Startup weekend to bring business pitchesBy Emmalee Molay | 09/16/2014 11:08pm
Several events will be held in the South Engineering Research Center when the University of Alabama hosts the first Startup Weekend, a global event, on Sept. 26 to 28. CW File
Startup Weekend is a 54-hour event aimed to assist hopeful entrepreneurs with any ideas they might have and want to pursue. The Culverhouse College of Commerce, College of Engineering and the STEM Path to MBA program, are welcoming people with ideas for a startup. Rob Morgan, the executive director of innovation initiatives for Culverhouse College of Commerce and a marketing professor, said since this is their first time, he is curious to see how it all plays out.
“It’s kind of a nervous excitement,” he said. “We are hoping we’ll have around 35 this first time.”
Throughout the weekend, people with startup ideas will pitch them to their peers and form teams. Once the teams are established, participants will receive guidance from local entrepreneur leaders to build on their ideas by doing things such as designing, coding and market validation. Bringing Startup Weekend to the University was the idea of fourth-year STEM program student Melissa Jenkins, a senior majoring in computer science. Jenkins thought it would be a good opportunity for UA students after she saw how successful the same program in Tennessee had been for her father. After her father attended the weekend and then later organized one near her hometown, Jenkins said she saw the potential and immediately mentioned it to Morgan.
“Three years later and here we are,” Morgan said. “It’s one weekend to focus on just this. I think students can gain skills of understanding how to work with other people.” Sign-ups will be open until the day before the event, and it will be $25 for any student to participate.