10 Awesome Things I'm Going to Do While Facilitating Startup Weekend Miami Diversity

To close out UP Global’s Editions Month campaign, I’ll be hosting a diversity edition of Startup Weekend in Miami. To be held at VentureHive, one of Miami’s top startup accelerators, this event is lead by Paula Celestino, a previous Startup Weekend Tampa winner who co-founded KlosetKarma from her experience, an app that monetizes your wardrobe.

While this is not my first time in the glorious state of Florida, this is my first time in Miami, which means I’ll be full of regret if I do not accomplish the following.

1. Take a photo of myself wearing pastel colors.

miami men's fashion

I prefer to wear darker tones (black, grey, blue, etc.) – and this will not do in sunny south Florida. Fortunately Miami is one of the fashion capitals of the world, so I should be in good hands.

2. Find a proper place to “get jiggy with it.”


Yes, like to most of you, Will Smith is pretty much the cultural ambassador of Miami to the rest of the country. My goal is to find out exactly what he was talking about in that video so many years ago. Also, I now feel super old.

3. Eat the best Cuban sandwich I can find.


This is all Jon Favreau’s fault. I had my first Cuban ever… in Seattle. I can only presume that somewhere in Miami will patronize that experience … by welcoming me as their patron… perhaps serving it with some Patron?


4. Try to look somewhat sexy through salsa dancing.


Of all the items on this list, I am the most confident in accomplishing this one.

5. Jump sideways while pretending to fire two guns in air.


The ish is gonna get REAL.

6. Find some Heat merchandise for my brother-in-law.


For reasons I do not understand, my Filipino brother really likes the Miami Heat. I’ll have to get him a Wade jersey to help him through the tough times.

7. See if I look good walking around South Beach in a speedo.


Of all the items on this list, this is the one I am least confident in accomplishing.

8. Learn some Spanish. After all, this is America.


During my brief time in UP Global, I worked with an amazing bilingual team and wish I could communicate with them on their level. I only learned how to laugh. Jajaja.

9. “Seriously, Paula. We’re going dancing, right?”


I will start a dance party AT the event if I have to. Speaking of which…

10. Inspire a new community of Miamians into the startup life.

Of course, the greatest thrill of all is to pass on the experiences that I had at Startup Weekend to a new community. I am especially proud to be a part of an event that’s emphasizing diversity and openness – one of the fundamental tenets of UP Global is “radical inclusion,” where everyone should have a chance to experience what’s it like to be an entrepreneur.

Just a few weeks away. I can’t wait to get this show started!

Lee Ngo, Facilitator
Startup Weekend Miami Diversity

Lee Ngo is an UP Global community leader based in Pittsburgh, PA.

5 Reasons Men Should Attend Women's Edition

When our organizing group decided to do a Women’s Edition, we never once entertained the idea of not letting men attend. This is for a pretty specific reason: equality and empowerment for women in entrepreneurship requires men to be involved, too.

So here you go, we have five reasons men should attend Women’s Edition. Ready? Here we go!

1. Showing up is saying that you support equality for half of the population. While women may be roughly half of the humans who occupy the planet, we ladies face inequality in virtually all aspects of employment and socioeconomic development. By showing up to say that you believe women should have a place in entrepreneurship, you’re saying that you believe in equality for half the population!

2. You will have no problem surveying women for your idea. One of the difficulties of doing customer validation is finding your audience. Women – as half the population! – are an important element of customer validation, and Women’s Edition will give you an easily-available audience of women whose customer validation will be a breeze!

3. Women make spending decisions. Most tech events are mostly men; that’s one a few places where it is forgotten that women make the spending decisions. Where real people are spending real money – and not exchanging “likes” for a “yo” or a “favorite” – 85% of all brand purchases are made by women. If you’re looking to really come up with a marketable idea, learn why women spend their dollars and where – this event is perfect for this.

