I attended startup weekend in March and November of 2014.
Nervous to arrive, and slightly new to the networking and entrepreneurial scene in Sheffield, the pizza table and friendly faces talking excitedly around it, immediately helped me feel welcome. There was a real mix of students, alumni, and working professionals, so conversations were easy, and there was a lot to talk about with people from different backgrounds.
Then came the pitching. I think pretty much 95% of the room were scared to pitch initially, but this soon fell away as one-by-one, individuals started having fun with the pitches and the audience really warmed up to them. By the end of the session, pretty much everyone had pitched in an idea (even if it was just to join in the fun of it with a crazy idea!).
Selecting the top ideas, and picking teams was reasonable easy as I went for the team with a fun but practical idea (the Gyrocup) and a team of uni students, grads, and 2 working professionals (so a nice mix). This then resulted in some fantastic teamwork, barely any sleep, a whole load of laughs, farrrr too many sweets (brought down by one member of the team in a binbag from Cadburys factory!), and an obscene amount of coffee and Redbull. But trust me, this is part of the fun of startup weekend…I mean, if you actually go home and sleep for more than 5-6 hours a night that weekend, you’re probably not getting the full experience! You WANT to be there working your socks off for your team, and you WANT to be in on the fun!
We came second overall in the awards, but the Gyrocup is still well known within the startup weekend Sheffield community to this day.
Since Startup weekend, I have started a business full-time after graduating, ran another business for a short while with a cofounder from startup weekend, and made a genuine friend who is also starting her own business as a result.