Ready? Let's Talk Pitching!

Parts of this blog originally appeared on blog.up.co

By the time 4:00PM rolls around here at Startup Weekend NB, you will have crafted your pitch and be ready to go.. but don’t worry! That does seem like a lot in a short time span? Don’t worry! We’re here to help you get there.

pitching

Pitching is the culmination of a lot hard work. No matter how how things shake out, our competitors should be proud! It can be a true test of character to go through the Startup process. If you’ve made it this far, you deserve a medal in my books. While this is a competition, also remember the bigger picture that we are all allies as well. When this weekend is done, you’re now part of a greater community of entrepreneurs that helps fosters partnerships and mentorship alike. Like Ernesto Sirolli said in his TEDtalk: “No one succeeds alone.”

But for now, this is a competition, and after the dust clears, one team will get to lift the microphone high and be the champions of Startup Weekend NB. We’re all in this together… let’s go!

This blog post will aim to better equip you for your pitch, and help you get a better sense for how the events of the day will flow.

pitch2

 

The Order of The Pitches

You don’t want to get caught off guard. Keep an eye out for the Pitch List, this will be the order of the pitches. You’ve got to be ready to take the stage when your time comes!

Got the jitters or the pitch itch? Whether you’re worried or chomping at the bit, you will have a practice pitch during your Tech Check. We will have mentors on-hand to give you some feedback on your pitch and your slide deck.

 

Prep your Pitch

Each time’s pitch will be 5 minutes long, with a 5 minute Question period. A timer will be on display for the presenter, showing their 5-minute countdown. Keep an eye on the timer, because there is a hard stop when the time runs out. You don’t want to get cut off during your pitch, so if your time is running out, gently end your pitch. A soft landing is better than a crash.

If you’re still having trouble putting your pitch together, check out these links:

https://grouptalent.com/blog/how-to-prepare-for-the-stage

https://grouptalent.com/blog/how-to-structure-your-five-minute-pitch

http://fr.slideshare.net/EmilandDC/extreme-pitch

The Firing Squad

Your panel of Judges will be:

  1. Kayley Reed, Co-Founder of Wear Your Label
  2. Paul Simmonds, Owner of Robert Simmonds Clothing
  3. Heather Boyd-Kinnie, Program Coordinator of the Pond-Deshpande Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Check out their bios!

Judging Criteria

Be sure to keep these things in mind when building and practicing your pitch. This is how the judges will be scoring you.

Business Model Validation
Who are their key partners? Is there a customer acquisition / rollout strategy? Did the team identify customers (demographic, location etc)? Did the team get out and talk to customers? What is the value proposition to customers? What is the cost and revenue breakdown?

Product Execution
Have they established a “Minimal Viable Product” for the weekend (software, hardware, etc.)? *Note: an MVP is the minimum set of features to be able to start collecting data. Were they able to demo something functional?

User Experience Design
Does it have a professional look and feel? Does it deliver a compelling and captivating user experience? Is it memorable? What key insights were gathered over the weekend to go in this creative direction?.

Get Ready for the Question Period

After your pitch, you will be subject to a question period with the judging panel. During this period, judges will ask you questions to help them understand your idea more deeply (remember, they weren’t here all weekend, so they are hearing about your idea for the first time). They may also want to stress-test the validity of your idea as a business. So, before you break a sweat, build up your confidence by preparing answers to these Common Judge Questions:

