Startup Weekend: Dozens Learn All About Creating Startup Businesses

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By Jill Kasparie, KCRG-TV9

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) – Dozens came together over the past three days to develop ideas for new startup businesses.

It all happened during an event called Startup Weekend Cedar Rapids.

Ideas included everything from finding more local hotspots when traveling to helping people preserve memories.

Groups took center stage Sunday night to present their final pitches to a panel of business-minded judges at the Cedar Rapids Public Library.

“We have 64 attendees this weekend, working on ten different ideas or new businesses,” said Startup Weekend Facilitator Michael Norton.

One after another, the final ten groups made their case for their startups, but what’s unfolding here has been in the works throughout the weekend. Participants started with dozens of ideas and reduced that to just ten.

“We focus on solving real problems and part of Startup Weekend is testing all of our assumptions and going out into the community and making sure that the things that we are building are the things that people really need,” Norton said.

One group discovered a political problem.

“People like talking about politics, but people don’t want to do it on social media. It’s not necessarily always a pleasant thing to have on there,” said Startup Participant Molly Monk.

That idea transformed into a startup plan.

“We are Snark Nation. We are a company that sells political postcards for snarky people,” Monk said.

Monk said the idea is for people to send the cards to friends who agree or disagree on political matters. While she’s not sure if it will actually become a real business, there’s already some hope with shops voicing a desire to sell their cards.

“So we got a lot of potential for realtors to distribute out cards, so [we] might as well see what happens with it,” Monk said.

Organizers said that in the past some startup weekend ideas have become businesses, which leads to a bigger community impact.

“Supporting Entrepreneurship and startups for any community is really, really important. You are certainly looking at the economic development impact, potential employers coming out of even experiences like this,” said Startup Weekend Organizer and NewBoCo Director of Programs David Tominsky.

Organizers said the weekend is all about teaching people about what it takes to start a business. Many know a lot of ideas will help create a bright future.

“Empowering people to create opportunity is one of the best things we can do,” Tominsky said.

Organizers said this event is the third Startup weekend in Cedar Rapids. Startup Weekends also happen in other places across the country.