The Student Launch Pad at Towson University is preparing students for its first Student Startup Weekend. Over three days, students from any Maryland college or university will develop their business ideas, build and validate them through customer development, and then pitch to a panel of judges. The judges will decide the startup with the best pitch, and that team will win membership into the new Student Launch Pad “Launch Program” as well as $500 to put toward their startup. Sounds exciting right! Let’s take a closer look at what Student Startup Weekend participants will be doing.
Student Startup Weekend Details
The Student Launch Pad has begun accepting applications for student teams at the Student Startup Weekend. They are encouraged to have some sort of innovative business idea that they would like to explore before coming through the door. However, we are open to any student that would like to come be a part of the entrepreneurial process. Throughout the weekend, teams will be advised by Student Startup Weekend coaches, individuals with substantial industry and entrepreneurship experience under their belt.
The first step for each group is to develop their prospective business models. They will be challenged to think creatively and strategically as they develop the framework of their startup. They will need to identify values, customers, channels, and more.
Next students will assess the assumptions that their business model relies on. These assumptions can include anything from customer preference and demand to supplier availability and partnerships. Working with coaches, teams will select there riskiest assumptions and begin brainstorming ways to test them.
Student teams will then build “something” that they can use to validate the risky assumptions that they identified. The “something” can take on a multitude of forms and students are encouraged to build whatever they feel will best validate their ideas. It could be a web form that they can collect customer interest through. Or it may be a simple prototype that shows that a certain functionality is realistic. It will be a test of the teams’ resourcefulness as they have roughly a day to produce and conduct there validation.
On Sunday, students will join a workshop on startup pitches and will begin developing their own. The final portion of the Student Startup Weekend will be the groups presenting their pitches to our judges. The pitches will highlight their discoveries and what they have validated. Most importantly, they will need to convince our judges that their business will be hugely successful. Though there will only be one winner, the real prize of this event is building and entrepreneurial-minded community and creating an activity surrounding entrepreneurship in Baltimore.