What’s the most impressive thing you have achieved this weekend?
Where is the rocket science here? What is your secret sauce?
Why did you pick this idea to work on?
Why do the reluctant users hold back?
Who would you hire or how would you add to your team?
What problems/hurdles are you anticipating?
Who is “the boss”?
What is the next step with the product evolution?
What obstacles will you face and how will you overcome them?
Who needs what you’re making?
How does your product work in more detail?
What are you going to do next?
What do you understand that others don’t?
Where do new users come from?
How big an opportunity is there?
Six months from now, what’s going to be your biggest problem?
What’s the funniest thing that has happened to you this weekend?
Tell us something surprising you have done this weekend?
Who are your competitors?
What’s new about what you make?
How many users do you have?
Why isn’t someone already doing this?
What are the top things users want?
How do you know customers need what you’re making?
What domain expertise do you have?
What, exactly, makes you different from existing options?
What’s the conversion rate?
What systems have you hacked?
Who would use your product?
How will customers and/or users find out about you?
Why did your team get together?
In what ways are you resourceful?
What is your distribution strategy?
What has surprised you about user behaviour?
What part of your project are you going to build first?
What resistance will they have to trying you and how will you overcome it?
How are you understanding customer needs?
What’s the biggest mistake you have made this weekend?
Who might become competitors?
What do you understand about your users?
What is your user growth rate?
What are the key things about your field that outsiders don’t understand?
Who is going to be your first paying customer?
If your startup succeeds, what additional areas might you be able to expand into?
Who would be your next hire?
How do you know people want this?
What do you know about this space/product others don’t know?
How much money could you make per year?
How long can you go before funding?
How will you make money?
Will your team stick at this?
How much does customer acquisition cost?
How did your team meet?
Who in your team does what?
How are you meeting customers?
How many users are paying?
How is your product different?
Are you open to changing your idea?
What makes new users try you?
What competition do you fear most?

Good luck, Startup Weekend NBers!




The Pitching Hour

Shark-Tank

 

Sunday at 3:00pm will be the Pitching Hour at Startup Weekend NB.  It’s the culmination of a lot hard work.  No matter how how things shake out, our competitors should be proud!  It can be a true test of character to go through the Startup process.  If you’ve made it this far, you deserve a medal in my books.  While this is a competition, also remember the bigger picture that we are all allies as well.  When this weekend is done, you’re now part of a greater community of entrepreneurs that helps fosters partnerships and mentorship alike.  Like Ernesto Sirolli said in his TEDtalk: “No one succeeds alone.”

But for now, this is a competition, and after the dust clears, one team will get to lift the microphone high and be the champions of Startup Weekend NB.

 

tumblr_miazecVM8q1r3ifxzo1_500

 

 

 

This blog post will aim to better equip you for your pitch, and help you get a better sense for how the events of the day will flow.

 

 

 

The Order of The Pitches

 

You don’t want to get caught off guard.  Keep an eye out for the Pitch List, this will be the order of the pitches.  You’ve got to be ready to take the stage when your time comes!

 

Got the jitters or the pitch itch?  Whether you’re worried or chomping at the bit, you will have a practice pitch during your Tech Check.  We will have mentors on-hand to give you some feedback on your pitch and your slide deck.

 

 

 

Prep your Pitch

 

Learn-to-Pitch

 

Each time’s pitch will be 5 minutes long, with a 5 minute Question period.  A timer will be on display for the presenter, showing their 5-minute countdown.  Keep an eye on the timer, because there is a hard stop when the time runs out.  You don’t want to get cut off during your pitch, so if your time is running out, gently end your pitch.  A soft landing is better than a crash.

 

If you’re still having trouble putting your pitch together, check out these links:

 

https://grouptalent.com/blog/how-to-prepare-for-the-stage

 

https://grouptalent.com/blog/how-to-structure-your-five-minute-pitch

 

http://fr.slideshare.net/EmilandDC/extreme-pitch

 

The Firing Squad

 

Your panel of Judges will be:

 

Ed McGinley, CEO at New Brunswick Information Technology Council

 

Linda Bulmer, Management Consultant and Startup Guru

 

George Tahan, Relationship Manager at TD Commercial Banking

 

Check out their bios!

 

 

 

Judging Criteria

 

Be sure to keep these things in mind when building and practicing your pitch.  This is how the judges will be scoring you.

 

  • Business Model Validation

  • Who are their key partners? Is there a customer acquisition / rollout strategy? Did the team identify customers (demographic, location etc)? Did the team get out and talk to customers? What is the value proposition to customers? What is the cost and revenue breakdown?

  • Product Execution

 

Have they established a “Minimal Viable Product” for the weekend (software, hardware, etc.)? *Note: an MVP is the minimum set of features to be able to start collecting data. Were they able to demo something functional?

 

  • User Experience Design

  • Does it have a professional look and feel? Does it deliver a compelling and captivating user experience? Is it memorable? What key insights were gathered over the weekend to go in this creative direction?.

