Ever heard of Startup Weekend? If you’re interested in entrepreneurship, chances are you’ll have come across this term before.
And if you haven’t heard of it but are keen on starting your entrepreneurship journey, we’ve got the answer for you.
What IS Startup Weekend?
Startup Weekend is an event that focuses on the ideation and execution of an early startup. This event is typically held within a 54-hour window over the weekend, hence the name. Startup Weekend encourages groups of individuals with differing backgrounds to brainstorm ideas. These ideas are then discussed and worked on in the hopes of coming up with prototypes by the end of the weekend. Moreover, the event is a huge hit among working professionals such as developers, business managers, startup enthusiasts, etc.
Now that we’ve got our textbook definition out of the way, we can move on to the “meat” of our article.
Let’s say you’re interested in joining a Startup Weekend event. You’ve scouted the closest venues and you’ve made your choice on which to attend. What now? Well, there are a number of important things to remember before the big weekend arrives.
But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Read on about our walkthrough of a typical Startup Weekend.
Startup Weekend Meet Up/Team Up
The first day of Startup Weekend happens on Friday evenings. This is where you’ll first meet your potential teammates and fellow startup connoisseurs.
The event starts with dinner (every great event starts with good food!) to get the participants settled down. The facilitator will kick things off and give a bit of an idea of what to expect for the weekend. But this is only the appetizer, the real fun starts now!
Got an idea? You’ll be given one minute to pitch your idea in front of the group. Our advice is to not get flustered or shy when it comes to pitching your ideas. After all, this is just an informal idea pitch, no presentations or props required. If you don’t have an idea, not to worry! You can still contribute your skills to worthy ideas!
After all the pitches are concluded, voting begins. Participants vote to determine which business ideas will be developed over the weekend. And those who were not apart of the idea pitching phase may join other teams.
Worried that you won’t fit in? Fret not, you’ll be given the choice to work on ideas you deem worthy. That way, the entire team will come together organically under a common goal. We’d say that this will make the process go a lot smoother!
Working @ Startup Weekend
On Saturday, participants will work around their ideas to come up with viable business models. Some may even go out into the community to interact with potential customers, sort of conducting a preliminary market research. This allows them to find out if their ideas are useful to the community. And if not, they’ll get a chance to figure out what can they do to change that.
The best thing is, you’ll get advice straight from experienced coaches. The advice imparted by the coaches is indeed a valuable experience in itself. The coaches and local mentors are normally entrepreneurs, investors, designers, developers, and so on. Basically, people who have already gone through these processes many times.
Once you’re done for the day, sit back and relax. You’ll need all the creative juices you can muster for the final day of your Startup Weekend!
The Final Day of Startup Weekend
Practice, refine, and pitch. Teams will continue their quest to work on their ideas on Sunday. Meetings with coaches are expected. And refining business models and incorporating final insights will be necessary. Teams will also develop their revenue models and cost structures on the final day. On top of this, teams will also need to prepare their final presentations with the pitch coaches before night comes.
What happens on Sunday night? The culmination of all your efforts throughout the weekend. The final stretch before the finishing line so to speak.
Each team will deliver a four to five-minute presentation to a panel of judges in the style of an investor pitch. Also, do expect a short Q&A session after each presentation. So don’t be afraid to ask/answer questions!
After all the teams are done, the judges will make their final decision. The winners of Startup Weekend will receive various prizes for their efforts.
What’s next after this? Celebrate! Your hard work has finally come to fruition. Oh, and remember to also take advantage of the opportunity to mingle around with your peers and mentors. Networking is a very important part of startup culture!
And there you have it, the end of Startup Weekend.
Whether you are a serial entrepreneur or new to the startup scene, we’d highly recommend that you take part in Startup Weekend if you can. And don’t worry about awkward social interactions. You’ll definitely fit right in if you’re motivated to build a startup or are open to new ideas.