Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Germanna set to host Startup Weekend Fredericksburg June 7-9 with free registration for some GCC students, faculty, staff

Startup Weekend - Trailer from Eighteen Eighty on Vimeo.

Startup Weekend Fredericksburg has free, sponsored slots for Germanna Community College students, faculty and staff. For more information, email Christine at cgoody2shoes@yahoo.com.

The event, which helps fledgling entrepeneurs launch companies, is set to begin with pitches at 5:30 p.m. Friday, June 7 at Germanna Community College’s Workforce Development and Technology Center on its Fredericksburg Area Campus in Spotsylvania and culminate in the best startup ideas being chosen Sunday, June 9 and the event ending at 9:30 p.m.

Christine Goodwin, CEO and co-founder of WishStars, an online platform that brings corporate donors and educators together, was tabbed in December for one of the Center for Innovative Technology’s GAP 50 Entrepreneur Awards. She lives in Locust Grove and is a graduate of Spotsylvania High School and what was then Mary Washington College.

Goodwin credits WishStars taking off to her experience at a Startup Weekend in Reston last year.

Startup Weekend is a global organization with a mission to inspire, educate, and empower individuals, teams and communities. she said.

Startup Weekend Fredericksburg is a 54-hour event, Goodwin said, “designed to teach methodologies to enhance creative, focused, and collaborative innovation. For those participants who want to pitch an idea, Startup Weekend helps them form a team, work on the concept, and refine it so that they can launch a startup.”

To date, there have been 1,068 Startup Weekend events held in 478 cities around the world and from these events over 8,000 startups have been created. Goodwin said that for the rest of the participants, Startup Weekend is an opportunity to get experience that enhances creative and critical problem -solving, to try new skills, and to get expert instruction on new methods of brainstorming.

WHO ATTENDS A STARTUP WEEKEND?

• Frontend Coders

• Backend coders

• Social Media professionals/enthusiasts

• Business professionals/Business development professionals

• Marketing professionals

• Graphic designers

• Writers

• Visionaries

• Project managers

“SUW is also a great professional development experience, she said. “I strongly encourage people with awesome day jobs who don't have a big idea to pitch or who aren't looking to start their own company to come and join a team so they will get an opportunity to get a rapid immersion education in a whole new way of thinking about how you do what you do and for executing differently. You will learn techniques for collaboration, problem solving, and product development that will help you improve many things including team dynamics, validating requirements and customer needs, determining product/market fit using metrics to quantify it, and using metrics to drive product development. A key tenet of Lean Startup is to fail fast - to use data to quickly validate - or invalidate - assumptions about needs, requirements, and preferences and to build out capability based on that data.”

All attendees will have a chance to network with some amazing people in their fields and in other fields and experience first-hand all of the dimensions of innovation in one event.

WHY DO A STARTUP WEEKEND IN FREDERICKSBURG?

“Startup Weekend Global takes multiple factors into consideration, but chief amongst those is the strength of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the community that is applying,” Goodwin said. “We started our interview by telling Startup Weekend that our region produced the ultimate startup- - The United States of America. And that we have a long tradition of innovation in this region.”

Virginia has the highest concentration of information technology skilled and professional services people of any place in the country - and the many of them live in our region, she said. “We have within 150 miles of the Fredericksburg region the highest concentration of universities and colleges of anywhere on the planet. Our greatest resource in this area is the incredibly talented human capital we have. And yet every day, we send more than 15,000 of them into Northern Virginia and D.C. to work. Too many people have resigned themselves to accept that to live here they must spend 12-14 hours a day five days a week getting to and from work in the worst traffic in the country.

“Several of us who are entrepreneurs knew that many other entrepreneurs were in our region working alone on their startups or their apps. We felt that our entrepreneurial ecosystem was too fragile and dispersed. And we felt that we needed to put together an event that showcased the cool things that have come out of this region on a global platform and also functioned as the foundational event for strengthening and building out our ecosystem. We felt that with the impacts of sequestration hitting our region it was important to move the economic needle in the direction of low-cost of entry, high growth startups and that the only way to do this was to bring local entrepreneurs, interested enthusiasts and local economic development authorities together with angel and venture capital investors from Silicon Valley, Washington DC, and Boston together for 54 hours to give the talent in this area a platform for launching.”

WHY HOLD THE EVENT AT GERMANNA?

“We have the facilities and support, and we work closely with the business community, so it’s a good fit,” said Germanna Center for Workforce and Community Education Interim Vice President Martha O’Keefe. Germanna is one of the sponsors of Startup Weekend Fredericksburg.

She said GCC’s Center for Workforce provides training and professional development for the region’s business community, including courses and programs supporting small businesses. And, she pointed out, two-year college degree are available, also meeting the needs of businesses in our service region.

“We work closely with the region’s offices of economic development to respond to workforce needs,” O’Keefe said. “We work collaboratively with offices of economic development, K-12 school divisions, other higher education schools, Chambers of Commerce, etc. to help connect the business community to programs and resources.”

O’Keefe said Germanna Workforce training pivots quickly to meet the needs of companies, including startups

A HEAVY HITTING LINEUP OF JUDGES AND COACHES

“People who are considering either pitching or who are just curious about a SUW event and are on the fence should know that if they don’t register, they’ll be missing a great opportunity to get plugged in to, network with, and benefit from the experience of our amazing line up of judges and coaches,” Goodwin said.

“We have startup gurus and investors like Paul Singh, founder of Dashboard io and Jonathon Perrelli of Fortify Funding judging. We have serial entrepreneurs, subject matter experts in web/mobile strategy and implementation, data analytics, commercialization, user interface/experience design, and Agile and SCRUM development methodologies, and marketing all in one place who are excited to meet with and help the teams. “

Goodwin said those interested in starting up businesses can't get the level of personal, one on one interaction, feedback, and networking from any other event for $100.

“We also have Whitney Johnson, who co-founded Rose Park Advisors keynote speaking and judging at the event. I met Whitney at a conference for women in business last June and we just really connected. She is a committed to increasing the number of women in business who have a dream they want to follow and aren't sure how to make it happen. “

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