Alex Learned New Skills at SWChiCreative

Thanks to another one of our participants for this great blog post! Here’s what Alex had to say about SWChiCreative:

I  participated in Startup Weekend Chicago – Creative Enterprise Edition on March 31st April 2nd, 2017, a great startup event organized with a support of Techstars Central, LLC. The aim of this event was to bring creative minds together, form teams and help ideas come to life. Ten teams were created from 62 attendees and 33 ideas. In the beginning of the 54-hour marathon people gave pitches and attendees voted for the ones they liked. The Startup Weekend ends with team presentations where a panel of Judges chose the top three winning teams.

The team I worked with did an enormous amount of work within three days. We have been developing two ideas: security drone and an app for last minute sharing of unused tickets. Thanks to the event organizers and supportive Coaches, teams had everything needed for efficient team work: mentoring support, refreshments and entrepreneurial spirit. At the end of the third day, we had prepared a business website, created the application structure and developed a promising five-year plan for the startup. While leaving the idea with drones for future, we concentrated on the ticket sharing app. We segmented the market, interviewed peers from potential customer groups and talked to competitors.

I can name the following benefit points about Startup Weekend that I have experienced while participating in one:

  1. Great people and networking. Everybody I met at the event was passionate and motivated about their work.
  2. Knowledge shared from diverse professionals. I personally was interested in talking to app developers and seeing how they create working iOS App prototypes in a very short period of time.
  3. Learning new skills. For instance, I created a website, learned how to register a domain name and created a basic logo. Now, I can easily apply these skills to new projects when needed.

I am very grateful to the Startup Weekend organizers for a chance to participate in such a tremendous event. I learned new skills, met great people and got energy for further professional steps.

#SWChiCreative #Chicago #Ticketshare #TransportationEmergencyDrone

Alina’s SWChiCreative Experience

Alina Rafikova is a Fulbright Scholar from Russia. Here’s what she had to say about Startup Weekend Creative:

My recent move to the windy city has definitely opened new doors for me, and more than anything, I was intrigued by the city’s spirit of entrepreneurship. Everyone around me has been either in the process of launching his/her startup or has had an experience with running one. What a better way to try it on your own might be other than visiting a startup weekend and try hands-on what it takes to make an idea come to life. Moreover, what a better theme for young creative minds might be if not a mix of arts and technology – the main theme of the Startup Weekend Chicago at Columbia College on March 31, 2017.

If you are hesitant whether to attend such event or not, let me describe you the whole experience. And, let’s start from the day one. It’s Friday evening, people start gathering at Columbia College, some being impatient to finally pitch their ideas and bring them to life, some hesitant – to pitch or not to pitch (“Is my idea worth sharing at all?”), some just wandering around, not knowing how it all works and with an interest to learn more what this weekend may bring.

Pitches start. The line of prepared and eager individuals starts to form – these are the ones who have come here to accomplish, to make THEIR ideas stand out, chosen and developed into something bigger. The second call – for those who were hesitant to go and stand in front of a crowd, third call – those, who, probably, just thought of an idea while listening to others. From 33 pitches and 14 ideas chosen, ten continued their journey, teams have formed and the weekend began!

Saturday – busy bees start their work, a plethora of discussions and those Aha! moments in your own team and teams around. Ideas change, transform, convert the whole initial plan from top to bottom – and back. You walk through the hall and you just absorb all the energy that’s coming from each corner, every person is on the peak of his or her creativity.

Sunday – sleepy creators start gathering in the room, the demand for coffee is growing. It’s quiet, everyone has his/her own task and works towards the goal to have everything done by the end of the day. Sunday midday: can anyone please bring more coffee? And please make the time stop? A couple of hours left till the presentations of the three-day work process. People running, preparing, rehearsing, writing. Time to clean a chaos on the table that served as a main spot for your team. Even though there is a competitive part in the event, the is no sense of competition between teams. Everyone is open to help, share expertise, give advice or just talk to you about the way you feel.

If someone were to ask me whether to participate in the event like this, I would strongly encourage to do so. I am sure everyone can benefit from it, learn something new from mentors, teammates and anyone around. We all think differently, so sharing opinions, own knowledge and perceptions is extremely essential. No matter what your background is, you can help others and learn from them. It is definitely worth trying – go, get out of your comfort zone and spend the weekend in a different beneficial way! Explore a new world of people, ideas and resources!

~ Alina