MANSFIELD – Idea Works is already preparing for its inaugural startup weekend.
The co-working facility based in downtown Mansfield will host the city’s first Techstars Startup Weekend Friday, Sept. 28 to Sunday, Sept. 30, but between then and now, the organizers have planned a series of “warm-up” events, introducing the community to the concept and stirring up excitement about local entrepreneurship.
Tracy Graziani, one of the event organizers says the event is designed for entrepreneurs of all levels. Those who have already established businesses, especially local manufacturers, she believes would be a great fit.
"We just want the community to get excited about entrepreneurship," she said.
The first of these pre-startup weekend events, called Expanding Your Market, will take place from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 11 at Idea Works, 40 W. Fourth St.
It will feature Lisa Delp, former executive director of Ohio's Third Frontier and inaugural organizer of “Technology Requirements & Innovation Awareness Days” (TRIAD) in Columbus.
Through a question-answer session, Delp will explain how startup weekend ideas could serve the U.S. defense market. She’ll discuss ways in which entrepreneurs can get tangible help from and exposure to combatant command tech and product scouts who have the potential to be game-changing customers for small businesses and startups.
“That small business idea you've always had – you may think it has nothing to do with the U.S. military, but join us to find out the type of potential your idea could have,” Graziani said.
Admission is free, but those who plan to attend are asked to register at Eventbrite.com.
What is a Startup Weekend?
During a Techstars Startup Weekend, people pitch and begin building startup businesses in a 54-hour period.
The events are designed to provide superior experiential education for technical and non-technical entrepreneurs. Beginning with Friday night pitches and continuing through brainstorming, business plan development, and basic prototype creation, Techstars Startup Weekends culminate in Sunday night demos and presentations.
Participants create working startups during the event and are able to collaborate with like-minded individuals outside of their daily networks. All teams hear talks by industry leaders and receive valuable feedback from local entrepreneurs.
“Whether you are looking for feedback on an idea, a co-founder, specific skill sets, or a team to help you execute, Techstars Startup Weekends are the perfect environment in which to test your idea and take the first steps towards launching your own startup,” Graziani said in a press release.
In February, she attended Columbus’s startup weekend along with five others from Idea Works.
Graziani went into the event, looking at it as a “fun experiment,” but was surprised by what she and her group accomplished. They pitched a “one-stop shop” for starting a business called Venture Raptor, which would provide a “simple, friction-less system” for individuals to start a business.
Another Mansfield representative, Cameron Haring was on the winning team. He and his group of seven others, who were previously strangers, won the competition with their pitch for Coin Score, a startup that would collect and provide information about cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.
Read more about their startup experience at richlandsource.com.