Sixty eager entrepreneurs arrived on Friday evening to pitch their idea. Event Facilitator, Corey Smith, conducted the selection process trimming the pitches down to six. Teams formed, and the organizers had the area's best business mentors and coaches on hand to offer all the business consulting the teams required.
On Saturday teams scurried around conducting research, validating their ideas, testing their concepts, huddling together in various spots throughout the Advanced Technology Center at Gulf Coast State College. Teams worked diligently to create prototypes, analyze costs and further develop their business plans. Jim Riley, a business consultant with the Veterans Business Outreach Center and Jayme Thomas, co-founder of Visual Goodness coached teams throughout the weekend. Holly Pituch, marketing manager at SweetBay Development along with Chris Josten and his team from Curiosity Marketing Group consulted the participants on their design work and marketing plans. Team leader of the Incore Rock Climbing gym concept, Alexis Wicker said that “Jayme Thomas saved the day by helping her with the cost for their first-year projections.”
The Enactus GCSC Team and Ripples of Change Club shared their current project with the visitors. Their projects focuses on social entrepreneurship called the Tiny Pod Community.
Sunday evening the Startup Weekend participants made final preparations for team pitches to the judges.
In the end, they gave a five-minute presentation with hopes of winning one of the original designs of the 2017 trophies furnished by Gulf Coast State College and their FABLAB. The top three teams also won a collection of prizes valued close to 4,000 dollars. Congratulations to this year’s winning teams: 1st Place- Safe-Flush, 2nd Place- Clean Pool Pal and 3rd Place- Disaster Relief Unit.