Startup Weekend Evansville, scheduled for February 24-26, 2012, in the USI Business and Engineering Center, is an international initiative, non-for-profit (501c3) entity. The event will begin with opening remarks by Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke of the importance of these types of initiatives for entrepreneurial growth in our community and region, followed by the layout for the weekend, dinner, and the first round of idea pitches.
Bryan Bourdeau, instructor in business, is co-organizing the event with Dana Nelson, social strategist with "Out Cloud"; Doug Briody, of the Law Office of Doug Briody; Michael Effron and Janet Laane Effron, of the Four Rivers Group, LLC; and Andrew Heil, of the Ariens Company. The entrepreneurial initiative Startup Weekend Evansville is powered by the Kauffman Foundation to help benefit our community and region. This effort will help us to better "connect the dots" of the entrepreneurial/innovation ecosystem in our region and foster new start-ups.
Startup Weekends are 54-hour events where developers, designers, marketers, product managers, and startup enthusiasts come together to share ideas, form teams, build products, and launch startups! Startup Weekends are weekend-long, hands-on experiences where entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs can find out if startup ideas are viable and work together to turn ideas into workable business concepts in the space of a weekend. This is Evansville’s first Startup Weekend and we're excited that the event will be held on the USI campus. Startup Weekend is a high-energy event, and participants will be hard at work the entire weekend.
On average, half of Startup Weekend’s attendees have technical backgrounds, the other half have business backgrounds. Beginning with open mic pitches on Friday, attendees bring their best ideas and inspire others to join their team. Over Saturday and Sunday teams focus on customer development, validating their ideas, practicing LEAN Startup Methodologies and building a minimal viable product. On Sunday evening teams demo their prototypes and receive valuable feedback from a panel of experts.
The participant count, expected to be between 50-80 people plus mentors and judges, is limited to provide intimate hands-on mentorship and idea development. I believe in the motto: Start: plan and think, but do something! This is new to Evansville and can be a catalyst for some new innovative ideas and business start-ups much needed in our region. Over 36% of Startup Weekend startups are still going strong after 3 months. Roughly 80% of participants plan on continuing working with their team or startup after the weekend.