Entrepreneurs Prepare for Startup Weekend Maui at Business Canvas Model and Lean Startup Overview Workshop

Lean_Startup_workshop

A big mahalo to Tarik Sultan, Manager Partner of Sultan Ventures, for leading yesterday’s “Business Model Canvas and Lean Startup Overview,” one of two free workshops MEDB has offered to prepare entrepreneurs for next week’s Startup Weekend Maui.

 

Those who attended yesterday’s workshop learned the value of the Lean Startup method, a scientific approach to creating and managing startups. This approach teaches you how to drive a startup – how to steer, when to turn, and when to persevere – and grow a business with maximum acceleration. It is a principled approach to new product development.

 

According to Tarik, the most important things for a new startup is having the right value proposition for the right customer segment and, more importantly, it has to be a unique value proposition. It means knowing what differentiates you from your competitors, identifying your customer segment, and making sure your product or service fulfills a need. Ask yourself – is my product or service a pain-alleviator, a game creator? Am I making my customers’ lives easier and/or taking away a pain that they experience day-to-day?

 

Tarik who, with this brother Omar, have been involved in every Startup Weekend in Hawaii since the beginning are looking forward to next week’s Startup Weekend on Maui happening May 13-15.  “Personally, working with startups is great because I get to put on a different hat every day. One day I’m working on a lifestyle startup, another day I’m working on a clean tech startup. So it’s really cool to see the impact these entrepreneurs are having on the world.”

 

Don’t forget there’s one more opportunity to get ready for Startup Weekend Maui with the upcoming Pitch Bootcamp on Tuesday, May 10th. Perfect their startup pitches and receive feedback from peers and mentors during this free workshop. You’ll gain helpful tips on crafting a strong 60-second pitch for your startup idea and have an opportunity to hone your presentation skills through practice sessions.  Dinner will be provided.

 

To register for the Pitch Bootcamp and the 2016 Startup Weekend Maui events, visit bit.ly/startupmaui2016, or contact Jessica Crouse at info@hightechmaui.com or (808) 270-6811.




Insights from a Technology Entrepreneur and Small Business Owner

fry-headshot-2014

David Fry is a technology entrepreneur and small business owner. Fry is the founder of Tanuki Interactive, a web consulting company focused on the hospitality industry. In 2015, Fry founded Board.Vote, an online voting system for non-profit boards which won first place at Startup Weekend Maui. Fry lives in Haiku and serves on the board of the Haiku Community Association.

For many aspiring entrepreneurs, it’s exciting to come up with an idea for a new business. But after some initial brainstorming, and talking about an idea with friends, it can be challenging to take the first steps. Too many great business ideas are never pursued and remain nothing more than a daydream.

 

At it’s core, the value Startup Weekend provides is to help entrepreneurs overcome that inertia. In a single weekend, a small motivated team can take an idea and create a new business. The key factor is the ethos of the program, “no talk, all action”. An idea can easily fall victim to “analysis paralysis” – the endless brainstorming of the idea before any work is done. By focusing on the work first, a team can make a lot of initial progress, while learning and finessing the idea as it develops.

 

Startup Weekend  also provides an opportunity for an entrepreneur to build a team. While it is theoretically possible for a single person to conceive and build a new business from scratch, a few good team members can make a big difference in the success of a project. Without a team, an entrepreneur often lacks the kind of feedback that could improve their idea. Team members provide valuable insight, specialized skills and much needed encouragement to continue. And beyond your team, Startup Weekend brings together a great team of coaches to provide advice when you need it.

 

Startup Weekend has become an important first step in the process for those companies seeking venture capital funding. An idea that is presented at Startup Weekend and nurtured through that process is then better prepared for a venture accelerator which can further develop the business to the point where funding is possible.

 

But many of the companies that succeed at Startup Weekend are not a good fit for venture funding. These teams still see a great value in the program because it helps to build a team, flesh out an idea and overcome the inertia to get started. Some of our previous participants in Startup Weekend  have used the program as a launch pad to start successful companies here on Maui.