4. Our speakers, mentors, and judges are out-of-this-world. We have some of the most amazing speakers, mentors, and judges showing up to help you. Yes, you. You’ll be getting face time with strong women who wouldn’t have time otherwise. You’re welcome.

5. This is the first of its kind in San Diego and you’ll be part of something amazing. There is never a reason not to attend Startup Weekend. Networking, learning, creating, building – there are so many things that happen at a Startup Weekend, and that’s why so many of us keep coming back for more.

Sign up now for SWSD Women’s Edition at SDSU May 1-3.

Startup Weekend: Women's Edition

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Startup Weekend: Women’s Edition is an intensive weekend experience that will be held June 12th-14th, 2015 at the Maine College of Art in downtown Portland for​​ 70+ women participants, judges, coaches, and organizers. Participants will gather on Friday night to network and pitch business ideas, form teams around the best ideas, then race all weekend to develop the ideas into functioning businesses.

Here’s how it works:

Friday- Arrival

When you arrive at the MECA Cafe on Friday evening, you will be greeted by our volunteers and walked through the registration process. Once all participants have arrived, we will begin Startup Weekend: Women’s Edition with a brief introduction and Initial Pitches.

Friday– The Initial Pitch

Next, we will gather as a group and participants who come prepared with a business idea (not necessary!) will deliver rapid-fire (60-second) business pitches to the audience (typically about two-thirds of the crowd will come prepared with a business idea). Participants then vote for their favorite (most interesting and most viable) ideas using stickers to identify their top 3 choices. Finally, we form teams around the most popular ideas and begin discussion.

SWWE Collage 1

Saturday/Sunday morning– The MVP (Minimum Viable Product)

When you arrive on Saturday, you will begin work with your team to build a foundation for a startup business. You will work together as a team to focus on customer development, validating ideas, and designing prototypes with the help of experienced mentors (our coaches).

SWWE Collage 2

Sunday Evening- The Final Pitch

On Sunday evening, each team will present their refined pitch to a panel of judges and an audience of peer supporters. The judges offer valuable feedback and choose one winning team who will walk away with a host of prizes including business and financial services from the weekend’s participating coaches.

SWWE Collage 3

Register Now!

Questions? Contact us at portlandmainewomen@startupweekend.org.


Why We're Doing a Women's Edition

If you’re a female and you have ever attended a startup community event, you may have noticed that you might be one of few women in the room. You may have even been the only woman in the room. And you may have noticed that this is a common occurrence.

My co-organizers have all recognized the same thing I have seen: because women are often just a fraction of the attendees at a startup event, the focus and atmosphere just isn’t always conducive for women to truly participate comfortably – whether it be a pitchfest, hackathon, or hey – Startup Weekend.

This isn’t unique to startup culture, of course. Inequality in the workplace forms spaces where women aren’t able to contribute to their full potential. When it’s more difficult to be heard, the likelihood of stepping up into a role or responsibility is even more difficult. When you throw a tech-centric event into the mix, where women are typically outnumbered by men, the politics of gender, power, and privilege become a bigger issue. It’s already tough enough to step up in front of a lot of people, pitch an idea, and work the crowd! If you look out into a sea of faces and see very few faces that resemble your own, how encouraging is that? What if you’re introverted? What if you’re shy?

On top of the bravery it takes to stand up, pitch, and pour your heart and soul into a weekend of building a business, it’s a lot to face the dynamic created by inequality. We want to remove the pressure of that dynamic and provide a space where women can feel less like the minority, and more like the faces in the crowd are there to hear them out. As a women who have often been the only gals in the crowd, we know that it will make for an entirely different experience – for both women and men.

We’re excited to make this an event about empowering women. One really great part about that is that it doesn’t mean that just women should attend; some of our organizers are men, and they, too, understand that equality takes all of us. We hope you will join us and show us the energy and enthusiasm that comes with believing in an equal and empowering setting for women.

Overall, we really want to see women shine at this event. We want to see more women pitch, more women lead, and more women feeling empowered after leaving this event. We want to see this event make a difference in women’s lives and we’re excited to do this with Startup Weekend in sunny San Diego.

