Friday October 15 - Sunday October 17, 2021 Twin Counties Catalyst CoLab hosted the very first Techstars Startup Weekend in this region. Techstars Startup Weekend is a 54-hour educational event where anyone—developers, designers, business developers, marketers, teachers, students, and everyone in between—can come together to pitch an idea and launch a business, all in one weekend.
The Techstars worldwide network helps entrepreneurs succeed. Founded in 2006, Techstars began with three simple ideas—entrepreneurs create a better future for everyone, collaboration drives innovation, and great ideas can come from anywhere. Now we are on a mission to enable every person on the planet to contribute to, and benefit from, the success of entrepreneurs. In addition to operating accelerator programs and venture capital funds, we do this by connecting startups, investors, corporations, and cities to help build thriving startup communities. Techstars has invested in more than 2,700 companies with a combined market cap of more than $206.9B. www.techstars.com
Techstars Startup Weekend kicked off Friday night with guest speaker, Seth Saeugling (Rural Opportunity Institute), sharing inspiring words with the participants. Seth has attended Techstars Startup Weekends previously in other areas and shared this:
"Huge shoutout and thank you Colab for bringing Startup Weekend to our community! For context... Vichi [Rural Opportunity Institute Cofounder] and I actually really got to know each other better when we both did a Startup Weekend back in Raleigh almost 10 years ago. It is an action pack, really positive learning experience. "
"Startup Weekend is a global event that has happened in thousands of urban cities (150 countries!) across the globe and thanks to Irese and Arlane this is the first time there will be a Startup Weekend hosted in a more rural community like our own. "
Techstars Startup Weekend - Rocky Mount would not have been a success without the support from local sponsors. Edgecombe Community College provided the venue. American Underground and Rocky Mount Mills provided three months of free office space at Rocky Mount Mills.
The participants were lead through an ideation session that prepared them to pitch their ideas in 60 seconds or less.
Once all ideas were pitched, participants had to choose to work on a team with someone whose idea interested them the most. The next few hours were spent working with mentors and team to turn that idea into a solid plan and presentation.
On Sunday, Each Team presented their business idea to a panel of judges.
Twin Counties Catalyst CoLab founders, Arlane Gordon-Bray and Irese Robinson plan to have more Startup Weekends in the future.
Organization vision: To be a change catalyst and to help navigate the path to a future of self-determined Eastern Carolinians with limitless opportunities and equitable economic growth.