This is a guest post by Celina Ploskonka, founder of Planabee and Startup Weekend Sheffield attendee. Celina attended Startup Weekend in March 2014 and her team came in third at final presentations.
Last year I was lucky enough to win a ticket to Startup Weekend Sheffield, a three day event during which you work as part of a group to turn a concept into a minimum viable product. I went along to the event with very few expectations, having never attended an event like this previously, and it ended up being the starting point for our new and exciting business idea, planabee – a mobile website providing people who plan events with a supplier search and booking system, event planning tool and social hub all in one place.
During the weekend I met a whole host of interesting and extremely useful people from a range of backgrounds and industries. It was a new and exciting experience to work alongside my ‘dream team’ and it gave me a real insight into the stages involved when developing a new product. I met some great people who provided me with inspiration and support throughout the weekend, and thereafter, which really got planabee off to the best possible start. Prior to this event I had very little experience in pitching a business idea to an audience, and in all honesty I found the idea completely terrifying, but after going on to finish third at the event not only was I really proud I also gained a huge confidence boost and have since gone on to do countless other pitches and presentations.
Since the Startup Weekend my business partner and I have been on a whirlwind journey and planabee has developed and come a long way since the initial idea. We’ve spent the past few months fine-tuning our concept, conducting thorough market research, finalising our business plan and looking into several funding options. We’re hopeful to begin our software development within the next few weeks, with the aim of launching our finish product to the market at the beginning of next year. Overall this has been a fantastic journey, which wouldn’t have come about if it wasn’t for Startup Weekend Sheffield, so we’re extremely grateful and would encourage any other young entrepreneurs to go along because you never know what you might get out of it!