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.


Women Startup Weekend: la pizza la porta Sgnam!

Tra un’idea di startup e un business plan, cosa c’è di meglio di una bella pizza fumante?

Ecco allora che a Women Startup Weekend saranno con noi i ragazzi di Sgnam, pronti ad offrirci una gustosa pizzata la sera di sabato 14 marzo!

Sgnam è infatti una startup nata a Bologna da un team di giovani appassionati di cibo, web e nuove tecnologie e opera nel campo della consegna di cibo a domicilio.

L’idea alla base è semplice ma di successo: il cliente, dopo aver inserito il proprio indirizzo, trova tutti i ristoranti che consegnano nella zona e, dopo aver personalizzato l’ordine, lo invia al ristoratore. In pochi secondi il cliente riceve dal ristoratore un feedback sui tempi di consegna e dopo poco, voilà, il cibo è in tavola!

In più, Sgnam è utilizzabile sia da web che da App Mobile. Facile, no?

Ad oggi Sgnam è presente in 5 città: Bologna, Milano, Firenze, Modena e Reggio Emilia ed è stata segnalata da importanti testate come Il Sole 24 ore, Gambero Rosso e Wired.

Noi non vediamo l’ora di gustarci una bella cena a base di pizza, networking e relax tutte insieme 🙂

L’appuntamento allora è per sabato 14 marzo, grazie a Sgnam!

E tu, ci sarai?

Iscriviti subito al Women Startup Weekend: tariffa ridotta Early Bird fino al 28/02!

Poder femenino, tendencia en el emprendimiento que debe crecer en el 2015


Debo admitir que últimamente me he sentido bastante frustrada al ver que las oportunidades que se brindan equitativamente, en términos de empleo, construcción de nuevas empresas y emprendimiento en general -no en todas las ocasiones, cabe aclarar-; no se ven aprovechadas por una cantidad significativa de mujeres. Constantemente veo cómo siempre es una minoría de mujeres las que se atreven a tomar retos.

Para la prueba un botón: de los eventos de Startup Weekend que realiza UP Global anualmente únicamente el 27% del total de los participantes son mujeres y en teoría el alcance de la información e invitación a estos eventos únicamente en redes sociales y medios es a un 53% de hombres y un 47% de mujeres.

El poder femenino en el emprendimiento debe crecer en el 2015. Únicamente en 7 países del mundo -Panamá, Tailandia, Gana, Ecuador, Nigeria, México y Uganda- las mujeres reciben oportunidades equitativas a los hombres; y en algunos países como Pakistán, ni siquiera son consideradas. Incluso cuando hay mujeres que son activas y dueñas de negocios, no alcanzan su potencial, y algunos estudios concluyen que esto pasa porque ellas dudan de sus capacidades y temen al fracaso más que los hombres.

¿Cuál es la razón de que no se sientan seguras de lo que pueden llegar a lograr?

Me tomé la libertad de preguntar al respecto a amigos, familiares y compañeros de trabajo (hombres y mujeres) y encontré que algunas de las respuestas eran muy similares, pues en general la percepción es cultural.  La mayoría está de acuerdo en que las mujeres -no todas- a veces sienten que no merecen, o que todavía no están listas para asumir un rol de mayor responsabilidad dentro de una compañía; otros opinan que algunas mujeres creen que por sus planes personales (hijos, familia, etc) no sienten que sea leal tomar un rol del cual se van a tener que alejar en un futuro cercano, o que quizá la presión o fricción que creen que van a tener en el equipo de trabajo o ecosistema va a ser un problema para su crecimiento y éxito, y que incluso las prácticas sociales que vienen de años atrás no tienen incentivos hacia tomar cierto tipo de retos.

Sin embargo también me dijeron que las mujeres líderes están inspirando a otras mujeres a perseguir sus sueños, y que en términos de emprendimiento tal vez incluso sea más fácil para ellas balancear su trabajo y vida personal fuera del mundo corporativo.

