Beyond the Pitch
Startup Weekend Finds Focus
Since 2008, Startup Weekend has been welcoming the masses. No matter the idea, skill level, or focus, you could pitch what you want and morph your idea as the weekend went on.
This was my understanding of Startup Weekend and after observing one event last summer, I decided to take the plunge and participate.
The global standards of the organization stayed the same: 54 hours. Various teams. Key players with different backgrounds and skills. A pitch at the end to determine the best ideas. Mentors. Judges. Winners.
However, this time there was an added component: All the ideas had to fall under the theme of “health.”
This could have been a limiting factor that failed to produce quality, competitive ideas. This was definitely not the case.
Instead, the health theme added 3 new elements to Startup Weekend.
Having a focus actually helped people develop higher quality ideas. Referencing the principles we teach in Concept Academy, giving all participants the health focus gave a sort of pre-qualification to the market size for many ideas.
Industry experts from the health field were not only available as advisors for the teams , but were ON the teams as well. Having industry experts on some teams brought a level of credibility to many ideas that further qualified the ideas and strengthened the pitches. The final 14 teams that pitched addressed problems that the market said needed a solution.
Startup Weekend ideas uncovered trends in the community. We heard what people were thinking about and then how those ideas aggregated and then changed into something formidable with the help of each other and health industry experts.
Startup Weekend has always been a great experience for those looking to get their feet wet in entrepreneurship. Being on the other side of the table was a humbling and deeply gratifying experience. This being my first time participating, I was able to practice pitching (like an 8th grader), trip over my words, brainstorm like crazy, and wear my fun pants all at the same time.
Congrats to the Startup Weekend winners: HandsOn, Aunt Flow, and Sophia!
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