 

 

 

Get Ready for the Question Period

 

After your pitch, you will be subject to a question period with the judging panel.  During this period, judges will ask you questions to help them understand your idea more deeply (remember, they weren’t here all weekend, so they are hearing about your idea for the first time).  They may also want to stress-test the validity of your idea as a business.  So, before you break a sweat, build up your confidence by preparing answers to these Common Judge Questions:

 

  • What’s the most impressive thing you have achieved this weekend?
  • Where is the rocket science here? What is your secret sauce?
  • Why did you pick this idea to work on?
  • Why do the reluctant users hold back?
  • Who would you hire or how would you add to your team?
  • What problems/hurdles are you anticipating?
  • Who is “the boss”?
  • What is the next step with the product evolution?
  • What obstacles will you face and how will you overcome them?
  • Who needs what you’re making?
  • How does your product work in more detail?
  • What are you going to do next?
  • What do you understand that others don’t?
  • Where do new users come from?
  • How big an opportunity is there?
  • Six months from now, what’s going to be your biggest problem?
  • What’s the funniest thing that has happened to you this weekend?
  • Tell us something surprising you have done this weekend?
  • Who are your competitors?
  • What’s new about what you make?
  • How many users do you have?
  • Why isn’t someone already doing this?
  • What are the top things users want?
  • How do you know customers need what you’re making?
  • What domain expertise do you have?
  • What, exactly, makes you different from existing options?
  • What’s the conversion rate?
  • What systems have you hacked?
  • Who would use your product?
  • How will customers and/or users find out about you?
  • Why did your team get together?
  • In what ways are you resourceful?
  • What is your distribution strategy?
  • What has surprised you about user behaviour?
  • What part of your project are you going to build first?
  • What resistance will they have to trying you and how will you overcome it?
  • How are you understanding customer needs?
  • What’s the biggest mistake you have made this weekend?
  • Who might become competitors?
  • What do you understand about your users?
  • What is your user growth rate?
  • What are the key things about your field that outsiders don’t understand?
  • Who is going to be your first paying customer?
  • If your startup succeeds, what additional areas might you be able to expand into?
  • Who would be your next hire?
  • How do you know people want this?
  • What do you know about this space/product others don’t know?
  • How much money could you make per year?
  • How long can you go before funding?
  • How will you make money?
  • Will your team stick at this?
  • How much does customer acquisition cost?
  • How did your team meet?
  • Who in your team does what?
  • How are you meeting customers?
  • How many users are paying?
  • How is your product different?
  • Are you open to changing your idea?
  • What makes new users try you?
  • What competition do you fear most?

 

Good luck!




TD Keeps An Eye Out For Banking’s Next Big Thing

TDCanadaLogo_1

Banks — careful, steady, conservative. Tech startups — frenetic, disruptive, edgy.

 

Can two such seemingly different cultures get along? TD Bank Financial Group thinks so.

 

“TD is proud of its strong culture of innovation,” says Jeff Martin, senior vice-president and chief information officer, direct channels technology solutions “We are continually looking for opportunities to improve our products, services and ultimately our customer experience.”

 

TD knows a thing or two about building businesses and balancing risk and growth. It has worked with entrepreneurs for 160 years, which is why its involvement in Startup Weekend Nov. 14-16 in five Canadian cities — Vancouver, Quebec City, Fredericton, Halifax and St. John’s — is such a great fit.

 

Held around the world, Startup Weekends bring together entrepreneurs for 54 hours of intense business development that concludes with a pitch to a panel of experienced executives. As part of its sponsorship, TD has a panelist in each of these five cities.

 

To kick off Startup Weekend, Jeff Martin talks about banking and startup cultures; and why Startup Weekend is such a fantastic opportunity for both.

 

 

 

Why is TD a Startup weekend sponsor?

 

TD has always encouraged innovation that will benefit banking and our customers. This forum is a great way to connect with the community and hear a lot of different ideas. We’re attracted to the high-energy/ high creativity environment – which is what Startup Weekend offers: a way to tap into that creativity to find ideas we may have not thought of using traditional methods.