Me gustaría que más mujeres participen y tomen esas oportunidades que se les presentan, que se lancen a formar equipos y creen startups exitosas en la región. En Latinoamérica la fuerza laboral femenina está pronosticada a crecer por lo menos un 12% en el 2015 y se considera que 2 de cada 10 mujeres tomará una posición de liderazgo dentro de la compañía en la que trabaja.

Además, las mujeres hacen una reinversión de más del 85% de sus salarios en sus familias y comunidades, lo que significa que invertir en las mujeres es invertir en un futuro colectivo.

El mundo necesita más mujeres emprendedoras, que se atrevan a acabar con el status quo, y que demuestren el poder y la inteligencia femenina en compañías y startups. Es momento de empezar a creer en nosotras mismas y retarnos para asegurarnos de que esa igualdad de la que tanto hablamos suceda en un futuro cercano.


Lean in, un libro de Sheryl Sandberg, que a través de una combinación de anécdotas, datos y consejos prácticos, examina las razones de la inequidad de género en casa y en el trabajo. Incentiva a las mujeres a lanzarse en sus carreras, aprovechando oportunidades y tomando posiciones de liderazgo.

Startup Weekend Women Edition, durante el #EditionsMonth en Mayo. Participa en un evento cercano a tí, y construye un startup en 54 horas.

Overheard During The Women's Policy Roundtable In Washington DC

On Wednesday, November 12th I had the privilege of attending UP Global’s Women’s Policy roundtable in Washington DC. For two hours, 50 community leaders sat in a room and had discussions around how women (and men) can change perceptions regarding the gender gap and strengthen policy reform.


UP Global’s Regional Manger, Seijen Takamura and Google’s Breanna Zwart kicked off the forum:

“We are all here to build upon the white paper’s key ingredients for fostering thriving startup ecosystems: Talent, Density, Culture, Capitol, and Regulatory Environment. With support from UP Global’s initiative #StartupWomen, today’s discussions will focus on public and private sector policy reform.”

Each table of participants was prompted to discuss the following questions:
How did you get to where you are today, and what helped you along the way?
How else can we frame this issue to engage policy makers and industry leaders to effect change?


The following personal testimonies were overheard: 

“I don’t consider myself an entrepreneur. I’m a problem solver.”

“Women believe there’s only room for a few women on the top. That’s just not true!”

“It’s our responsibility as a collective group for every women to go in and ask for what you’re worth.”

“Fortunately, in programming, the code speaks for itself.”

“Surround yourself with people who encourage you along the way. Your biggest allies are the people who see your passion.”

“Talking to people and getting it out of your brain is key! Don’t give up. The more I talk to people, the more I come across new ideas.”

“This shouldn’t be framed as a ‘feel-good’, ‘help the women’ issue. Women make or influence 80 percent of consumer purchases. It’s good business to invest in women. It’s not a philanthropic effort.”

“Being a programmer myself, I would often forget that I was a women. The bigger barrier I had was the age gap.”

“I’m constantly asking myself, ‘Am I being too nice?’ The answer is YES. Don’t be afraid to ask for how much you’re worth.”

“You can be girly AND code!”

“You’re not going to get paid what your worth but what you negotiate.”


I was honored to share a table with three industry leaders. Here’s what they had to say: 

UP Global, startup women UP Global, Startup Women UP Global, Startup Women


At the end of our forum, the entire group determined these next steps for action:

  • The power is in informing and educating women
  • Have a baseline, find the data and then use those numbers to incentivize
  • We need to recognize women as business owners
  • Women need to support other women instead of climbing over them
  • Take women out of the gender diversity box
  • We need to look at the gender gap as women’s empowerment instead of victimization
  • Lead by example
  • We need to engage our brand influencers
  • Money talks, it’s not men vs women
  • Engage men!
  • Help legislators see the win-win situation of supporting women entrepreneurs
  • Business moves faster than government, if we leverage corporate social responsibility it will set the trend
  • We need to challenge the messages that are being sent to women and girls before they enter the business world
  • Do we need hard regulation? Example: minimum number of women participation

How would you answer the question: How else can we frame this issue to engage policy makers and industry leaders to effect change?

