This past weekend, Towson University Student Launch Pad held its first ever Student Startup Weekend, which I wrote about in my last blog post. I wrote the following blog post near the end of the first day of this weekend-long event.
I’m sitting in the TU Incubator flexspace, Bleachers’s I Wanna Get Better is playing over the tech cart speakers, as five student startups are grinding through hour 22 of the Student Startup Weekend. To the right, you can see exactly what I’m looking at right now. These students have pitched three times already. They have uncovered their riskiest assumptions. They’ve designed experiments, and now they are starting to build websites, mockups, and surveys. In a weekend. I am sitting in awe of the work ethic that I’m seeing in college freshmen through graduate students.
With the gracious support of our coaches, Jan Baum, Raj Nair, Lindsay D’Ambrosio, Rick Leimbach, Nick Culbertson and Jason Weisenthal, our student entrepreneurs are learning what it really means to BE an entrepreneur. They have a looming deadline to come up with solutions to more questions than they can keep track of. But, they are still here, pushing through it. When they stumble, our coaches are here to help them back up and set them on the right track. They are learning what it’s like to fail, and more importantly, that it’s okay to fail.
Why A Student Startup Weekend?
So why are they doing this? We just came in from outside, where we walked out to the 7400 York Road Pavilion and took some time to talk about why we’re here, spending our weekend building out these crazy and amazing ideas. A common thread emerged among the group—it’s an unwillingness to accept the status quo, and the impulse to never stop moving forward.
On Sunday, all the hard work will pay off, when they get to deliver a final pitch to the judges for a shot at a $500 scholarship. The panel of judges, including the innovative Vince Talbert, will be looking not just for the potential of the startup, but how much each group has discovered, adapted, and innovated throughout the weekend. The real goal of our weekend with the Student Launch Pad is just taking a startup a few steps closer to launch, but about showing students, and the community, how to take the first actions to make entrepreneurial aspirations reality.
The startups that would see it through to the end are
- StudyLibre, A subscription textbook service (Prince Anim)
- Tume University, Learning, the way you want to (Ryan Twomey)
- Moe’s Auto, A DIY auto garage that helps car owners save time and money and learn valuable life-long skills (Mohammad “Moe” Ashrafi)
- Book Bait, Networking students through their textbooks (Marissa Karahuta and Allison Guerra)
Stay tuned to the TU Innovates blog to see how the Student Startup Weekend came to an end.