Startup Weekend 101

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Startup Weekend 101- by Startup Weekend Alumnae

Day 1: Everyone registers, enters a huge room and starts taking their places. Greet neighbors, introduce yourselves. Organizers enter to commence the program. After a few announcements and speakers, the pitching starts. You have favorites and less favorite pitches.  Once everyone is done pitching you get a chance to convince people to vote for your idea. During networking session, you walk around the room telling individual why they should vote for your idea. You vote. Top 10-15 ideas are selected and teams start forming. ‘Be honest, and direct about what resources and skills are needed for the weekend.’ Once you have your team, start discussing and brainstorming around the idea. Start work – stay until venue permits.

Day 2 begins with setting up workspace for the weekend. Teams settle in and discuss what needs to be achieved. Start turning the idea into a business plan. Mentors start arriving and mentoring teams. Remember: mentors are there to help. Talk to them regarding various aspects of your business plan and get input. Mentors from various background and industries will advice you differently, each adding their perspective into your business. Be aware of your product and take in useful information. Keep in mind what the judging criteria are (judging criteria will be posted in another blog) and work accordingly. Some questions to keep in mind while working on your projects: Who is your target audience? How are you going to make money – your revenue stream? How much is your initial investment? Where is the initial investment going to come from? Who are your competitors? How are you different from competition?

Day 3 begins with a slight panic – it’s only natural! Teams readjust to take care of more pressing parts of the project. Start work on your power point early on – it helps you stay on track. Mentors are there to help you with last minute preparations. Once you are done with your presentation – practice with timing. SW is very strict on time allocation – 5 minutes presentation. If more than one person is presenting, work on transition among team members . Some tips on presentation – get to the point, you only have 5 minutes! Think really hard about the color theme you use in the presentation – you want your presentation to look neat! Use short phrases and visuals so the presentation is not boring with long sentences on the PowerPoint. Practice Practice Practice!!!!

Once you finish your presentation – breathe in breathe out – YOU DID GREAT!!