Startup Weekend 2017: The Future of Evansville Small Business

Startup Weekend 2017 Brings Business and Tech Innovation to Evansville

“If you are into entrepreneurship and starting companies, this is like crack.”
– Greg Gottesman, a venture capitalist at Madrona Venture Group in Seattle

Startup Weekend is coming back to Evansville this February, marking the sixth year this event has been a part of our community. If you are curious about what it takes to launch a new business, you won’t want to miss this event. To date, over 210,000 entrepreneurs in 135 countries have participated in a Startup Weekend. These events have been the starting point for many different types of businesses, including some in the Evansville area.

Startup Weekend and Evansville Small Business

Lieberman Technologies takes this kind of weekend seriously because it gives people a crash course in starting a business. Investing in local innovation promises a growing collection of innovative people in the Evansville and Owensboro area, even if they might end up being our competitors! People from all walks of life take part in Startup Weekend. You’ll meet everyone from high school and college students to mid-career and retired professionals. Some come with ideas, others come with experience and a willingness to lend a hand. Everyone pitches in and digs deep for the entire weekend.

What to Expect at Startup Weekend 2017

Friday – Business Idea Pitches and Team Formation

This year’s Startup Weekend begins on Friday, February 17 at 6:30 pm. From there each of the 100 or so participants is invited to give a one-minute pitch of their business idea. From those one minute pitches, teams form around the most popular 10-12 ideas. The teams begin to talk through roles and skills and get to know each other a little bit, and then they are able to start to work. The venue closes at 11:00 pm, and many work as late as they are allowed to stay.

Saturday – Teamwork, Coaching, and Development

Saturday is the main work day, with work periods, instructional speakers, lunch, coaching, legal consultations, research, and more planning. Oftentimes teams will disperse into the local community for a few hours to do market research at parks, college campuses, or malls. Some hit social media and send out surveys or ask questions of people on Facebook as part of their research. They bring those results back before dinner and tighten up their focus. After dinner is “call for help” time where teams can ask for coaches in specific areas of accounting, technology, programming, medicine, etc. to refine their business idea further. Again, the building closes at 11:00 pm and many teams work until we turn the lights out.

Sunday – Presentations and Judging

Sunday is the final day that all of the teams have been working toward. After breakfast, the coaches are available to the teams as they wrap up their presentations and their final points. After a 3:00 tech rehearsal, the final presentations begin at 5:00. Each team gives a pitch as if to investors and venture capitalists. They have a time limit and then a question and answer session at the end where the judges can ask them anything. Judges are often C-level executives, community leaders, and local small business owners. They know what it is to run a small business or a giant corporation, so they know the right questions to ask to help the teams iron out every last detail.

An awesome dinner is served while the judges adjourn to decide the winners. After dinner, first, second, and third place teams are chosen from all of the entries. While the winners go home with things to help their business, everyone goes home with:

  • Knowledge of how to use the Business Model Canvas
  • An increased network of innovative people to lean on
  • Skills in bringing their product or business idea to market (even if they weren’t in the 10-12)

Even if your team isn’t in the top three, everyone goes home a winner.

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How Lieberman Technologies Participates in Startup Weekend

Several people on our staff volunteer their time to help organize the event, mentor participants and even judge the finalists. Not only does this give us a chance to pass our experience and war stories on to people wanting to start a new business, it also helps each of us think outside the box of what we are currently working on.

Additionally, we donate two years of secure website hosting and $500 in software services from Lieberman Technologies. This donation is an $1800 value that helps a startup focus on their new business instead of concerns about the security of their WordPress site or the proper installation of their SSL Certificate. Eliminating these kinds of worries can be critical to the success of a startup.

Startup Weekend 2017 takes place at the University of Southern Indiana and is 54 hours of hard work and enthusiasm that’s well worth your time. If you would like to join us at Startup Weekend as a participant, you still have time to sign up. And if you’d like to join us in supporting the future of innovation and commerce in Evansville, there is still time to be a sponsor.