 

The 2016 Maui Startup Weekend is coming up. If you’ve got an idea for a new business, all you need is a 60-second pitch and a willingness to work one very long weekend to get it started.




Things to Know Before the Event – Insights From an Innovation Manager

Thelma

Thelma Alane is the Innovation Manager for the High Technology Development Corporation, which includes managing HTDC’s Maui Research & Technology Center and the new Cohana Coworking space in Kihei.  She is a serial entrepreneur who loves finding new and creative ways to use technology to solve our local and global pain points. 

 

Have you been bitten by the startup bug?  Are you passionate about an idea and want to figure out how to make that idea a reality?  Then we have just the right event for you!  Maui Startup Weekend, like all startup weekends is about bring people together with ideas, skills and know-how and work as a team to bring that idea to life.  Here are some things that you should know or plan on before attending the event.

The Idea

You’ll have only about 60 seconds to pitch your idea.  So make sure to practice your delivery a few times before getting in front of the crowd.  Getting in front of the group and pitching your idea doesn’t mean it will be selected to be worked on, so the better and clearer your delivery, the more likely you will win collaborators.

Things to include in the pitch:

  1. Define the problem/pain point your idea addresses
  2. Describe how your solution is the better mouse trap for this problem
  3. What kind of people you want/need on your team

That’s it, keep it simple and clear.  Practice so that you can eliminate the nerves that can occur in speaking to a group and show your passion – real need, clear and definite approaches and passion will win collaborators to help you over the weekend.

The Weekend

If your idea gets picked plan to work the entire weekend to be ready for the Sunday afternoon presentation event.  You will get help from coaches as well as collaborators.  Depending on your idea, you want to make sure to attract developers/tech types as well as design/creative types to help you put a little know-how and polish on your final product.  With any luck these folks could become part of your founding team to go from start up to full blown business…the ultimate wish of all of us with startup in our blood.

If your idea doesn’t get picked…plan to work the entire weekend on another idea.  Trust me this will give you a ton of experience and learning on how to turn and idea into reality even if it isn’t your idea.  This will either help you to figure out what to tweak on your own ideas or give you a clear understanding of just how much work and passion can be involved in starting and building a new idea into a business that may start out on Maui but could grow to be a global brand.  So do this for yourself and your idea!

The Last Day

After working hard all weekend the final thing you do is give a panel of judges a presentation of your idea in the form of a prototype product or application that was developed over the weekend.  This presentation is a kin to a product/startup pitch and extremely good practice for future start up endeavors.  Pitching is an art that can be learned and will help you obtain collaborators, customers and investors, every presentation is one step closer to being comfortable and relaxed while doing the pitch.  I can’t emphasize strongly enough how important this one step is in all you and your business will achieve over the next few years.  And it will not hurt you to be acknowledged as the winner of this weekend event, not only are there prizes, but local media attention as well.  Becoming known in the local community can be leveraged into support to achieve your more national or global dreams.

 

So bring your ideas, bring your skills and know-how.  Work hard have lots of fun and meet like-minded people.  A great way to spend a weekend!  Good Luck – may the best idea & team succeed!

 




Startup Weekend Maui offers two workshops: The Lean Startup Overview and The Pitch Bootcamp

Get ready for Startup Weekend Maui with two free workshops offered: Business Model Canvas and Lean Startup Overview on Thursday, May 5th and Pitch Bootcamp on Tuesday, May 10th.
Get ready for Startup Weekend Maui with two free workshops offered: Business Model Canvas and Lean Startup Overview on Thursday, May 5th and Pitch Bootcamp on Tuesday, May 10th.

 

KIHEI, Maui, Hawaii – April 19, 2016 – In preparation for the 3rd Annual Startup Weekend Maui set for May 13-15, Maui Economic Development Board (MEDB) is offering two free workshops: Business Model Canvas and Lean Startup Overview on Thursday, May 5th and Pitch Bootcamp on Tuesday, May 10th. These sessions provide an opportunity to prepare for and/or learn more about Startup Weekend Maui, an empowering event that will provide entrepreneurs with an opportunity to learn how to launch a company in 54 hours.