 

 

 

What are some of the customer trends in banking that drive the interest in ideas at the startup level? 

 

The biggest trend is mobilization. Take mobile deposit as an example. We just launched this capability at TD, and have already seen over 115,000 cheques deposited this way in just two weeks.

 

 

 

Startup Weekends give you a front seat on some really smart ideas from some really smart people. What do you think startup entrepreneurs can learn from TD?

 

Historically, startups had to go through a very long on-boarding process. Now we can work with them, to help them understand the needs of a bank while they mature that product more quickly, so we can launch it when customers are ready.

 

I think the biggest thing the bank can offer is perspective. . . on what we think is important to bring to market, and the attributes of what they’re doing that we think are viable in our industry . . . They will definitely get value from working with a 160-year-old company that has gone through a lot of change, and is very stable and thoughtful about what it does.

 

 

 

What would you tell an entrepreneur about preparing for the Startup Weekend experience? 

 

They should rest-up, and come with ideas that are well-formed, with an action plan about how to escalate them quickly. Always think about what’s in it for the customer. How does this benefit people? If they are always thinking about the benefit to the end-user, it will help to create viable products. That customer may be the bank; but ultimately, it is the bank serving its customers.

 

There is so much technology advancement happening today, I wouldn’t put limits around what we want to achieve. People are always inventing new ways to make banking more comfortable. We’re not at the end of it, that’s for sure




Prizes Pack for SWNB Spring 2015!

Learn-to-Pitch

Soon the Pitching Hour will begin. You’ll all work incredibly hard. It’s inspiring to watch how your teams have formed around such cool ideas, and how those ideas have begun to transform and mature.

 

While it’s true that this is a competition, the real prize is the experience, the learning, and the connections that you’ve made. Those things are priceless.

 

Check out the prizes packages that you will all be competing for. Massive props for the folks who have generously donated these prizes. These prize packs are designed to help you further your business beyond Startup Weekend, so take full advantage of them.

 

1st Place

  • Free Sales Coaching!

  • Free Accounting & Business Advice!

    • Up to 8 hours of accounting, personal or corporate tax, and HST, advice with respect to corporate structure and incorporation, computer accounting setup or training (Simply Accounting) and other business advisory services the winners may require.

    • Big thanks to Ron Sauntry from Shannon Buffet! http://www.Shannonbuffett.ca

  • Planet Hatch Goodies!

    • Team entrance into the next Planet Hatch 3-day crash course

    • Planet Hatch swag bag

    • $100 of Clarity credits

    • Big thanks to Sally Ng from @planethatch http://www.planethatch.com

 

2nd Place

  • Free Sales Coaching!

  • Free Accounting & Business Advice!

    • Up to 6 hours of accounting, personal or corporate tax, and HST, advice with respect to corporate structure and incorporation, computer accounting setup or training (Simply Accounting) and other business advisory services the winners may require.

    • Big thanks to Ron Sauntry from Shannon Buffet! http://www.Shannonbuffett.ca

  • Planet Hatch Goodies!

    • Team entrance into the next Planet Hatch 3-day crash course

    • Planet Hatch swag bag

    • $100 of Clarity credits

    • Big thanks to Sally Ng from @planethatch http://www.planethatch.com

 

3rd Place

  • Free Professional Coaching!

    • 4 Professional Coaching Sessions by Talent Edge

    • Big Thanks for Robert Ogilvie! @talentedgeinfo

  • Free Accounting & Business Advice!

    • Up to 4 hours of accounting, personal or corporate tax, and HST, advice with respect to corporate structure and incorporation, computer accounting setup or training (Simply Accounting) and other business advisory services the winners may require.

    • Big thanks to Ron Sauntry from Shannon Buffet! http://www.Shannonbuffett.ca

  • Planet Hatch Goodies!

    • Team entrance into the next Planet Hatch Planet Hatch 3-day crash course

    • Planet Hatch swag bag

    • Big thanks to Sally Ng from @planethatch http://www.planethatch.com

massive thanks to all of the prize doners!

Permission-Starts-Here-2 shannonbuffet

 

planet-hatch

Happy pitching and good luck!




