By Derby Chukwudi News Writer firstname.lastname@example.org
On October 14 -16 five Berea College students participated in the semi-annual Startup weekend held at Bellarmine University in Louisville. The Startup Weekend is a 54-hour weekend event, during which groups of developers, business managers, startup enthusiasts, marketing gurus, graphic artists and more pitch ideas for new startup companies.
They form teams around those ideas, and work to develop a working prototype, demo, or presentation by Sunday evening. The gathering is a global event that takes place twice a year at different locations including Louisville, Kentucky. The event is open to everyone who is eager to form teams and work on ideas that they are passionate about.
This semester, the Entrepreneurship for Public Good (EPG) provided the opportunity for five students to attend so to develop themselves as change makers. Student attendees were Robert Hosking ’18, David Newswanger ’18, Kenny Nelson ’19, Derby Chukwudi ’19, and Obed Amissah ’20. The program began at 6:30pm and small teams were formed to begin pitching their ideas.
The event was primarily designed to get participants working strictly on their ideas with no distractions. There were mentors and coaches available to help the various teams work on their ideas on build business models.
On Sunday, each team pitched their idea on which they had spent many hours working to the entire audience. There were prizes for the first, second, and third winners.
Although none of the Berea participants’ team made it to the top three, one of the teams which consisted of three Berea college students had the fourth place out of the eleven teams that pitched ideas.
Kenny Nelson ‘19 said, “I am really glad I got this opportunity to attend the Startup week-end in Louisville, for this experience really tested my determination to keep pushing and ability to work as a team. Working on an idea that in the first place was not not yours with people you barely knew to deliver a minimum viable product in less than 72 hours is no joke.”
Andrew Lipman, University of Louisville ‘20 and one of Berea students team members, said, “I came into this weekend expecting to join in full stride; however, this was not the case. While things started well and there were all laughs and jokes, things took a dark turn. Late Saturday night we began to fall apart, stress was at an all-time high but Sunday we rebounded well and knocked out a killer app.”
David Newswanger ‘18 said, “The most important thing that I learned this weekend is the process of customer discovery. Essentially this involves talking to people, figuring out what their problems are and how much they would be willing to pay for a solution. It’s a pretty critical skill to have because being able to understand people’s problems is something that can be used in many ways other than just entrepreneurship.”