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I had the privilege to serve as a mentor for the Startup Weekend Notre Dame event this past Saturday.

Collaborating with the University of Notre Dame and the city of South Bend, the leading minds of the area joined together in a common effort at Startup Weekend Notre Dame. The 54-hour event is a one of a kind weekend where developers, designers, marketers, product managers and startup enthusiasts come together to share ideas, form teams, build products, and launch startups! Techstars Startup Weekend is the place to look for a team, create a prototype of your idea, validate your business idea, and receive feedback from experienced entrepreneurs, all in one weekend.

Startup Weekends are a great way to inject and spread the entrepreneurial spirit. The concept to get together with like-minded individuals that value developing a business but come from various backgrounds. And over a period of a 54-hour weekend event the groups pitch ideas for new startup companies. Participants formed seven startup teams on the weekend.

Going from raw idea to a finished product is an exciting journey and it does take time to design the right solution. Whether the startup is software-centered or in a highly technical area like healthcare or renewable energy, to have the right approach at all stages of the business model is key.  ESTEEM and Innovation Park have incredible resources and a unique entrepreneurial community that supported this event; simultaneously providing the runway of structure, mentorship, and constructive criticism.  The goal was to not only to evaluate the product from technical angles but more importantly from the customer’s viewpoint to then assess how to be a financially viable and thriving business.

From students of various departments on campus, to professors, to individuals from the community, the event was all about creating a fun and exciting entrepreneurial environment at Innovation Park. This year’s event also hosted students from China (sponsored by Notre Dame International). This provided a wonderful opportunity to provide a truly diverse and global experience for all participants.

 

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