Why Startup Weekend is not a Hackathon

Historically, Startup Weekends have been casually referred to as, or quickly lumped in with, ‘hackathon’-style events.

While hackathons are extremely valuable and operate as a great addition to the startup ecosystem, it is important to recognize a few key differences between hackathons and Startup Weekend events so that everyone can better understand both the goals, benefits, structure, and sought after outcomes of participating in each type of event.

A hackathon (‘hack’+marathon), according to Wikipedia in this case, is defined as;

An event in which computer programmers and others in the field of software development, like graphic designers, interface designers and project managers collaborate intensively on software-related project. […] Hackathons typically last between a day and a week in length.  Some hackathons are intended simply for educational or social purposes, although in many cases the goal is to create usable software, or to improve existing software.  Hackathons tend to have a specific focus, which can include the programming language used, the operating system, an application, an API, the subject matter, and the demographic group of the programmers.  In other cases, there is no restriction on the type of software being created.

Regardless of which definition is cited, hackathons are always characteristically focused on developers and technology.

The idea of making something work in a short amount of time certainly parallels the Startup Weekend tone of “No Talk, All Action” – but Startup Weekend utilizes this mantra as a means to achieving a hands-on educational experience as the ultimate goal – in contrast to the hackathon approach of creating a finished, functioning product above all else.

Startup Weekend events focus on educating entrepreneurs by providing a platform for them as they go through the experience of creating a company.

Crucial focuses are team formation and experiential education. Trial by fire, fail fast, minimum viable product, customer validation, and lean methodology are all ideas and terms that one develops a thorough understanding of during the weekend.  Simply put, Startup Weekend events are about building and empowering entrepreneurs rather than emphasizing the creation of code, apps, or other deliverables.  Certainly, teams are strongly encouraged to end the weekend with as much completed as possible, but the true success of a Startup Weekend event relies on the value and depth of the learning experience for each participant.  Even teams who are unable to come away with a prototype by the end of the weekend tend to leave with a network of entrepreneurs and mentors as well as an invaluable experience that simply cannot be duplicated in a classroom.  Through each event, Startup Weekend aims to positively impact and build the entrepreneurial community with the notion that individuals and teams are the most valuable assets to startup ecosystems, not the technology or code that is a result of the weekend.

Startup Weekend and hackathons generally differ in regards to the following pillars:

Ideas:  Generally, a hackathon is focused on a particular element or technology.  Participants will set out to solve a problem, build on a certain platform, or make existing tools more efficient with better code.  When Startup Weekend participants pitch an idea to the entire group at an event, one can expect to hear an extremely wide variety of potential projects introduced. Individuals from a number of different backgrounds are highly encouraged to introduce their idea, even if it is unprecedented in the ‘tech’ startup world.  Startup Weekend aims to encompass all types of skills and prove that entrepreneurship is a viable option for anyone; therefore, participants from non-tech backgrounds are highly encouraged to share their unique perspectives and talents with the community.  In this sense, Startup Weekend events operate with the benefit of a more open and fluctuating pool of skills – and as more people from differing backgrounds come together at Startup Weekend events, the entrepreneurial revolution continues to expand in terms of its reach and impact.

Competition: It is a common misconception that the ‘competition’ aspect of Startup Weekends are central to the organization and goals of the event altogether. Incorporating a competitive aspect to the event helps to motivate participants and creates a high-energy atmosphere that tends to propel the rapid flow of ideas and expedite organic team-building.  Ultimately, educating entrepreneurs always takes precedence over the concept of a ‘winning’ idea or team.  Notably, many hackathon teams cease work on a project once the competition is over, suggesting that the time frame of the event is intended to produce a finished product and conclude creation and development upon the completion of the competition itself.  Hackathons are primarily efficiency-based; as mentioned previously, they are ‘the’ event for individuals hoping to create a finished product in a set amount of time above all else.  Startup Weekends aim to make educational aspects and a chance to take something past the weekend the first priority.

*A note on prizes: Prizes at Startup Weekend are intended to prolong one’s entrepreneurial journey with introductions to mentors and/or venture capitalists who can provide valuable insight into maintaining and improving one’s business or product, or even rare opportunities to virally market one’s startup.  At hackathons, money often becomes a key motivator for continuing work.  Often, money can offer immediate gratification but fails to ensure long-term sustainability.