 

Both workshops will be held at MEDB’s Malcolm Center at 1305 North Holopono Street, Kihei, from 5 pm to 8 pm.

 

The Business Model Canvas and Lean Startup Overview will present a template for developing new or documenting existing business models. Led by the winning team of Sultan Ventures and XLR8UH, this crash course will offer a powerful visual management tool outlining elements of a firm’s or product’s value proposition, its customers, and finances. The resulting data will help you align and evaluate your business activities by recognizing potential tradeoffs in a much easier and effective way – important information for any entrepreneur.

 

The Pitch Bootcamp will bring community entrepreneurs together to perfect their startup pitches and receive feedback from peers and mentors. Participants will also gain helpful tips on crafting a strong 60-second pitch for their startup idea and have an opportunity to hone their presentation skills through practice sessions.

 

“These events are a great ramp-up to Startup Weekend Maui and will help participants have the best Startup experience possible,” said Frank De Rego Jr., Director of Business Development Projects at Maui Economic Development Board. “Come join us to sharpen your entrepreneurial chops to get the most out of the intense, fast-paced Startup Weekend and to get a taste of how the Lean Startup methodology can help you reimagine how to do business.”

 

To register for the two workshops and the 2016 Startup Weekend Maui, visit bit.ly/startupmaui2016, or contact Jessica Crouse at info@hightechmaui.com or (808) 270-6811. Connect with Facebook.

 

Startup Weekend Maui is presented by the Maui Economic Development Board. Event sponsors include County of Maui Mayor’s Office of Economic Development, High Technology Development Corporation, Hawaii Strategic Development Corporation, HI-Growth Initiative and Pacific Media Group.




MEDB seeks participants for empowering entrepreneurial event, Startup Weekend Maui

Startup Weekend Maui
Last year’s empowering event drew more than 80 residents and visitors. Pictured: Members of Startup Weekend Maui’s 2016 alumni plus the coaches, mentors, judges and the Maui Economic Development Board staff. Photo by: Casey Nishikawa

 

KIHEI, Maui, Hawaii – April 5, 2015 – Maui Economic Development Board is currently seeking entrepreneurs to participate in this year’s Startup Weekend Maui set for May 13-15. Presented by the Maui Economic Development Board (MEDB), this empowering event will provide active entrepreneurs with an opportunity to learn how to launch a company in 54 hours. The event will be held at the Maui Research and Technology Park in Kihei, Maui; starting at MEDB’s Malcolm Center at 1305 N. Holopono Street, Suite 5.

In just one weekend, participants will experience the highs, lows, fun, and pressure that make up life at a startup. Surrounded by smart, passionate people and with the best tools and approaches at their disposal, they’ll take giant leaps in learning skills to create a business, work on a startup team, and connect with the right people and resources. Ultimately, it will be an unforgettable weekend that will put everyone on the pathway to success.

All Startup Weekend events follow the same basic model: On Friday, anyone is welcome to pitch their startup idea and receive feedback from their peers. Teams organically form around the top ideas (as determined by popular vote); and then it’s a 54-hour frenzy of business model creation, programming, designing, and market validation. On Sunday the teams will make their final presentations, receiving crucial feedback from experienced entrepreneurs and venture capitalists.

“Startup Weekend Maui is about learning by doing,” said Frank De Rego Jr., Director of Business Development Projects at Maui Economic Development Board. “This event provides a platform to acquire the skills and best practices necessary to build a solid business foundation. Successful entrepreneurs result in successful businesses which, in turn, provide a platform for future job creation and prosperity.”

Participants who register before the April 15th deadline will receive a 25% discount off the registration fee. Students with a valid ID will receive a 50% discount.

Startup Weekend is a global grassroots movement of active and empowered entrepreneurs of various skill sets who are learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures. It is the largest community of passionate entrepreneurs with over 2,900 past events in 150 countries around the world.

