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Our organizing team was recently contacted by Matt Brown, an entrepreneur and Clemson MBA student who attended TSW: Health and is making the trek back to Raleigh for TSW: Women this weekend.  He was looking for suggestions of where to stay, and what happened next is the perfect representation of how welcoming and collaborative the Startup Weekend community is. Through a quick stream of email intros, Matt was connected to some local entrepreneurs who live at the ThinkHouse, a residential accelerator for young innovators, and he’ll be crashing with them all weekend. We were thrilled to see the SW community spirit take hold in such a unique way, so we decided to ask Matt a few questions before he hops in his car this afternoon!

Oh and by the way, there’s still time to grab a (discounted) ticket! You’ll meet Matt and other aspiring entrepreneurs all weekend!

TSW: Can you give us a bit of background on the Clemson MBA Entrepreneurship & Innovation program and the entrepreneurial climate there?

MB: What I love about the Clemson MBAe program is that it has given me the chance to start my own startup and get an MBA at the same time.  The Clemson MBAe program is designed to help would-be entrepreneurs bring their ideas to fruition, whether by starting your own venture, addressing societal needs via the not-for-profit sector, or within a company.  With the Clemson MBAe program based in Greenville, South Carolina we are positioned in the best city for entrepreneurship in South Carolina.

TSW: How does it compare to what’s happening in the Triangle?

MB: Personally, I love what is happening in the Triangle! After experiencing what the Triangle has to offer entrepreneurial wise, I definitely think both Greenville and the Triangle are both on the same track to growing their communities through entrepreneurship.

TSW: How did you originally hear about Triangle Startup Weekend?

MB: I originally heard about Triangle Startup Weekend through some friends who were in The Ironyard Health Accelerator in Spartanburg, SC.  My friends had participated in numerous Startup Weekend events, and told me the one coming up in the Triangle would be a great one to attend.

TSW: Why did you decide to attend TSW: Health?

MB: TSW: Health was actually my first Startup Weekend event ever.  The reason I decided to attend TSW: Health was to take myself outside of my comfort zone and learn more about entrepreneurship in the health sector.  For me, the beauty in doing TSW: Health was that I was able to learn so much about the health industry, and how entrepreneurship can make an impact.

TSW: Did you participate on a team during TSW: Health? Have you stayed in touch with the people you worked with?

MB: Participating in TSW: Health was by far one of the best decisions I have ever made!  Ever since my TSW: Health experience, not a week has gone by that I have not spoken to someone from that weekend.   Sometimes when I get a great idea for a business, I give one of them a call to get their feedback.

TSW: Being an out-of-towner and first-time attendee at TSW was probably a bit intimidating. Can you tell us what that experience was like? 

MB: Deciding to attend TSW: Health was a big step outside of my comfort zone.  Originally, I thought I needed to have a background in the health industry to participate, but once I got there I found that was not the case.  In actuality, anyone can participate in TSW: Health, for the event is all about the relationships and bonds you foster over the weekend.

TSW: How did you hear about TSW: Women in Raleigh?

MB: The way I heard about TSW: Women in Raleigh was through some friends I made at TSW: Health.  All of them were signed up to do TSW: Women in Raleigh, and they really motivated me to sign up.  Also, what makes this startup weekend so special is that the goal of this event is to encourage more women to come out and help close the gender gap in the startup community.

TSW: This time, you’ll be couch-surfing at the ThinkHouse, a living and learning environment for young entrepreneurs. What are you most looking forward to about that experience?

MB: In couch-surfing at the ThinkHouse I am excited to see this residential accelerator in person.  Currently, there is nothing like this in Greenville, so I have never seen anything like it before.   Also, I honestly cannot wait to meet the members of the house and learn more about what they are working on.  If it were up to me, I would put something like the ThinkHouse in every city possible, for I think it is great for entrepreneurs!

TSW: You’re making a drive to attend the event, so there obviously must be great value in attending. What’s most valuable about TSW for you? Why should others attend?

MB: The drive to attend the event is a 3 plus hour drive.  Regardless how long the drive is for me I am excited to be around fellow like-minded entrepreneurs.   For the value in attending events like this is unmeasureable.   No matter the distance, I think other should try to attend Startup Weekend events because you never know what you can learn or who you will meet.

 

We can’t wait to meet Matt and all of the other participants when TSW: Women kicks off tonight! Use code “TSWsupporter” for 20% off and make sure to stay tuned for a follow-up interview with Matt after the weekend comes to a close.


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Allyson Sutton