Pitch Like a Girl

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The Sunday night audience of the recent Startup Weekend Seattle Girls event was different than the usual crowd. It was full of parents, young siblings, and community members beaming with pride and excitement to see the girls’ final demos. This was the final day of a Startup Weekend created just for girls ages 10-15. The event was held at Lake Washington Girls Middle School, and was a first of its kind event focused on young women and showing them the possibilities of Startup Weekend and the world of entrepreneurship.

After the final pitches got started, it was clear how hard they all worked over the weekend. The presentations went smoothly and each girl on each team spoke about a different part of their new app or website. And did I mention how excited the parents were? A Dad’s celebration scream almost scared me right out of my seat when he found out his daughter’s team won!

One of my favorite parts of the day was when the girls were asked, “what did you learn over the weekend?” Their responses were all things I wish I had learned in middle school:

  • revenue streams
  • teamwork
  • task management
  • working under time pressure
  • how to build a website

While the event was wrapping up and the girls were celebrating, I got the opportunity to speak to a parent of one of the attendees, Jeff Sprung of Seattle. One of the awesome parts of Editions Month is hearing from new audiences and demographics – so I wanted to hear his story behind his daughter being involved and hear a parent’s perspective on events like this:

I asked about the motivation behind signing their daughter up for Startup Weekend Girls. It’s a strong message and inspiration for more events like this to happen:

“What’s still holding women back from reaching the very highest levels of professional America today are stereotypes and expectations. These limitations will continue to erode, and Startup Girls propels that erosion. As parents of a girl, we try to kickstart this change by teaching our daughter to reject stereotypes and expectations about who’s in charge and who can be in charge, to take risks and fail and get up and be willing to take risks again, to get in the face of people who deny her opportunity. Giving our daughter the opportunity to learn from experts how to start up a company fits this philosophy perfectly.”

Events with young ages like this need parental support. I talked to him about why experiences like this are important for girls from the parents’ point of view:

“Our economy, our government, and our communities benefit from the unique contributions women make. We want to teach our daughter that she can achieve whatever she wants, and whatever her male classmates can achieve. Given that women in our country earn 77 cents for every dollar earned by a man, we still have a lot of work to do. I think Startup Girls can be part of the solution.”

Overall, the weekend went well and we’re thrilled to hear about learning new skills:

“My daughter worked hard and intensely to achieve what she and her team did over the weekend. This resulted in impressive accomplishments:  a great concept, financial modeling, a website, an app. I think it was eye-opening for her to see the incredibly hard work that goes into starting a new company. My wife and I were blown away by what these middle schools girls could accomplish over a weekend. We were particularly impressed by this generation’s adeptness with technology and new software applications. It far exceeds the skills of their parents’ generation!”

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Here are the final teams from the weekend, great job everyone!

1st place – Warefair

An app to guide customers to clothing retailers that practice ethical and sustainable business choices.

2nd place – Chore Hub

Helping connect neighbors through exchanging chores, easy solution to finding help for the chores you dislike!

3rd place – Monster Cupcakes

An app and website to create custom cupcakes and have them delivered to your door, pick out the flavor, frosting, decorations, etc!

Most Passionate – Pit Souls

A website dedicated to changing the people’s perception of pitbull dogs, inspired by one of the team member’s own dog.

Most Ambitious – Open Door

A website aimed at helping the homeless get back on their feet with a network of resources available online and in their local community.

 

For more information on this event and the organizing team, please visit: http://www.up.co/communities/usa/seattle/startup-weekend/5279

Interested in organizing a Startup Weekend for Girls or Youth? Learn more about bringing it to your community.

 

 








Startup Weekend GIRLS Set To Inspire Seattle’s Entrepreneurs-In-The-Making

Seattle, WA – March 3, 2015 – On May 15, 16, and 17, entrepreneurs and creative minds will be taking over Lake Washington Girls Middle School – Seattle’s first middle school for girls.  – for a Startup Weekend like no other: one specifically designed for fifth through tenth grade GIRLS. Organizers and volunteers of Startup Weekend GIRLS have been working to ensure that this event provides not only inspiration, but also the resources required for building and launching a viable, scalable company. There has never been a Startup Weekend designed specifically for girls; it feels only natural that it happens first here in Seattle, and at a school for girls that was a startup in its own right.

Startup Weekends are about learning through the act of creating. Participants don’t just listen to theory; they present their own ideas, build their own products, and put them to test while collaborating with like-minded, passionate individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds and points of view. On top of that, Startup Weekenders receive invaluable one-on-one time with the movers and shakers within the community, as local tech and startup leaders take part in Startup Weekends as mentors/coaches and judges. Some of the people we have lined up for this year include Rebecca Lovell (Startup Liaison, City of Seattle), Monica Guzman (GeekWire), Casi Schwisow (Girls Who Code), T.A. McCann (RivalIQ), Stacey Kinked (Rivet & Cuff), Bryan Lhuillier (Shiftboard), and Zach Smith (Substantial).

Startup Weekend GIRLS Edition is specially designed for the next generation’s entrepreneurs-in-the-making, fifth through tenth  grade girls. Our team of highly innovative and connected mentors and judges will create an atmosphere of exercises and experiences that will teach girls how to come up with business ideas, conduct market research, prototype, work in teams, and “pitch” their ideas to a room full of people. Our goal is to give girls the confidence to innovate and create they will need to succeed in all aspects of life.

All Startup Weekend events follow the same basic model – which will massaged a little bit to fit the needs of our aspiring entrepreneurs: participants pitch their startup idea and receive feedback from their peers. Teams form around the top ideas (as determined by popular vote), and then it’s a frenzy of business model creation, coding, designing, and market validation. The weekends culminate with presentations in front of local entrepreneurial leaders with another opportunity for critical feedback. Everyone is guaranteed to leave the event better prepared to navigate the chaotic but fun world of startups.

If you’d like to get involved with Startup Weekend GIRLS, let us know here, or at lwgms.org/su-weekend-girls. If you are a girl in fifth through tenth grade and would like to attend, get your tickets soon…we only have 35-40 spots!

We hope to see you there!

For Additional Information Please Contact:
Contact: Shannon Blaisdell
Phone: (206) 709-3800
Email: swgirls@startupweekend.org
Twitter: @StartupWGirls
Website: Startup Weekend Girls
Tickets: Eventbrite

About Startup Weekend
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. The non-profit organization is headquartered in Seattle, Washington, but Startup Weekend organizers and facilitators can be found in over 200 cities around the world. From Mongolia to South Africa to London to Brazil, people around the globe are coming together for weekend long workshops to pitch ideas, form teams, and start companies.