Arriving during dinner of day two, only a few teams were left in the Innovation Center. Majority of the teams went out into Athens to gather market research information using surveys and testimonials. Teams have just under 24 hours left till presentations begin and the weekend concludes. Each team meets with six coaches to discuss their business models, to help discover the holes they may have in their MVP (minimal viable product). The coaches offer different tips based on their various background and skills such as engineering, professional sales and marketing, business consultation, economic development, information technology and entrepreneurship.
With assistance of the skilled coaches and facilitators, each team has excellent resources at their fingertips. Although after speaking with teams, I begin to feel the frustration on finding an appropriate balance between your vision with sometimes conflicting professionals vision. As teams learn more about their target markets, teams may alter their original pitch idea.
“It’s not uncommon for teams to modify or pivot their initial pitch throughout the course of day two,” says Anna Jensen, a business consultant for the Innovation Center and facilitator for StartUp Weekend.
A large part of StartUp weekend is discovering the target market and honing in on the functionality of business plan within the market. The teams must conduct basic market research to prove that their solution to a problem is the best one. I got the privilege to follow one of the teams to see them conduct their research through administering surveys at a Human verses Zombie meeting to see if their newly designed nerf gun blaster is something their target market would invest in or need. I found this product intriguing because it had a specific target market in mind from the original design.
One team, FordIt, went to stores to ask shoppers questions about their budgeting habits. While others, created surveys online and used social media to collect data. One group in particular, Reel, worked on creating video testimonials on the practicality of their video editing app.
In the short few hours that I’ve spent attending StartUp weekend I’ve had an overwhelming feeling that this weekend is not solely about competing for the first place position but it’s about learning and making connections that can be applied to each members business plan. Participants work closely with one another and with coaches. Everyone is helping everyone else succeed. It’s not just about winning, it’s about learning the process involved in taking an idea and growing it into a viable business and doing it in an extremely short time period. If you are fortunate enough to win StartUp weekend, there are great prizes that can assist the participants in implementing their idea and changing their dream into reality.
Stay tuned for the results from StartUp weekend.