An African Proverb suggests that it takes a village to raise a child; such thinking is beginning to pervade the Vancouver startup community. In order to foster, and help develop future entrepreneurs it helps to have a community to nurture, mentor, and advise them.
The Vancouver technology community is rallying behind Startup Weekend, and seeing it as an event that’s a birthplace for future entrepreneurs. Vancouver Startup Weekend can serve as the genesis of an idea, the foundation of a team, and the creation of a working prototype application, all in the span of 54 hours.
In the spirit of “raising an entrepreneur” there’s now a logical progression emerging, with Launch Academy being the next potential place for a fledgling startup to land. This learning experience is about grooming a founding team and preparing them scale up, be investor-ready, or apply to an accelerator such as GrowLab.
In theory, this all sounds great. But in practice it’s taken a group of hustle hard volunteer organizers to pull the community together.
Plans for the third Startup Weekend event in Vancouver started in late March with the process of creating a new organizing team. At a meeting on May 25 the team really got down to business, with Jesse Heaslip taking over the reins as lead organizer from Micheal Tippett. With very little fanfare tickets went on sale in June and with minimal effort—and to the team's total surprise (and total delight)—sold out on July 3rd.
Startup Weekend is happening in large part because the community is supporting the vision and value the weekend delivers. Ticket sales help, but without all the sponsors, including Uniserve and HootSuite, it would been difficult delivering an impactful event.
Cash, prizes, services, and support certainly makes the event happen. But the value over the course of the weekend comes in the form of the keynote speakers, the mentors, and the judges.
On Friday evening the attendees will appreciate the musings of Matt Mickiewicz, co-founder of SitePoint, 99designs, and Flippa; and Thomas Lewis, the principal technical evangelist at Microsoft. After the speakers, every attendee is welcome to make a one minute pitch for their idea. The crowd then chooses the best ideas, and approximately 15 teams of developers, designers, and business people will come together, and get to work.
Mentors will be playing a key role on Saturday helping teams with their product and focus on highlighting features that will make their startups more attractive. Mentors on Sunday will be helping teams with their pitch for Sunday night in order to win over the judges. Mentors will include Jon Caright, CEO of Food.ee, and Chris Neumann, cofounder of Datahero.
Judges will include angel investor Boris Wertz and East Side Games' Jason Bailey.
The demand, enthusiasm and support for Startup weekend has been almost overwhelming for the organizing team, and it’s easy to see why there’s already thoughts ahead to the next event planned for November. The next event will sell out quickly, so it’s a good idea to get on the waiting list now!