Join me at Triangle Startup Weekend Trailblazers

I am so exited to be part of another Triangle Startup Weekend! part of Startup Weekend, powered by Google for Entrepreneurs. This time I will celebrate entrepreneurial spirit as a judge, giving invaluable feedback to startups pitching on Sunday, June 14th, 2015.

Making the best out of Triangle Startup Weekend

I have been part of Triangle Startup Weekends on several occasions in different roles, so I can share my perspective on the event and the value attendees get out of it.

Do you have a business idea? Of course you do, everyone has business ideas! However, left on their own, ideas don’t do anything, executing the idea is what matters. If you don’t know how and where to start executing your ideas, TSW can help you get a head start.

  • If you don’t want to participate at this time, the best way to be engaged is to attend pitches and judging session on Sunday. You would be amazed how much progress teams have made since coming together on Friday night till Sunday afternoon. Each TSW event is filled with energy, enthusiasm, optimism and people that are more than willing to help out.
  • If you don’t have your own business idea, but want to participate, I would recommend that you sit back and relax on Friday night and watch other people pitch their idea to recruit you to be on their team. This will give you an opportunity to join the team you believe in.
  • If you have been entrusted by your team to be a leader, make sure that everyone on the team is heard and is contributing. In the long run, TSW is not about winning, it is about making relationships with people you may not meet in your regular line of work. Some relationships may turn to be long lasting and you may find co-founders that weekend.
  • Diverse team is a successful team. Look for people with different professional skills, personal background, ages, etc.
  • Enjoy and have fun!

Tips for Effective Startup Weekend Pitch

Some teams are formed ahead of the event, but most of them are not. Whether you had only 54-hours to work on the pitch, or several weeks, there are few tips that I highly recommend to get your pitch succinct and effective for the judging.

  • Business Model Canvas is the best visual framework that will help you put together a business around an idea. For the TSW, you don’t have time to develop all nine building blocks, so the focus should be on: value proposition, customer segments, channels, key resources, key activities — in this order of importance.
  • Competition: don’t ignore the competition in your pitch. Articulate why is your solution better than existing ones in the market.
  • Demo: spend more time on mockups that you can put into a presentation slides than the actual code.This is the time to test your business model, not the source code.
  • Surveys: please don’t ask leading questions as they will not reveal true intention to a buy (or not buy) a product or a service. This is the common and frequent mistake I see.
  • Presentation: judges are the ones that will score all teams, not people in the audience. With that in mind, have an eye contact with judges, talk to them, analyze their body language and do not ever ever turn your back on the judges’ table.

Finally, don’t forget to have fun, get to know your fellow entrepreneurs and I look forward seeing everyone on June 12 —14, 2015.

Media Coverage and Event Summary

  • Trailblazers Startup Weekend Tackles Diverse Problems Like Diabetes, Recruiting & Blindness. Durham Startup Weekend focused on diversity paves way for more inclusive future events. The 63 participants hailed from diverse ethnic, social, regional, religious and professional backgrounds. They ranged in age from 16 to late 50s. And the nine ideas pitched and fleshed out over the weekend sought to solve problems like finding enough diverse talent to fill tech jobs in the Triangle and helping diabetics more accurately identify the number of carbohydrates in food.
  • A Trailblazing Startup Weekend, For the Triangle and the Globe. Inclusion is woven into every aspect of Durham’s June 2015 Startup Weekend.

Dragana Mendel, a management consultant for startups, small and medium size businesses develops and executes growth strategies for her clients. Please call for 30 minutes complimentary discovery session to assess your business current situation and market development needs.