For more information and to register for the 2016 Startup Weekend Maui, visit bit.ly/startupmaui2016 or contact Jessica Crouse at info@hightechmaui.com, (808) 270-6811. Connect with Facebook (facebook.com/StartupWeekendMaui).

 

Startup Weekend Maui sponsors include: County of Maui Mayor’s Office of Economic Development, High Technology Development Corporation, Hawaii Strategic Development Corporation, HI-Growth Initiative, and Pacific Media Group.




What Happens After Startup Weekend?

After a 54-hour weekend spend brainstorming and launching projects, a lot of Startup Weekend (SW) graduates pretty much go back to the daily grind. They go back to work or school and continue to deal with whatever life has throws their way. Many, however, keep in touch with their SW teams and continue what they started.

If you want to keep the momentum going after the Startup Weekend, here are some tips you can follow.

Stay in touch with your team.

The Startup Weekend is an opportunity to meet like-minded people and create a network. You have countless opportunities to build relationships with your teammates. After SW, you should keep this network alive by scheduling regular meetings – not necessarily business-related ones all the time. You can watch movies and go out for dinner as a group. You can even go out-of-town together. Just make sure that you continue to meet and update each other. These get-togethers can lead to business opportunities and will help keep the momentum live, enough for your startup to continue taking shape.

One of the aims of Startup Weekend is to bring like-minded people together and encourage them to share ideas. This should continue long after the SW is done.

Stay in touch with your coaches/mentors.

You should be continuously in touch with those who coached and mentored you. Find time to meet with them so you can update each other. Remember that these people have contacts and can help you further develop the network you started during the SW. Again, don’t limit your meetings to business appointments; try to go out for beer or for a game of golf.

Keep your zest for learning.

Just because the Startup Weekend is done doesn’t mean you can stop stocking up on new knowledge! Your quest for learning should continue long after the last hour of the SW. Find time to learn more about the basics of entrepreneurship and startup businesses.

One of the advantages of keeping in touch with your teammates, coaches, and mentors is that you get to share ideas and exchange additional avenues of learning. There are a lot of opportunities for growth and learning, and this can only mean good things for your SW endeavors and projects.

Discover and explore.

For your project to reach its target potential, you need to keep studying the consumer market. You and your team should communicate with your potential clients. Discover what you need to do to satisfy them and explore the options available so you and your team can present your project with positive results.

Participate in other Startup Weekend events.

Your first SW experience should not be your last. Your first pitch should be followed by another. There is no rule against joining as many SWs as possible! If you can’t find one in your area or city, explore your options in neighboring places. You’re sure to find one eventually.

Continuously joining Startup Weekend events will practice you and hone your skills. Pretty soon, you’ll have all the confidence you need to develop and launch a startup.

Don’t forget to have fun!

Creating and launching a startup business or project does not mean you’ll have to work well into the night or the weekends. You and your team should find time for fun. The Startup Weekend may be an intense 54-hour brainstorming session, but it is also an event that’s full of fun and surprises. If you want your startup project to succeed, learn to integrate elements of fun and surprise into practically everything that you do.

The Startup Weekend does not stop after the 54-hour intense sessions of pitching, planning, developing, and launching a project. It’s a continuous journey that offers countless benefits and rewards to those who are determined about their goals and visions.

Good luck on your journey!




“Awesome” and “amazing” Startup Weekend Maui promotes teamwork and dynamic entrepreneurship

Is it possible to create a startup in just 54 hours? Participants from this year’s Startup Weekend Maui held May 15-17, showed it can be done.SUW_group_photo

Nearly 80 residents and visitors participated in this empowering event for entrepreneurs presented by Maui Economic Development Board held at the MEDB Malcolm Center and the Maui Research & Technology Center in Kihei. The event kicked off with 60-second open mic pitches. Then, teams were formed around the top-voted startup ideas and worked through the weekend with the help of mentors and coaches to build viable prototypes which they presented to a panel of judges on Sunday night.

