Building a startup can seem like an overwhelming challenge to first-time entrepreneurs. The uncharted territory of taking an idea from concept to company can feel out of reach, but the team behind Startup Weekend Columbus is working to change that. At Startup Weekend Columbus, attendees can come empty handed and leave as part of a new company—or at the very minimum—with the tools and confidence needed to build one of their own.
“Startup Weekend is an excellent opportunity for anybody with a great idea or with a general interest in startups to experiment with entrepreneurship,” said Andrea Ewing, member of the Startup Weekend Columbus organizing committee outside her day job helping entrepreneurs at Rev1 Ventures. “We get every type of person from the community—experienced entrepreneurs to designers, non-technical business people and general startup fans—to rally together around this hands-on, crash course experience with building a company.”
The 54-hour event begins on Friday evening (2/9) when anyone with an idea is invited to pitch their concept to the group. After all ideas have been heard, attendees vote on their favorite among the dozens that were pitched, and the list is narrowed down to ten to twelve of the very best. With ideas selected, attendees break into groups of five to ten and the work begins.
“They grind on these ideas all weekend. Our teams roll up their sleeves and get to work answering the tough questions: ‘Does the world need this product?’ and ‘Can we actually build this?’ Then they literally start building it,” said Matt Chimes, Lead Organizer for the event outside his day job as Director of Consulting at Startups.co. “We have commitments from some of the top talent, experts and mentors in the city who donate their time to helping these teams through the process.”
Among those helping hands are Rev1 Ventures, AWH, Dickinson Wright, Big Kitty Labs, Startups.co and larger supporters like Grange Insurance—all providing mentorship, post-event support, and guidance to teams throughout the weekend. The event will be held at the Lumos Accelerator, site of Fintech71, both central Ohio regional partners of Ohio Third Frontier.
“It’s a complete community-wide effort. This city is incredibly committed to fostering innovation and you can see that energy through the participants of the event, the sponsors, and the top experts that come together. Without their genuine support, this wouldn’t be possible,” said Chimes. “And if this doesn’t happen, lots of ideas may never see the light of day, and future entrepreneurs never get started on their path. This event is a transformative learning experience that can provide the resources or connections to catapult ideas into successful businesses within the Columbus community.”
One such success is Aunt Flow, whose founder—Claire Coder—turned a real life experience that happened during Startup Week Columbus in November 2015 into her own successful company. Aunt Flow has attracted national press and landed Coder a starring role on TLC network’s reality show, Girl Starter.
“It starts with an idea, being open to new perspectives and taking actionable steps to verify the business. The event empowers people to get off the whiteboard and start taking action to bring their idea to fruition.” said Chimes. “I encourage everyone to come and give it a shot. It’s not just about ideas, but about meeting other like-minded people in the Columbus community interested in innovation.”
If you’re interested in trying your hand at entrepreneurship, you can register for the event here.