Startup Weekend Comes to Starkville

New StarkvilleBannerInnovate Mississippi announced that the 2014 Startup Weekend Mississippi statewide tour will conclude for the year with a first-time event in Starkville. Startup Weekend Starkville will be held November 14 – 16, 2014, on the campus of Mississippi State University (MSU) in a partnership with the university’s Entrepreneurship Center.

“This is the coolest event we do – taking ideas on Friday and helping turn them into companies by Sunday night,” said Tony Jeff, president and CEO of Innovate Mississippi. “We’re also calling this our ‘Beat Bama’ Startup Weekend, since we’ll all be spending game time watching and then channeling some of the energy from the Bulldog victory into finishing out company creation by Sunday.”

Powered by Google for Entrepreneurs, Startup Weekends are intense 54-hour events that operate worldwide, bringing together serial entrepreneurs, programmers, developers, graphic artists and business-minded people to build and develop software and internet-based business concepts. Startup Weekend Mississippi events are organized by Innovate Mississippi.

“For more than a decade, the cultural movement of entrepreneurship has surged at Mississippi State and we’re thrilled to take another step forward by hosting the first ever Startup Weekend Starkville,” said Kathy Gelston, associate vice president of corporate engagement and economic development at MSU.

The agenda begins with aspiring entrepreneurs pitching their business proposals to the group, who then votes for the most promising 10 to 15 ideas. The group will divide into small teams who will then each spend the rest of the weekend focusing on a single business idea, developing a proof of concept, demo or finished product. Mentors remain on hand to help fine-tune the idea into a “working company” with potential profits. A panel of seasoned professionals evaluates each group’s created company and their chances of real-world success, and the event concludes with an awards ceremony where the top three teams receive in-kind prizes from local service providers. Each participant will receive prizes from Amazon Web Services, .CO and Google.

“At events like these around the region, MSU students have always been top competitors and the program has resulted in several successful businesses,” said Sharon Oswald, Ph.D., Dean of MSU’s College of Business. “We’re always looking for ways to encourage students and faculty to take action on their ideas and test them in the real marketplace.”

Startup Weekend’s mission is to provide a high-energy, collaborative environment that facilitates experiential education and meaningful connections. Participants also build long-lasting relationships and may even walk away with a job or an investment.

This event is funded in part by a grant from the Rural Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Program through Mississippi State University.

Click here for more information and to purchase tickets, which include all events and meals for the weekend. Students received 50 percent off ticket prices. Follow all Startup Weekend Mississippi events on Twitter via @SWmississippi or visit their Facebook and LinkedIn pages by searching Startup Weekend Mississippi. Contact Tasha Bibb at tbibb@innovate.ms for more information.

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