Ecosystem cannot be created without entrepreneurs, and entrepreneurs are not attracted to communities without an ecosystem.
The first youth-focused Startup Weekend was held in Rochester, Minnesota, March 18-20, 2016, at the University Center Rochester.
Young innovators united for the region’s first Youth Startup Weekend, integrated elements of art, design, science, technology, engineering, and math with business and entrepreneurship, to take their ideas to reality. And it was free!
Startup Weekend was intended to connect middle and high school age students with community experts skilled in operating a business, a connection that doesn’t typically occur organically.
“External experts with business and technical experience helped mentor teams, however, students forced to push the limits of their comfort zone and learn new skills,” said Rachelle Oribio, Techstars++ Program Director, and co-¬organizer of Startup Weekend. The event culminated in a “Shark Tank” style pitch competition where teams presented their business and demonstrated their prototype to a panel of local entrepreneur judges.
Guest speakers for the event included Tori Utley, Founder and CEO of an early-stage tech and social venture startup company called Tinua, and John Devlin, EDO of Medical Innovations International, Inc., and co-founder of Bio-Med.
Youth Startup Weekend is a “J2G Endorsed Initiative.” It is an independent event assisted by Journey to Growth volunteers and support when and where needed.
Sponsors for the event are Mayo Clinic Ventures, Techstars++, SBDC Minnesota, Intel, Rochester Community and Technical College, and Rochester Public Schools.