Participants brought tons of energy, enthusiasm and a whole lot of creativity. Among the startup ideas that were presented were:

Review Plus – A website agnostic platform for customer reviews
Board.Vote – A Web app for team voting for non-profit leaders
ticker! – A social game for the stock market
I Waho – Science-based adventure learning program, led by licensed teachers
Waikapu Pickles – Pickles for the People!
Gydyd – compatibility online service that matches locals and visitors for an extraordinary island experience
Hana O Hana – A local outdoor market for visitors in Hana
Take My Profie – App that connects people who want photos with those who take photos

Presentations were judged by criteria that included customer validation, business model and execution.

Board.Vote, an idea pitched by StartUp Weekend Maui returnee David Fry, captured first place for a Web app business he calls Board.Vote. The Web application would allow various non-profit boards (Home Owners Associations for example) to vote on important issues remotely, saving time and effort in the voting process.1ST PLACE-board.vote

The first place team will receive a prize package valued at more than $3,400 that includes two passes to Maui Economic Opportunity’s Core 4 Business Planning workshop, a Maui Chamber of Commerce one-year membership, a one-day rental of MEDB’s Malcolm Center in Kihei, two hours of branding advice from Sae Design, a two-hour digital branding consultation by The Accidental Consultant, design and printing of a rack card or business card by Linn Nishikawa & Associates and Maui Printing Company, two hours of legal advice by McKeon Sheldon Mehling and two passes to MEDB’s business assistance workshops for a year.

“We worked really hard and we’re happy that our team got recognized in that way,” Fry said. “We knew we had a good business idea and the validation was an extra nice touch.”

2ND PLACE-ticker

The teams of “ticker!” led by Michael Ross, an entrepreneur and full-time bartender, and Waikapu Pickles conceived by two close friends — Tammy Evangelista McGuire and Elizabeth Smith — captured second and third place, respectively. ticker! also won the audience vote.

ticker!, is an online game that allows players to compete against each other in a realistic stock market. Waikapu Pickles, plans on producing locally grown and fermented cucumber pickles to satisfy the local pickle market.
“This was an amazing experience,” Ross said of his Startup Weekend experience. “It was short. It was intense and it was absolutely great.”

3RD PLACE-Waikapu Pickles

McGuire and Smith said the idea of opening a business featuring fresh, local and affordable pickles came up in a conversation about two weeks ago.

“After this weekend, it really feels like we can do this,” McGuire said. “We really can make a go of a business. We proved there’s a market out there and we just need to obtain the products and get other things done. It feels like we got a semester of business courses in just three days.”

Everyone agreed that all who participated walked away a winner.

Paula Satterthwaite, a retiring South Maui teacher with property in Hana, expressed confidence that she would move forward with her idea of creating a centralized place for local artists and commercial vendors to sell their wares in the remote East Maui community.

“Win or lose, I’m going to do this,” said Satterthwaite. The (Startup) Weekend has just been really helpful, absolutely amazing. We’re all winners here.”

Saedene Ota, the owner of Sae Design and one of the weekend’s judges, commended Sattethwaite for her business idea and suggested she reconsider creating a nonprofit and perhaps applying for a county grant. “Obviously you’re doing this from the heart,” Ota told Satterthwaite, adding that she and a few judges were willing to contribute to startup expenses.

While anthropologist Zoe Weston’s business pitch did not make the weekend cut, she said she gained a lot of lessons in helping another aspiring entrepreneur test and shape his idea of a business. “No matter what, you’re going to learn about how to run your business by participating in this process,” Weston said.

Prior to Sunday night’s announcement of the winners, Waikapu Pickles Tammy Evangelista McGuire said the weekend exceeded her expectations. “It was awesome and so exciting. I feel like I’m Ms. America.”

“Please keep doing this,” Christopher Taylor told MEDB President and CEO Jeanne Skog during an informal feedback session. Like Weston, Taylor set his business pitch aside and helped another would-be entrepreneur test and explore a business idea. “You learn that so much happens organically,” Taylor said, adding that he learned in marketing research, businesses have to adapt based on customer wants and needs.

Facilitator Bryan “Boots” Butteling closed off the weekend by telling participants: “This is not the end. This is just the beginning.”

