Startup Tucson is A Crash Course in Creating a Business for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

September 20, 2013

Pioneer_4This month, Startup Tucson will host Tucson’s third annual Startup Weekend Tucson. The high-energy event pairs Tucson’s best and brightest aspiring entrepreneurs with the talent, tools, training and support resources necessary to quickly take innovative business ideas from concept to launch in 54 hours.

“With the pace business moves today, an entrepreneur can’t afford to waste time and money on the wrong idea,” said Justin Williams, President of Startup Tucson. “So, in 54 hours, we help entrepreneurs of all types to work quickly through the early steps of exploring the potential for turning their ideas into real businesses.”

The weekend begins on Friday night with a rocket pitch contest where attendees make 1-minute pitches for their ideas. Then the group votes for the best ideas and teams form around them. Through the weekend, teams work with local CEOs, founders, investors and other startup veterans to validate that a real market exists for their ideas and to shape their product or service to meet customer needs.

Startup Weekend Tucson takes place Friday, September 20th through Sunday September 22nd at Gangplank Tucson, a collaborative workspace in Downtown Tucson. For information and tickets visit the website.

Startup Weekend Tucson culminates with Startup Shark Tank, an event similar to the popular television show. During the evening, Startup Weekend teams will pitch their ideas to a public audience and a panel of investor-judges for feedback, awards, and citywide “bragging rights”.

Startup Shark Tank is open to the public and begins at 5:00 p.m. Sunday, September 22nd, at Unisource Energy Headquarters ballroom at 88 East Broadway Boulevard. Shark Tank information and tickets are available online.

Startup Weekend Tucson participants from each of the first two years have gone on to significant success.

In 2011, Dr. Yi-Chang Chiu, founder of Metropia–a traffic management mobile application–attended Startup Tucson’s first ever Startup Weekend. Chiu says that “this event was a critical catalyst for successfully moving my research from the lab into the marketplace. In the subsequent two years we have grown our prototype into a fast-growing business with several contracts signed or to be signed totaling more than $2 million.”

Stephen Ost, founder of Ufree, came to network and learn, but walked away with more than he expected. Ost says that “from participating in Startup Weekend, I was connected to Lean Launchpad and the Arizona Center for Innovation. It has been the most beneficial year of my life!” Ost was recently named one of five national finalists for Entrepreneur Magazine’s “College Entrepreneur of 2013”.

Startup Tucson’s Startup Weekend event and its role in Tucson’s “Startup Pipeline” was recently credited by Entrepreneur Magazine as a key reason for naming Tucson as one of five “emerging entrepreneurial hubs” in August 2013.

The “Startup Pipeline” is a series of coordinated programs arranged to support aspiring entrepreneurs through the key steps of idea validation, business-model development, prototype creation, and early-stage fundraising. Other events in the Pipeline include Lean Launchpad, Startup Tucson Hackathon, Maketopolis, and IdeaFunding.