[KHTS] – Dozens of entrepreneurs from the Santa Clarita Valley and beyond gathered at College of the Canyons over the weekend for the Santa Clarita Startup Weekend in hopes of creating a viable business idea.
The Santa Clarita Startup Weekend is a competitive small business startup event that brings entrepreneurs and designers together to create a new business or product.
The competition had 47 people from all over the state of California as well as Nevada register to pitch ideas, learn about entrepreneurship and help create what could be the “next big thing.”
“The Startup Weekend is kind of like hackathon but for businesses,” said Tom Beckett, one of the organizers of the event. “You have the developers from a hackathon but then you also have designers and then also general entrepreneurs.”
The competition started on Friday Nov. 13 and allowed each of the 47 participants an opportunity to pitch an idea. In the end, only 25 people presented an idea.
Once the ideas were pitched, participants voted on what they felt were the best ideas until only seven were left.
Participants then joined teams around the ideas they liked best, ranging from about three people to about 10 people per team. There was no requirement to the size of the team, said Beckett.
Each team had 54 hours to bring that idea from concept to creation before presenting them in front of a panel of five judges on Sunday.
“They only get five minutes to present,” Beckett said. “Some of the presentations already look pretty snazzy, their apps work and some of them have some pretty insane customer data.”
One of the teams went as far as the Santa Monica Pier to collect consumer data and thoughts on their idea.
Over the course of the competition, the organizers would have workshops for the teams to attend to learn more about what steps they would need to take in order to bring their ideas to completion. VEDC, an economic development center, was one of the many companies that discussed ways for the startups to receive funding for their projects.
After the presentations, the judges picked the top three teams they feel are the best startups from the competition.
“The (judges) will hear each of the pitches (at the end) and pick the top three teams from that,” Beckett said. “We have our local prizes; first place gets the office space, the investor sit down, financial consultation and lawfirm consultation. Second and third place also get a financial and a law consultation.”
The winners of the event will be announced after the competition on Sunday night.
Santa Clarita Startup Weekend is one of the many startup business events that are held around the world.
“Part of doing this event on this weekend is part of the Global Startup Battle,” said Beckett. “So we are one of 200 startup weekends this weekend. There are ones down in Mexico, ones in Africa and then some in India, then a bunch in Europe, they are just all over the place.”
The top three team in the Santa Clarita Startup Weekend will be placed in a virtual startup battle between winners of other startup weekends around the world, said Beckett.
The Global Startup Battle offers its winner multiple prizes designed to help get the startup the resources it needs to be successful, as well as a trip to the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in 2016.
Beckett hopes that the success of the Santa Clarita Startup Weekend will allow them to expand and come back next year to make the competition better.
– Skylar Barti