A Rookies Perspective
When I was asked to co-organise a Startup Weekend, I didn’t even know what a Startup Weekend was? 6 weeks later and I am much wiser about the raw excitement, energy and hard-work involved in an event like this. To be honest, I’m sorry I won’t get the chance to participate.
It has been a whirlwind experience and I can honestly say I am excited and energised heading down the final straight before the event climax on April 12th.
The support of the business community has been amazing. Lead sponsors Bank of Ireland have been very generous but we can’t forget the nuts and bolts of the local economy, companies like Canteen Asian Fusion, Tadhg Kearney jewellers, TaxAssist, Martina Murphy solicitors and so many more have all lent a generous hand to ensure the successful execution of this event.
Critical Success factors:
Beyond getting sponsorship there are 2 key factors to running a successful Startup Weekend.
Building a team
The team here at Startup Weekend Limerick includes veteran organisers Shane McCarthy and Stephan Dunworth and ex -participants Kieran Normoyle, Maree Lanigan and Mark Carey. We gained valuable insight from the former 3 on their experience attending the last Startup Weekend Limerick and armed with this knowledge, we are going to organise an event that has all the bells, whistles, colour and excitement to create a strong legacy for the future.
One key point that was highlighted from early meetings was the need to keep non-participants engaged. The solution is to create a prize pool for ‘Guests who Invest’. The investment won’t involve any cash sum, just a vote of confidence in the budding entrepreneur’s ideas.
At the end of the weekend, the ‘investors’ will be welcomed back for the judges decision where Startup Weekend winner 2015 will be crowned. Should the ‘investor’s’ team win, they will receive one of the many awesome prizes we have lined up, including a signed Munster jersey and several hotel vouchers from the Clarion Hotel Limerick to the picturesque Lakeside Hotel in Killaloe.
Getting people pumped up
With the team selected, it was time to summon the masses, we have been on the phone and marching on the ground to get the community excited about Startup Weekend. We have spoken to all the leading MNCs (multi-national corporations) in the local area including Dell, Vistakon and Johnson & Johnson to ensure we have the right balance of youth and experience. The team also wanted to attract complimentary skill-sets to ensure stronger business development from ideation right through to pitching on the Sunday.
Students have certainly heralded the strongest response, when we presented to class groups in LIT and UL, their excitement was contagious. The notion that these future change-makers could themselves start a business in just 3 days had audiences salivating. Many were eager to learn more and keen to ask questions while other were looking to sign up immediately!
Last call for budding entrepreneurs
With little over a week to go, the countdown is on to find the Limerick’s best Startup idea. We are very close to capacity so anyone who has a half baked business idea or a crazy concept that just might change the world, sign up here.