Education: Startup Weekend events have built-in educational elements that include pre-event bootcamps, world-class mentors, advisors, judge feedback, facilitator input, sponsor access and resources, Organizer support, themed toolkits and downloads, and post-weekend advocacy from the entire Startup Weekend community. By offering these resources to the Startup Weekend community, entrepreneurs are also encouraged to continue their learning experience beyond the weekend itself.

Community & Culture: At Startup Weekend, community diversity and varying skill sets are celebrated.  The importance of all skills is emphasized at events with the understanding that dynamic groups with a number of backgrounds tend to produce the most cohesive, creative teams.  Each attendee, regardless of their type of contribution (developing, designing, business and marketing), is recognized as a highly valuable asset to the community, and it is crucial that not one area is valued above another.  In addition, Startup Weekend makes the continuation of the community as a whole a top priority. Once one attends an event, one is automatically a part of the Startup Weekend family – one of the most rapidly-growing, supportive global communities.

Events: Contrary to popular belief, Startup Weekend’s mission is not focused primarily on events. Weekend events prove to be the most effective way of instigating a fast-paced, low-pressure educational environment for participants.  Events are our central vehicle for education, but the Startup Weekend impact exceeds its reach far beyond the course of one weekend. Whether it is through network and community, resources and programs, or simply the inspiration and empowerment that is a common byproduct of events, Startup Weekend differentiates itself from hackathon events through its continued presence in the lives of entrepreneurs worldwide – leaving lasting impressions and providing educational tools that benefit everyone.

Goals: What these differences point to above all are distinctions in mission and goals.  As discussed previously, hackathons serve a different purpose and are stylized according to that purpose.  Due to their discrepancies in vision and structure, hackathons and Startup Weekend events result in unique experiences for attendees; each offering a valuable, but different, result.

This post is borrowed from Claire Topalian’s excellent post found here.




Meet the Organizers of Startup Weekend New Brunswick!

Did you know that Startup Weekend New Brunswick is put together by volunteers? That’s right, the event is fully planned, organized and executed by volunteers! Would you like to find out more about the organizing team? Then read further and meet the people who make this event possible for you!

Startup Weekend New Brunswick is 100% led by volunteers with different backgrounds and experiences. Some of us are students, while others are moving through our careers. Why do we spend our time organizing Startup Weekend? To make Startup Weekend New Brunswick event the best ever, and to foster a spirit of entrepreneurship in New Brunswick, which we truly believe will serve to make our province competitive in the global economy. We also do this because it is a hella fun to work with each other, the enthusiastic participants and the awesome mentors.

Now let’s get a closer look to each of us:

joel

Joel Richard: Joel is a passionate practicing electrical engineer with a diverse range of experiences – from military research to power projects, and currently works for Smart Skin Technologies, a product development firm here in New Brunswick. Contributing to the high-tech community as a mentor and volunteer, Joel is excited to be on the Startup Weekend NB team to help foster innovation at home.

Mahsa Kiani: Mahsa is a software developer and researcher with over a decade of experience in product development and research in various domains including
mahsanetworking, search engines, databases, web technology solutions, and decision support systems. She has also collaborated with UNESCO on ICT projects, and published several scientific papers, and received the Award of Young Researchers Club.  Mahsa has a B.Sc. degree in computer engineering – software, and a M.Sc. degree in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics; and she is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Computer Science at UNB. Mahsa is excited to be the co-lead of Startup Weekend NB.

Joy Cummings Photo UNBRobert Ogilvie: Bobby is a Project Manager and Professional Coach.  His background is in sales, organizational psychology, and technology management, and he’s researching emergent leadership and team innovation performance for his MBA thesis.  Aside from Startup Weekend, he’s also the Mentorship Director of Startup Fredericton, Secretary of the Union of Graduate Student Workers, and has lead many teams in Hackathons and Pitching competitions.

danDan Liu: Dan, as the Program Market Analyst for the TME program UNB Fredericton, helps students conduct market research related tasks as well as connecting them with the right resources. Graduated with B.ASc in Mechatronic Engineering from University of Waterloo, he has worked in automotive and consumer product industry. He has also worked as an entrepreneur, with numerous start-ups on projects ranging from software application to hardware development in wearable technology.

