UNTHSC hosting entrepreneurship crash course


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By Jan Jarvis

 

Startup Weekend Fort Worth

Registration, which includes meals, is $99 for the weekend. UNTHSC students receive a $25 discount. But for $5 anyone can purchase a ticket for the grand finale when teams pitch their products.

Those who think they’ve got the next Uber in their heads will get the chance to test their ideas during a 54-hour crash course in entrepreneurship known as Startup Weekend Fort Worth.

The event provides wannabe entrepreneurs with the chance to connect with developers, designers, coders and other business-minded people to build companies over a weekend. The event begins this Friday, Nov. 3, and continues through Sunday, Nov. 5, at UNT Health Science Center, a sponsor for this year’s Startup Weekend in Fort Worth.

Startup Weekend is a way to test ideas and try to turn them into companies, said Cameron Cushman, a volunteer organizer for the event. The three-day event offers the chance to validate ideas to see if they worth pursuing.

“Startup Weekend is the purest form of experiential learning about entrepreneurship anyone could have,” Cushman said. “You will walk through all the phases of starting company in 54 hours from the start of an idea, to developing a prototype to pitching it.”

Participants can expect to hear pitches for cool new apps and high tech products. Opening night everyone gets one minute to pitch their idea. The group then votes on the top eight to 12 ideas that they want to work on throughout the weekend.

On Saturday and Sunday each team gets as much done on their idea as possible, including building a brand, developing customers, designing a website and bringing an idea to life, Cushman said. On Sunday night, teams present their project to a panel of judges in “Shark Tank” fashion.

Startup Weekend is for building new ideas only. It is not geared towards existing research, products, devices or services that have already been created or developed. Every idea presented should be for a new product or service that does not currently exist, Cushman said.

Past Startup Weekends, which are held around the world, have turned many ideas into real success stories.

Loot Crate, a subscription box service which provides gaming-related merchandise, is one example. Inc. Magazine named it the fastest growing company in the country in 2016. Within four years, Loot Crate had become a $116 million business.

While not every idea introduced at the Startup Weekend will turn into the next blockbuster, participants will still benefit from the experience of working with other entrepreneurs-in-the-making.

The structure encourages people to interact with others outside their industry, Cushman said. Participants start talking to people they might otherwise never meet and begin to see their ideas from a different perspective.

This year’s speaker and facilitator will be Marc Nager, who is the former CEO of Startup Weekend.

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