Participants expressed feelings of exhaustion and exhilaration after enduring the 54-hour experience with a few hours of sleep. “Remember the feeling you have right now and use that for tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day,” he said.

Startup Weekend Judge Don Kosak, the Nalukai Foundation founder/managing partner, encouraged participants to keep in touch even after the event. “This is a fantastic pool. You can grab your first employees from this,” Kosak said.

Other judges offered other advice.

Tarik Sultan of Sultan Ventures: “If you get stuck, don’t be afraid to reach out for assistance.”

Saedene Ota: “If this is your passion, pursue it.”

“It may sound rough but you have to experience failure. … If you fall down, get back up,” said Garrett Marrero, Founder/CEO of Maui Brewing Co.

“We extend a big mahalo to all the sponsors, judges, coaches, mentors, supporters and especially to this year’s participants who contributed to the success of this event,” said Jeanne Skog of MEDB. “It takes a village and without their support Startup Weekend Maui could not have been possible.”

Startup Weekend Maui was hosted by the Maui Economic Development Board (MEDB).

A special mahalo goes to our Event sponsors:

County of Maui Mayor’s Office of Economic Development
Blue Startups
High Technology Development Corporation
HI-Growth Initiative
Pacific Media Group
Startup Capital Ventures
Sultan Ventures

Judges:
Don Kosak – Founder / Managing Partner, Nalukai Foundation
Garrett Marrero – Founder/CEO, Maui Brewing Co.
Saedene Ota – Owner & Creative Director, Sae Design
Keith Powers – Managing Partner, Engaged Partners, LLC
Tarik Sultan – Managing Partner, Sultan Ventures

Coaches and mentors:
Andrea Barrica – Entrepreneur in Residence, 500 Startups in San Francisco, Calif.
Erik Blair – Owner, The Accidental Consultant
Rebecca Filipovic – Attorney, McKeon Sheldon Mehling
Kim Haueisen – Vice President of Marketing & Operations, Hawaii Fudge Company
Peter Liu – Director of Operations, mbloom
Keri Mehling – Attorney & Partner, McKeon Sheldon Mehling
Sara Smith – Founder and CEO, Wrappily
Craig Swift – Director of Business Development, Maui Economic Opportunity
Pamela Tumpap – President, Maui Chamber of Commerce
Kevin Yoshida – Neighbor Island Region Manager, Central Pacific Bank
Jeff Milone – Co-founder of Invulu – a web software, service, and application company

Event facilitator:

Bryan Butteling – Strategic Partnerships, Sultan Ventures

Startup Weekend is a global grassroots movement of active and empowered entrepreneurs who are learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures. It is the largest community of passionate entrepreneurs with over 1800 past events in 120 countries around the world in 2014.

For more information on Startup Weekend Maui, visit www.maui.jumpstartweekend.org or call Gerry Smith at MEDB at (808) 270-6803. Connect with Facebook (Startup Weekend Maui).




Startup Weekend: Questions & Answers

Startup Weekend Maui Kicks Off This Friday!

Only 7 days until Startup Weekend Maui kicks off on Friday, May 15th!  For those who will be participating, here’s some helpful Q&A to prepare for your 54-hour adventure.

What should I bring to a Startup Weekend?

Whatever you need to get your ideas going should be tucked inside your Startup Weekend bag. You’ll need a laptop (if you have one), some writing materials (you’ll find them useful once you start the brainstorming process), your business cards (you need to build your network!), a camera (you need to document everything!), and of course, a lot of positive and creative energy.

What kind of preparations should I be doing?

Doing a little research on how to make the most of the SW will help. A little background information about startup tools will also help. Check out http://startupweekend.org/resources/ for resources that might be of use to you.

If you plan to pitch an idea, get some researching done so you can come up with an interesting, persuasive, and creative pitch that will easily get the attention of people. You have to keep in mind that your primary goal is to attract a team and make them believe in your idea in a matter of seconds. Practicing your pitch (no visual aids, please!) will also greatly help.

What are the activities on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday?

