Peel’s First Startup Weekend! October 24, 2012 RICCentre By: Matthew Kert What a great weekend! Startup Weekend Peel was a huge success with over 80+ attendees. We had about 30 participants pitch their ideas and work together to make the chosen few a reality. The entrepreneurial spirit was strong over the three days as participants learned from industry experts on how to create an effective business. Teams worked hard throughout the three days and it all culminated with the final pitches on Sunday. The team for CardDrop ultimately won the grand prize of $1000 Cash by PointClickCare and various other training from our sponsors. Friday evening was jam packed. A buzz was in the air as participants showed up eager to get started. After an opening speech by RIC’s own Pam Banks, Darrell Keezer from Candybox Marketing got us started, talking about the importance of having your own story. Then startup facilitator Tammy Hwang broke down how the three days will go, emphasizing the need to pivot (changing business plan) over the weekend and beyond. Then the fun started. Anyone who had an idea had 60 seconds to pitch, with time strongly enforced by Tammy. There were over 20 good ideas and everyone got three sticky-note votes to place on their favorites which were placed at the front of the room. The top few were chosen and everyone formed teams based off of the top ideas that they would be working on during the weekend. Saturday was when the work started. Everyone came in ready to work with their computers and monitors in the beautiful collaboration rooms at Sheridan College. Throughout the day there were guest speakers helping the teams on various topics like validation, testing, marketing and the art of the pitch. Teams worked hard, preparing there for the final pitch on Sunday. It wasn’t all work however with the evening’s end at a fun social event at the local pub Failte’s. On Sunday, everyone was finalizing their pitch getting help and practice from mentors. Each team had 10 minutes to present with four judges making the final decision. Every presentation was amazing but there could only be one winner with CardDrop taking home the prize. You could really tell there was lots of hard work put into each project and everyone was deserving of the grand prize. This weekend brought the best out of everyone taking part with the entrepreneurial spirit in full effect. If I could sum up this week’s event in one word it would be ‘collaboration’ because we got to see what Peel region’s entrepreneurial scene is all about. Matthew is a final year undergraduate student majoring in Communication, Culture & Information Technology and Psychology at the University of Toronto Mississauga. He is interning at the RIC centre and is responsible for managing various social media events the company has to offer. He is very interested in advertising and marketing with a strong background in online marketing. The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers provide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.