’re passionate about building entrepreneurship in your area, Startup Weekend is for you.

Startup Weekend takes place in 478 cities across the globe; in Central Ohio alone there are three events a year.

Even if you’re nervous to get your feet wet with a brand-new concept, I’d encourage you at least to see what it’s all about. Check out the website or, if you’re still hesitant, just stop by the final presentations the next time Startup Weekend comes to Columbus.

When you do, you’re sure to find me—perhaps with my own idea, perhaps with someone else’s—teamed up with other energetic people ready to roll up their sleeves and get to work.