Challenging Aspiring Entrepreneurs to Launch a Business in 54 Hours
Written by Ashley Johnson, '13Writing Intern for the Office of CommunicationsWhile the idea of creating a new business may seem like a daunting task to some, CSUSM business faculty will help guide aspiring entrepreneurs, students and community members as they launch startup businesses in 54 hours as part of the University’s first Startup Weekend on Nov. 16-18. The innovative, hands-on event, which is held worldwide, invites attendees to share ideas, form teams, build prototypes and put their businesses into action in three days. More than a third of all businesses launched at Startup Weekend continue strong after three months, and nearly 80 percent of participants work with their team or startup after the event.“The intention of the event is for people to brainstorm new business ideas and bring them to fruition,” said Jim Hamerly, director of business relations for the College of Business Administration. “The basic idea is to form a multidisciplinary team with different skills interested in the same business idea, develop that idea, formulate a plan and launch the business by the end of the event.” For those who have great ideas but lack the knowledge of how to market and sell them, the event offers an impressive network of leaders, mentors and experienced entrepreneurs who will guide each individual through each step of the process. The event is open to anyone interested in learning how to build a business from the ground up. Sponsored by corporate giants like Google, Microsoft, Amazon and the Kauffman Foundation, Startup Weekend provides attendees with the perfect environment in which to develop business ideas that will ultimately have a better chance at succeeding in the real world after their initial launch. “Any idea is welcomed, whether someone wants to start up their own restaurant, create a new web application or design and sell a new type of sports watch,” said Hamerly. “Once an idea is pitched during the first meeting, people interested in a particular idea will self-form a team in order to create something of value, lending their various skills to the project and immersing themselves in the process.”The Startup program puts a new spin on the traditional approach of creating a business by implementing an immersive learning experience. Instead of focusing on a lengthy planning process, participants jump right in and build something new and market it to an audience as quickly as possible. “Creating your product and getting it out there quickly is the goal, and the feedback from early prototypes of the idea is essential to the stages of development,” said Hamerly. “This allows for rapid improvement to take place before the actual launch of the final product.”Teams will get a chance to present their developed business ideas on Nov. 18 at 5 p.m., the last day of the Startup Weekend. A panel of expert judges will oversee the business presentations and award cash prizes to standout groups. The community is invited to attend the final presentation and catch a glimpse of the newly formed businesses. To participate in Startup Weekend at CSUSM and potentially get your own business ideas up and running, visit Startup Weekend at CSUSM to register. Registration costs $49 for students and $99 for non-students, and covers all meals and refreshments.