Friday starts with the registration and arrival of participants. This is usually followed by a little time for networking, where you get to mingle with co-participants and guests (mentors, business leaders, and coaches). Most Startup Weekends normally have an ice breaker game before the introduction. Then the pitches will follow.

Saturday is when the teams actually get together to work and come up with the results they desire. Coaches will be moving around to observe ad offer advice to teams. There’ll be breaks for short talks and meals.

Sunday is judgment day. Teams will have the morning until mid-afternoon to work on their products/prototypes. They’ll have time to prepare and practice their demonstration before the actual presentation in front a panel of judges. At the end of the day – and the Startup Weekend – the judges will have chosen the top teams. Prizes are normally given to the winners.

Is there a criteria for the ideas that can be pitched?

No. As long as your idea is workable, it will be eligible. It is important to take note, however, that Startup Weekends are basically tech-oriented and majority of the ideas are focused or related to the web or the mobile industry. Non-tech ideas that focus on a tech-related deliverable are welcome and even highly recommended.

I already have a business, can I pitch it to the participants?

The main aim of every Startup Weekend is to develop and launch new businesses over a period of 54 hours. It is also intended to imbibe the spirit of teamwork through collaboration. If pitching existing businesses is allowed, this purpose will be defeated.

Does the Startup Weekend require us to work non-stop for 54 hours?

No. Your schedule will be dependent on your team. There are teams that prefer to work throughout Friday and Saturday, but there are others that take breaks, too. The event organizer also has a say on this issue, especially in terms of using the venue at night.

What Happens After Startup Weekend?

After a 54-hour weekend spend brainstorming and launching projects, a lot of Startup Weekend (SW) graduates pretty much go back to the daily grind. They go back to work or school and continue to deal with whatever life has throws their way. Many, however, keep in touch with their SW teams and continue what they started.

If you want to keep the momentum going after the Startup Weekend, here are some tips you can follow.

Stay in touch with your team.

The Startup Weekend is an opportunity to meet like-minded people and create a network. You have countless opportunities to build relationships with your teammates. After SW, you should keep this network alive by scheduling regular meetings – not necessarily business-related ones all the time. You can watch movies and go out for dinner as a group. You can even go out-of-town together. Just make sure that you continue to meet and update each other. These get-togethers can lead to business opportunities and will help keep the momentum live, enough for your startup to continue taking shape.

One of the aims of Startup Weekend is to bring like-minded people together and encourage them to share ideas. This should continue long after the SW is done.

Stay in touch with your coaches/mentors.

You should be continuously in touch with those who coached and mentored you. Find time to meet with them so you can update each other. Remember that these people have contacts and can help you further develop the network you started during the SW. Again, don’t limit your meetings to business appointments; try to go out for beer or for a game of golf.

Keep your zest for learning.

Just because the Startup Weekend is done doesn’t mean you can stop stocking up on new knowledge! Your quest for learning should continue long after the last hour of the SW. Find time to learn more about the basics of entrepreneurship and startup businesses.

One of the advantages of keeping in touch with your teammates, coaches, and mentors is that you get to share ideas and exchange additional avenues of learning. There are a lot of opportunities for growth and learning, and this can only mean good things for your SW endeavors and projects.

Discover and explore.

For your project to reach its target potential, you need to keep studying the consumer market. You and your team should communicate with your potential clients. Discover what you need to do to satisfy them and explore the options available so you and your team can present your project with positive results.

Participate in other Startup Weekend events.

Your first SW experience should not be your last. Your first pitch should be followed by another. There is no rule against joining as many SWs as possible! If you can’t find one in your area or city, explore your options in neighboring places. You’re sure to find one eventually.

Continuously joining Startup Weekend events will practice you and hone your skills. Pretty soon, you’ll have all the confidence you need to develop and launch a startup.

Don’t forget to have fun!

Creating and launching a startup business or project does not mean you’ll have to work well into the night or the weekends. You and your team should find time for fun. The Startup Weekend may be an intense 54-hour brainstorming session, but it is also an event that’s full of fun and surprises. If you want your startup project to succeed, learn to integrate elements of fun and surprise into practically everything that you do.