ProfilePhotoSaquib Kothawala (me): I am a freelancer in the emerging big data field with a degree in Mathematics from the University of Waterloo. My expertise lies in Machine Learning and data engineering. As an independent consultant to a number of startups around the globe, I understand the challenges faced by startups not only in New Brunswick, but all over the world. I also see the wealth of untapped human potential in New Brunswick, the caliber of which, isn’t common elsewhere; and its for this reason that I feel it is very important to cultivate a spirit of entrepreneurship in this province.

So come join us, meet awesome people, work on fun projects and perhaps even start a business! Oh, and we will feed you all weekend and give you a whole bunch of goodies.




New Date for Startup Weekend NB!

Rescheduled

I know you were probably looking forward to joining us on 20-22 March  – and so were we – but due to low registrations, we’ve decided to postpone to 24-26 April 2015. This will give us more time for recruitment so that we can have a really well-attended event. This is great news for you too, because at its core Startup Weekend is all about the community of people who attend. More attendees means more energy, and more creative collisions; and we really want to give you the best experience that we possibly can.

 

Startup_Weekend

 

The organizing team is deeply sorry for any inconvenience that this date change causes.  Rest assured that we are working hard to make up for! We’ve got more time to make the event bigger and better. In the mean time, you may want to consider checking out some of the East Coast Startup Week events. There are a ton of cool things happening that will whet your appetite for Startup Weekend and the wonderful world of entrepreneurship.

 

Stay tuned to us on Facebook and Twitter.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at nb@startupweekend.org

Sincerely,
The Startup Weekend NB Organizing Team




Can I participate in Startup Weekend even if I don't have an idea?

Absolutely!

If you have an idea, that’s fantastic. On Friday night of the weekend, you’ll get a chance to pitch your idea to the group and recruit a team to make your idea a reality (check out the format here). But maybe you don’t have an idea. Maybe you just want to check out this whole ‘startup thing’. That’s great too!

Even if you don’t have an idea, you will have the opportunity to join a team formed around an idea that interests you. Sounds good? Good!

But maybe you are asking yourself ‘Am I ready?’ Maybe you are saying to yourself “Well, I’m not an entrepreneur or a business person,” or “I don’t know how to code, design or build websites,” or the classic “I don’t really have any ideas to pitch.”

These doubts are common and usually the real concerns behind these doubts are: 1) I am a novice, is it still really for me? 2) If I go and don’t know anything (or anybody), will everyone know that (and call me out as a fraud!)?

A big secret that entrepreneurs don’t often tell you is that every single entrepreneur, business owner and startup founder has, at some point, felt that they were not qualified, not prepared, and not ready to do what they wanted to do (and worried they’d be called out at any time as a “fraud”). This struggle defines the journey of every entrepreneur: overcoming anxiety, charting a course through haunting feelings of uncertainty, persevering in the face of self-doubt.

All entrepreneurs eventually learn to be comfortable being uncomfortable (at least most of the time), and for those that do, the rewards are immense: growth, fulfillment, self-actualization, the satisfaction that comes from building a team and the joy of turning something in your head into a real thing…

The journey is long, but it is, in the end, the reward.

Startup Weekend is designed to be a first step on that journey, the first chance to dip your toe in to the water of entrepreneurship and making your ideas happen. It is designed for EVERYONE to attend. Maybe you don’t code, design, or “have ideas” (though secretly everyone has ideas), that’s ok because there will be others there that do. Everyone has a skill that they will contribute to a team, whether its writing, leading, interviewing, cheerleading, pats on the back, drawing, researching or a plethora of other things needed for each team to succeed—everyone and anyone has something to contribute to a Startup Weekend team (and often times at Startup Weekend you’ll discover skills you never realized you had!).

If you have doubts about attending, you’re nervous and worried that you are “not ready,” maybe you have butterflies in your stomach. That’s the first sign you are on the right path.

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.

Hope to see you at Startup Weekend!

