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By Jeremy Haber

I am proud to say, “We won Startup Weekend!”

I am an ambitious entrepreneur and a proud sponsor of Startup Weekend Etobicoke with Simplistics Website Design (check us out at www.simplistics.ca).

As a business that started only three years ago, it was an honor to sponsor this incredible event. Supporting entrepreneurs and growing businesses is a passion of mine – in and outside of the work place.

So when I heard I could be more than just a sponsor, but also a participant, I jumped at the opportunity. Now I must admit – I had a really long week and was looking forward to a quiet weekend at home… but developing a business in 54hours? I couldn’t pass that up.

The weekend started off with hearing each entrepreneur’s pitch. With so many great pitches and incredible ideas, it was difficult to choose just one. I really would have loved to switch between each group, but a tough choice had to be made.

I narrowed my options down to three really unique ideas. Debating between “Pop-Up Here”, “Ownwise”, and “Aqua Repair”. I also was seriously also debating joining “What do I say?” an app that crowd sources if you should say something or not – they did a really great job presenting.

With my experience in building businesses and understanding what’s most important to the judges, I knew I couldn’t resist joining “Pop-Up Here”. I asked myself if this was a company I would invest in, and it certainly was!

Once our group was established we started investigating the business direction. We went all over the map determining the best route to take the business.

We had a million questions to answer and only 54hours to answer them.

We ended up with our minimal viable product being that Pop-Up Here matches short-term vacant commercial space with businesses looking to test out an idea in a retail setting. But getting there wasn’t easy.

Should we offer to furnish the place? Why don’t the landlords already do this? Is there even a market for this? How do we make money?

So how did we answer these? We did our research and made our calls. We even did a field trip to a vendor sale happening that weekend and surveyed the local business owners.

During Startup Weekend we had the pleasure of meeting so many great mentors. These mentors helped guide us through all aspects of the business.

We were the first group to pitch to a panel of judges. Our pitch went a little long because we had just too much to say! Our idea was solid – you could feel the passion down the hall! I could have sworn Tom was pitching Apple’s latest gadget. He claims he never pitched for Apple, although they should get his number.

After hearing so many great pitches and seeing how they evolved, we were one of four teams who won a physical prize.

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These four teams were certainly not the only winners. Everyone who participated was a winner. Building a business is hard work and it takes a lot of time and dedication to be able to do that. And for every person who participated in Startup Weekend – you should be congratulating yourself!

I hope you learned something new and exciting that you will take to the next Startup Weekend! I’ll see you there with evolving new ideas!

Oh, and just a little plug:

We help new businesses every day establish a presence online. We want you to succeed, so we build result-driven WordPress websites that allow you to take control over your website’s content! Let’s talk! 905-597-6943. You can also check us out at www.simplistics.ca/

Sarah Lenarcic