The Startup Weekend does not stop after the 54-hour intense sessions of pitching, planning, developing, and launching a project. It’s a continuous journey that offers countless benefits and rewards to those who are determined about their goals and visions.

Good luck on your journey!




10 Questions Judges Ask Startup Entrepreneurs

Originally posted on 11/22/2014, By Mandela Schumacher-Hodge

Featured in Ask An EntrepreneurEducation Empowered TrackEducation EntrepreneursGlobal Startup BattleInnovation TrackKIND SnacksMidwestNortheastPacific NorthwestProgram Updates,ResourcesStartup DigestStartup NextStartup WeekStartup WeekendStartup WomenStartup Women Track

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The biggest startup battle in the world is currently taking place, so what better time to brush up on the things you need to present to judges, if you want a fighting chance at taking home the big prize. Assuming that your product demo went well and your user interface and experience was compelling, here are ten questions that you can expect to hear from the judges at your startup competition.

  1. What proof is there that this is a real problem?
  2. What proof is there that this is the right solution?
  3. What is your defensibility? (i.e. Why won’t an existing company do this? Why can you do it better and/or faster?)
  4. How will you get your first 100 customers?
  5. How big is the market? (i.e. How many people can potentially use this solution?)
  6. How often does your product show up in your user’s day or week?
  7. What will be your phases of product and business development?
  8. How will you monetize and scale?
  9. Why is now the right time to solve this problem?
  10. Why is your team the one who can pull this off?

 

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Throw Away the Script and 3 Other Ways to Nail Your Pitch

Pitches are difficult; they take time and effort. However, there are some tricks that anyone can use to make this daunting process easier.

Orate participated in The Startup Factory’s Fall 2014 accelerator, which culminated on November 12 with Pitch Day (also referred to as Demo Day). If you didn’t already know, it is an event where the founders of accelerated companies present on their business to a room of investors, advisors, and media. It’s stressful, and obviously, the stakes are high. (Check out the pitches here.)

We spent three weeks preparing for what we anticipated to be among the most intimidating 8 minutes of our lives. Writing scripts, scrapping them, re-writing scripts, practicing, refining, tweaking.

We practiced alone, in front of the managing partners, our team and the other companies. We worked on the pitch literally every day for three weeks. In that time, some very important lessons surfaced that stood true for myself, as well as the four other founders pitching that day.

  • Be yourself. The best presentations were given by every single one of us when we let our guard down a bit and added our own flare to the pitch. Whether that was through facial expressions, changes in tone of voice, or impromptu quips. Doing this not only helps you come across more genuine, but will also makes you feel more comfortable. The #1 piece of advice I’d give to you is to let your personality shine through in your presentation.
  • Throw away your script as early as possible. The earlier you toss the script, the less scripted you will sound in the end, and the easier time you’ll have doing #1. This will also help you adjust your presentation to use words and phrases that feel more natural to you, reducing the risk of stumbling over your words come game time. Focus on the message and ideas you want to convey, and remember there are always multiple ways to do that.
  • If you make a mistake, nobody will know except you. Nobody else knows what you’re going to say, so if you change a word or skip something, the audience has no idea. Just stay confident and keep going. At one point during my pitch I completely forgot what came next. I simply paused, smiled, and made sure to breathe while I gathered my thoughts. It felt like ages that I was silent up there, but it was actually only a few seconds and nobody even noticed. Fun Challenge: Watch the video of my pitch below, and see if you can figure out where this happened. (Email your answer toinfo@orate.me, and we will send you something special if you get it right!)
  • Don’t over practice. My best pitches were always the first or second of the day. The other presenters shared a similar experience. One of them told me there was one day he just kept getting worse, but he wanted to keep practicing until he got it right. Eventually he gave up, and it even negatively affected his practice the next day because he was so nervous that he would have a repeat of the day before. The sweet spot seems to be 1-3 times per day.

Want to impress investors with your next pitch?  Grab the The Startup Factory’s pitch training deck here!




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