Startup Weekend Halifax, the Atlantic Canadian edition of the wildly popular Startup Weekend model, took place at Dalhousie University over the weekend. Open to all, Startup Weekends gather together people with skill, ideas, drive, business know-how, or just curiosity. With the help of mentors and professional entrepreneurs, the teams develop their product or service, and face-off at the end of a grueling 54-hour period.
“We want to find a way to create a culture of usefulness. The school of business is excellent at teaching management, but what is missing is an interaction with people who create. There are many ideas that will never see the light of day without a catalyst," says Dr. Ed Leach, Director of the Norman Newman Centre for Entrepreneurship and Co-organizer of the Startup Halifax Event. “It is hard imagine another venue like this, self-organizing and non-profit, where this kind of stuff can happen. We are helping to build-out the entrepreneurial eco-system.“
At the end of the weekend, eleven different projects had made significant headway, including:
- (1st Place) SimPACT: visual and interactive marketing simulations.
- (2nd Place) ParkingPig.ca: mediate rentals of parking spots in Halifax area.
- (3rd Place) Clipper: merge 10-15s mobile video clips.
- Switchvideo Convert: split-test video on website to gauge response and increase conversion.
- Green Club Awards: Card providing incentive to buy environmentally-responsible products.
- Comp Camp: Teaching relevant computer skills as inexpensive camps or after-school classes.
- TravelAwesome.ly: Book flights based on user-specified preferences.
- 991 Cafe: Cafe brand sourcing local and community products.
- Fanjuice: A social network rewarding music listeners with a Klout-style fan score.
- Project Advisor: Similar to Trip Advisor, but providing free contractor project reviews.
- MuttMeetup.com: Connecting dog owners with other dog owners in order to socialized dogs.
The projects were judged by a panel of entrepreneurs, including Andrew Angus of SwitchVideo, Peter Hickey of 2nd Act Innovations Inc., Saeed El-Darahali of SimplyCast, and Ross Finlay of the First Angel Network.
Startup Weekend Halifax is a bi-annual event, the next taking place in November, and organized by Ed Leach and Paulette Dunn. To learn more about Startup Weekend Halifax, visit their site, or follow them on twitter with #swhalifax.