Startup Weekend, the 54-hour marathon that brings local entrepreneurs, designers, developers, and students together to take an idea from an initial pitch to a sustainable business, has come and gone. Over the March 14th weekend, groups completed market research, developed business models, and prototyped a product in time for the final judging on Sunday night. Groups got the opportunity to hone their skills with mentorship from local businesspeople and even got to pitch their idea to a group of school-aged children (after all, if you cannot make your business plan make sense to a 7-year-old, you should probably simplify that plan).
The group behind Intexticated, an app that prevents the user from drunken texting, won. The winner of the most green award was 3D Printverse, a website that connects people to facilitate local 3D printing. The other business included Ciao Now, an app that makes paying your tab at a resturant easier and faster. It lets you cut down the wait time by using either a credit card or bitcoins to pay as soon as your food is ready. They also had a working model online and plan to get businesses in Kelowna to using their app in the coming months. Another group started UpStartUp, as site that houses Startup Weekend ideas, letting participants licence their ideas, extending the lives of these business ideas beyond Startup Weekend. The Happy Coin team, which included two UBCO students, developed the plan for a charity with low overhead which helps people donate to businesses in developing countries.
Digital Okanagan, the group that organized Startup Weekend, will host the event again in 2015 — UBCO students, start honing your ideas and skills for next year! In the meantime, DO hosts plenty of meet-up groups in the valley, all of which welcome students who are thinking about careers in design, tech, or marketing. See you there!