#womenspolicyforum #startupwomen

The Science Behind Why Women Are Neurologically Equipped To Start And Grow Companies


I’m going to go out on a professional limb here and say that, while the business world is filled with male CEOs, entrepreneurs, and decision makers, women may have the physiological upper hand in natural leadership abilities.

But this isn’t just my opinion. There’s an array of scientific evidence that points toward the neurological characteristics that generally hardwire women to be successful, efficient leaders.

The Science Behind the Claim

Simply put, the female brain works differently than the male brain does. Although it’s smaller, the female brain is more complex, which can impact the way women function in the workplace. This makes women likely to possess natural characteristics of great leaders, including:

  • Conflict-management skills. Females have a larger and faster-maturing prefrontal cortex, which oversees decision-making and emotional information. This difference can help women navigate conflict resolution and compromise. The way women approach conflict is also rooted in hormones — particularly the higher levels of oxytocin present in the female body, which produce a calming and nurturing effect.
  • Memory skills. Studies have found that women, on average, retain stronger and more vivid memories of emotional events than men. It’s also been shown that women absorb and encode more information during ongoing events and demonstrate a greater ability to access those memories than their male counterparts.

All of these components add up to an emotional intelligence that is required in great leadership, according to Daniel Goleman of Rutgers University. Goleman found that truly effective leaders don’t necessarily have the best training in the world or an analytical mind; instead, they possess a high degree of emotional intelligence, including self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills.

His more recent research found six distinct leadership styles that stem from a foundation of emotional intelligence, each uniquely impacting different aspects of business. The most effective leaders possess and utilize more than one of these leadership styles in a given week, depending on the situation.

Scientific Evidence at Work

It’s been shown that women who start or lead a business not only better the lives of themselves and their families, but they also contribute significantly to their communities and economies. In the U.S., 10.5 million female business leaders contributed $3 trillion to the U.S. economy. In developing nations, women who work put 90 percent of their earnings back into their immediate families and communities, often helping to end the cycle of perpetual poverty.

And for the first time in 13 years, the Global Entrepreneurship Committee showed that women are creating businesses at a greater rate than men in three economies and at an equal rate in four countries.

There are many examples of inspiring women putting the science to work in the world today by founding and growing successful, profitable businesses, such as:

  • Wu Yajun, co-founder and chair of the Beijing-based real estate firm, Longfor Properties. Longfor Properties has more than 10,000 employees and has developed over 100 residential and commercial projects in 21 cities since 1993.
  • Zhang Xin, co-founder and CEO of SOHO China, a real estate development firm. She and her husband started the company back in 1995 and have built it to become the largest prime office developer in China.
  • Judy Faulkner, founder and CEO of Epic Systems, a privately held company that sells electronic health records in the U.S. Faulkner is a self-made billionaire and considered the most powerful woman in private healthcare.
  • Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx. Blakely invested $5,000 of her savings to develop a flattering shapewear product, which soon became a brand bringing in more than $250 million annually. Blakely owns 100 percent of her company and is the youngest self-made female billionaire to date.
  • Weili Dai, president and co-founder of Marvell Technology Group, a major California-based semiconductor company with operations in more than 18 countries. Marvell Technology works with companies including Apple, Samsung, and Google.

The intricacies of the human brain are pretty amazing. Although these complexities give every person — male or female — unique abilities, women’s brains in general are primed to process, encode, and store information, emotions, and social cues, which are essential skills for leading a growing company. In the coming years, I hope to see more women using the talents they were born with and taking the plunge into the business world.

Who is a female leader/boss/entrepreneur you admire, and what characteristics or qualities make her so influential?

Triangle Startup Weekend – Worth the Trip

Matthew Brown copy

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.