Why Startup Weekend made us cry

by | Nov 23, 2016

by the CO+HOOTS Foundation

This past weekend we had the opportunity to facilitate Startup Weekend Phoenix at Coplex, a local Startup Studio and home to a genuinely amazing team.

You might remember that this past August we organized and facilitated our very own Youth Startup Weekend, the first of its kind in the Southwest.

So there we were with an older audience and blown away with really awesome ideas! The structure stayed about the same for both events: Individuals come with an awesome idea that they pitch in 60 seconds or less, teams form around the top voted ideas, those teams work on that idea and make it a full-fledge business by the time Sunday evening hits. Yep, 54 hours and a business is formed. Is your heart racing just thinking about it?

One of the attendees, Tareq, became a one- man show Saturday when 2 members of his team didn’t show and the other mysteriously disappeared while out to lunch. Our Startup Weekend team continued to send in mentors and volunteers to help out as best they could and motivate him to continue to move forward. With guidance, he had his Allergy Alert app together and was scrambling to finalize his presentation come Sunday morning.

We had invited a few of the students from Youth Startup Weekend to come in on Sunday to help out as volunteers and to see how the event is run when it’s a room filled with people who have created businesses before. They spent a good amount of their morning working with Tareq to put a powerpoint together and finalize some key points for the presentation.

Three hours before presentations Tareq expressed concern in presenting as a one-man show. It’s intimidating being all by yourself, especially when you’re preparing to answer questions from a panel of experienced and impressive judges. In a hail- Mary effort, the Youth Startup Weekend students decided to stay later than they had intended and PITCH WITH TAREQ.

I’ll say it again, just so we’re on the same page. These high school students stayed to pitch at Startup Weekend and had 3 hours to prepare.

They put together a full- fledge Business Model Canvas, created a new powerpoint and assigned team roles that each team member would execute for the next three years.

To Tareq, who stuck it out and worked through the difficulties to bring his vision to life. Thank you for showing us what entrepreneurialism is. It’s powering through a ring of fire, falling, and getting back up.

Tareq, Alyssa , Roman and Kyle pose with awardTo Alyssa, Roman and Kyle, who stepped up to the plate when someone needed them. Thank you for showing us what Phoenix is about. It’s about generosity, helping others in the community succeed and motivating entrepreneurs to power through the terrifying idea of failure.

They won 3rd place, and Tareq won the True Grit award for powering through. And yes, we were a weepy puddly of pride and inspiration.

See the article on Medium here.