This post was inspired by (and copied from) Andy Stoll‘s excellent post – Is Startup Weekend for me?: After hearing the question ‘Is Startup Weekend for me?’ over and over, he wanted to share his perspective. Andy is a serial social entrepreneur and co-founder of Seed Here StudioVault Coworking and Collaboration Space and The Iowa Startup Accelerator. He is also a global facilitator for Startup Weeeknd.




Startup Weekend Format and Workshops

Startup Weekend Fredericton
March 20th, 2015

As we draw closer to Startup Weekend New Brunswick edition, we hope you are all excited as we are! To get everyone prepared, I thought I would put a post out explaining the format and introduce two community workshops we are hosting.

Friday: Participants arrive between 5-7 PM, begin networking, and eat dinner. After an ice-breaking game and a short introduction by the Facilitator, there will typically be 1 short speech on practical topics ranging from Pitching Best Practices to Lean Startup Methodology and more. Then the “Pitchfire” will commence: anyone intending to pitch will have 60 seconds to give their best pitch. No presentations or props needed for Friday. It will just be you and a mic. After pitches are finished, all attendees will vote on their favourites, and using these votes the top ideas will be selected to be worked on over the weekend. Teams will form organically, consolidate, and begin working.

Saturday: Teams will work all day, with the be selected to be worked on over the weekend. occasional breaks to eat or listen to 1-2 short talks. Coaches will be circulating to provide concrete advice in the field of their expertise for those teams that want it.

Sunday: Teams will work uninterrupted from morning until mid-afternoon. They’ll begin wrapping up their product/prototype and/or presentation around 3-4 PM to do tech-checks and practice their demonstration. After all Judges have arrived presentations will begin: each team typically has 5 minutes plus 2-3 minutes Q&A from the jury (this varies occasionally.) The jury will select the top teams, give out prizes (if applicable), and the event ends (and celebration begins!)

Workshops: In order to get everyone ready for the weekend, we are organizing two free community workshops. The goal of these workshops is to provide you with the tools and information needed to get the most out of the weekend. The first workshop will be held on March 12 at the Fredericton Public Library between 12pm to 1pm. The second workshop will be held on March 13 at UNB (GE126) from 4:30pm to 6pm. To sweeten the deal, snacks will be provided during the workshops!The workshops will cover two very important skills that every entrepreneur must master. The first is to effectively pitch your idea and get your audience excited. The second is familiarity and mastery of the Business Model Canvas, a strategic management and entrepreneurial tool. It allows you to describe, design, challenge, invent, and pivot your business model. These two tools will be very important for Startup Weekend, and crucial for your entrepreneurial career.

We hope to see you there and best of luck during Startup Weekend!




Thaw out your ideas… Startup Weekend New Brunswick is back!

Startup Weekend New Brunswick
March 20th, 2015

Startup Weekend comes to Fredericton this Spring Equinox (20-22 March 2015).
Spring thaw. Spring cleaning. Spring time is ripe for new beginnings. A time for change.

Maybe you’ve had a great business idea in the freezer for a while. Or maybe you’re thinking about a career change. If you’re drawn to the life of an entrepreneur, even if (or especially if) you are uncertain of the first steps, join us for Startup Weekend.

Startup weekend is 54-hour event where developers, designers, marketers, product managers, and startup enthusiasts come together to share ideas, form teams, build products and launch companies in this is no talk, all action event! Want more info on what Startup Weekend is all about, its format, and what you can expect?  Check out the About Startup Weekend and First-Timer FAQ pages.  There’s also a great Canadian-made video talking about Startup Weekend.

This is the last week for Early Bird pricing! Until March 1st, you can get your ticket to Startup Weekend for just $60 ($40 for students). This covers your food for the entire weekend (that’s six meals, folks!), gives you an opportunity to pitch your own business idea and form a team (or join forces with someone else’s idea), and gives you access to some of Fredericton’s entrepreneurial business leaders as your personal mentors.

If you’re still not sure about this whole Startup Weekend thing, we will be hosting Startup Weekend information sessions in Fredericton over the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned to us on Twitter, Facebook and nb.up.co

Say goodbye to old man winter and let’s get stuff done!




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