Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Startup Weekend Fosters Bright Ideas, Businesses

By Denise Yost
Managing Editor,
Published: April 1, 2009

original post at:

COLUMBUS, Ohio —Out of the darkest economic times come bright ideas and businesses.

With 9.4 percent of Ohioans unemployed and 7.7 percent of Franklin County residents out of work, the time to start a new business may be now and a local program could help you start that business in just more than 48 hours.

The premise of Startup Weekend is simple: bring intelligent and motivated people into one room for a weekend and then watch as the best ideas from the group float to the top and see whether those ideas can be launched into successful businesses.

“If you haven’t been involved in a start-up, it kind of compresses that timeframe of what start-up life is like,“ said Alvin Borromeo.

By day, Borromeo is a contract negotiator for Sterling Commerce. This weekend, he will be leading Startup Weekend Columbus.

Borromeo began the even last year and continued it in 2009 in hopes of helping Columbus build on its 2008 ranking by Forbes Magazine as the no. 1 up-and-coming tech city.

“I kind of think of it like speed-dating for entrepreneurs because what you’re doing is you’re getting together with somebody you don’t know and you’re working through the weekend,“ Borromeo said.

In the nine months since the first Startup Weekend Columbus, the event already has early success stories.

“The idea never would have come to fruition if it wasn’t for Startup Weekend,“ said Brian Zuercher, CEO of ClearWish.

Zuercher came to Startup Weekend last year with a business idea that would become known as ClearWish. It’s a software application that helps people create an online shopping wish list so that friends and family know exactly what you want for a birthday gift or Christmas present.

“I’m not a technical person, so I needed the technical expertise to help get my idea off the ground,“ he said.

That’s where Startup Weekend comes in. Zuercher connected at the event with future business partners and picked up promotional support and perhaps, most importantly, momentum for the concept.

“The problem in a place like Columbus is it’s not a hotbed for start-ups. So in order to bring those people together into one spot, you need something like Startup Weekend to act as a catalyst for these ideas,“ Zuercher said.

“I love technology and I want Columbus to flourish in the technology field,“ Borromeo said.


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