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When I signed up for Startup Weekend last year, my mom asked, “What is Startup Weekend, anyway?” My reply was, “Eh, I’m not really sure, but I’ll find out!” I didn’t know what I was getting into at the time, but I would soon discover what this hectic weekend is all about.

Startup Weekend is a 54-hour event that brings together developers, designers, visionaries, marketing gurus, business managers, artists, and pretty much everyone in-between. Many people come to Startup Weekend with an idea to pitch to the crowd of participants. Then everyone votes to decide which ideas will be worked on during the weekend. They form teams around the winning pitches based on their skills and passions. The teams work for hours on end, going through endless pots of coffee, to build their new startup company from the ground up. After designing, prototyping, building and testing their company, teams present their work on Sunday night to a panel of judges in a five minute presentation, as though pitching to potential investors.

Uffda! Long weekend, right? It was the longest weekend of my life – small exaggeration. Yet one year later I’m coming back. I’m excited to tell newcomers about the cool things we did that weekend, all the things I learned, and how proud I am of my Startup Weekend team today.

You might be asking yourself, “What cool things can I experience at Startup Weekend?” Well, I learned all about what it means to start a new business. All the work that goes into putting together a website, designing the content, and picking the colors takes a lot of teamwork. I learned how to work with a team toward a common goal. I learned how to find something I’m good at in an unfamiliar field, and contribute what I can.

When we pitch we practice overcoming anxiety so we can share ideas we’re passionate about. We learn how to work in teams with very different people, and rely on others when we don’t have the skills. I learned a lot of invigorating things at Startup Weekend, but most importantly, I made connections with some really amazing people in my community. I had conversations with fascinating people about their ideas and passions. You get the idea — there are a lot of exciting things to experience at Startup Weekend!

If you’re wondering whether Startup Weekend is for you, it was for me – and I’m a student with a biology major. So sign up, take a risk, and have a wonderful experience! 

The next Startup Weekend is March 3-5, just one month away! For details and tickets, visit www.up.co/communities/usa/fargo/startup-weekend/9626

McKenzy Diehl McKenzy Diehl
McKenzy is a biology major at Concordia College, a nationally registered EMT, competitive bodybuilder, and Startup Weekend Fargo winner/alum.