Experiences from Startup Weekend Columbus: Summer 2012

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Thrilling, inspiring, exciting, encouraging, welcoming. These are just a few words I would use to describe my first Startup Weekend experience in Columbus. As soon as the Columbus event came to a close, I knew I wanted to get involved in my hometown’s efforts, to help put together the first Startup Weekend in Toledo. Just a little over a month away, we are gearing up for what we hope will be a regional celebration of entrepreneurship! So why am I such a big supporter of Startup Weekend? Well, let’s start at the beginning…

Startup Weekend…Hmmm just the name sounds intriguing! But I wonder what it actually is? Sounds difficult, starting a company in one weekend?”

These were my first thoughts when a friend mentioned Startup Weekend Columbus to me. I immediately logged on to startupweekend.org and started reading, and soon it had happened: the entrepreneurship bug had struck! I was enamored with the idea of starting a business in 54 hours and my excitement only grew as I watched the success stories.

I think the most beneficial piece of advice I can give to those who are considering attending is that you will be pleasantly surprised at how much you can get done in one weekend. It really is a great avenue to meet people, discuss ideas, and work on projects you may never have the opportunity to otherwise.

So what experience do I have you ask? Well, a few weeks ago I was a Startup Weekend newcomer: nervous, unsure, yet excited. I have always been intrigued by the facets that come together to form a successful enterprise, but beyond that never really knew how to leverage resources to gain experience in the entrepreneurial sector. Through this experience, I have learned leaps and bounds beyond what I ever could have imagined or done on my own.

Leading up to the weekend I was really nervous thinking about the pressure and stress that might come with not knowing exactly what to expect. Walking into the Columbus College of Art and Design this fear was immediately extinguished as people started introducing themselves to me, and the mingling environment immediately melted into a comfortable, chill zone of creativity. As pitches got going, Michelle, an interior designer, took the stage and presented an idea for a virtual interior design service, Posh Haven, which she hoped would be the “Travelocity of Interior Design.” I immediately fell in love with the concept and joined her team! As the weekend continued we gained a few more members and together garnered a working site and put together a presentation. It amazed me how a group of people I had met just a day earlier had become so close.

Going into final presentations on Sunday we were all a little nervous, but at the same time very confident in the idea and excited to get valuable feedback. Much to our surprise, we actually ended up winning the competition and are still going strong, over three weeks after starting. We are just about to launch our beta site!

The feedback we received, support we gained, contacts we met, and resources we were provided with by the Startup Weekend volunteers, all in one centralized location, were unparalleled. After Sunday I didn’t want the Startup Weekend buzz to go away and immediately got in touch with the Toledo crew to see how I could help provide the same thrilling feeling to a new group of individuals looking to gain experience in the
entrepreneurial pool.

My last bit of advice: “All you need is 20 seconds of insane courage, and I promise you something great will come of it.” [We Bought a Zoo] You don’t have much to lose by attending a Startup Weekend, but you have everything to gain!

 

This post was originally written and posted by Startup Weekend Columbus attendee Sabah Sufi and was originally posted on the Startup Weekend Toledo blog.

Sabah Sufi
sabah@poshhaven.com
Posh Haven | See. Match. Buy
PoshHaven.com