By Kwegyirba Croffie
Budding entrepreneurs hoped to see their ideas come to life during 4th Annual Startup Weekend Stamford.
“They are at the very early stages of developing businesses. They come here with their ideas. We bring the technical people together with the investors and the creatives that can help them put these presentations together so that they are up and running with a pretty solid business model by the end of one weekend,” said Sharland Blanchard of Launch Unlimited LLC.
Startup Weekend is a non-profit organization headquartered in Seattle, Washington with organizers and facilitators in more than 726 cities around the world. It is the largest community of passionate entrepreneurs with over 1,500 past global events in 120 countries around the world.
The weekend-long event began Friday, April 10th, with aspiring entrepreneurs pitching their ideas to their peers. Teams then formed around the top ideas and spent Friday and Saturday working on the business model.
“It has been great. I had no idea what to expect,” said participant Patrick Jackson. “I came in thinking I was going to pitch one of my own ideas and I wound up jumping on someone else’s idea and helped with the process from bringing it from just an idea to hopefully a viable business.”
Joshua Hudson, a junior at Quinnipiac University attended the weekend for the first time. His startup, Precious Plastics was picked as one of the top teams during the weekend. “I didn’t expect to spend the last 48 hours of my time with people I have never met before and just bond with them and develop these great business relationship. Have fun, craft ideas, pivoting ideas every which direction so it has been a rollercoaster weekend.”
Sunday evening, teams had five minutes to present their startup to a panel of judges.
“I’m really excited. It is really a wonderful opportunity that I could come and offer some advice, some hope and who knows maybe a little bit of captial to some really interesting new businesses,” said Tracy Chadwell, founder of Coyote Capital, which invested in women-owned technology software and molecular science spaces.
“If you have a viable idea, a viable vision, a viable product and you are willing to really dive into it and commit yourself to it, you can make something happen,” said Steven Laitmon, Co-Founder of Nothin’ But Foods, based in Westport, CT.
Participants say the weekend provided valuable lessons they will be able to use in the future.
“People care enough that they actually want to help me make my idea the best it can be, make my business model the best it can be and that just means a lot to me,” said Hudson.
The top three winning teams will receive prizes donated by local businesses including free working space donated by the Stamford Innovation Center, free legal advice from two local law firms and brand development coaching from Launch Unlimited.