Startup Weekend is this weekend! May 29-31, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

What is Startup Weekend?

A weekend-long event for people interested in bringing an idea to life. You’ll meet developers, designers, and marketers who are interested in building businesses.

The basic format includes an opportunity for attendees to get to know each other a bit more over pizza. So that everyone can get comfortable pitching ideas, there are some creative pitch exercises. Each attendee can pitch their own idea on Friday night, vote for their favorite, and form teams.

Pitch Fire Exercise at Startup Weekend Detroit 2014
Pitch Fire Exercise at Startup Weekend Detroit 2014. Photo courtesy of Scott Kloustin

On Saturday morning, teams swing into full work mode. They begin to focus on developing their business model and talking with potential customers. Teams work throughout the day and evening on Saturday, with breaks for tasty meals and guest speakers. Mentors are available to help answer questions, provide guidance, and help keep the teams on track towards satisfying the judging criteria.

Teams use Sunday to finalize what they worked on over the weekend and assemble a pitch deck showcasing their entrepreneurial venture, which in this instance will also have a social benefit. The public is invited to attend to enjoy dinner and watch the teams present around 5 or 6 p.m. (Presentation-only tickets are also available.) The judges then decide on the winners and prizes are awarded. Last fall, the winner made augmented reality happen for books.

What is New This Time Around?

All of the pitches and organizations that will develop should have a social entrepreneurship angle to showcase that businesses can can do well for themselves while also benefitting the community.

Helping or contributing to the community doesn’t necessarily mean non-profit. Drawing from David Bornstein’s pieces on social entrepreneurship, the difference between a regular entrepreneur and a social entrepreneur is what each seeks to maximize. The organization’s primary focus is a main factor. If a business is extremely successful, it may end up changing the world but not necessarily making its founders ridiculously wealthy.

There are various ways a business can be socially-minded. Here are just some examples:

  • A buy one, give one model like Tom’s Shoes or Warby Parker where a consumer buys a pair of shoes or glasses, and the company gives a pair to someone in need.
  • Create or enable trade with underrepresented communities or countries.
  • Create a business or service that provides better access or transparency to social services to a community. There are a lot of different programs, services and grants available to individuals and small businesses. There are viable business models in connecting people or entrepreneurs to resources, ultimately bettering the community.
  • Transportation. People need it to get to work, get medical attention, connect with friends and family and even go shopping. What sort of organization can help people get around or make them better aware of their transportation options?
  • Technology is more important than ever. We’re getting millions of new global internet users each year and many of those people are connecting to the internet for the first time and primarily through their phone. Develop a venture that teaches technology and connects people to education and career opportunities or allows them to become part of the digital economy.
  • Lending / Microloans. People with limited credit or financial resources can still be creditworthy. Crowdfunding may be able to provide entrepreneurs with capital to buy equipment, inventory or services for their new or existing business.

Get Your Ticket
It’s true that tickets aren’t free, but Startup Weekend is a non-profit and this money mostly goes toward seven amazing meals from places like Mudgie’s, RUB BBQ Pub, Hot Taco, and Bucharest Grill, as well as all the coffee, tea and soft drinks you need to stay caffeinated. You’ll get to meet other like-minded attendees from the community, work with mentors, have a chance to win these prizes, and best of all – a chance to start a meaningful social venture that can benefit the community.

Get Your Ticket Here

and Find the Latest Details About the Event Here

Startup Weekend Detroit 2014 Winners - Magic Book. Photo Courtesy of Scott Kloustin
Startup Weekend Detroit 2014 Winners – Magic Book. Photo Courtesy of Scott Kloustin

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