Thank You to CPE for
Running a GREAT Event!!
This was my 7th Startup Weekend and since I have written about the entire process in prior years, this year I want to focus on how the event is evolving over time. Internationally 12% of the teams at a Startup Weekend will go on beyond the event in the business formation process. I can tell you without question that the Cal Poly event run by the Cal Poly Entrepreneur Club is way past that average. Our community has an advantage of a ecosystem that helps the ideas move through to the business community. The services from Judy Mahan’s organizations, at the SLO Hot House (business incubator), are perfect for helping Startup Weekend Groups launch their business.
One thing that is really encouraging is the evolution of the gender mix. The percentage of women giving pitches and participating in teams have grown noticeably over the years. It was cool to look at the line of people waiting to pitch and seeing an equal split between men and women. The technology industry needs a smart, motivated, and diverse labor pool. Based on this event we are moving in the right direction.
The concepts have gotten much better over the years. The winners of this year’s competition were all serious ideas that hold the potential to be startups in our community. In the earliest events there were some concepts that were fun for the weekend but not really serious. There were still a few that will never see the light of day but like any creative process you must allow for this type of fall out. We will not know for a few months how many go forward but I would wager that it will be way more than 12%!
The Business Community Should be MORE Engaged
People ask me why I participate in these events and its because it creates competitive advantage for me. For $65 I get to talk with smart people for 54 hours as we explore business topics of interest to me. I get to hear smart ideas from brilliant minds and meet people that are self-motivated to solve those challenges. I get outside, independent, creative ideas and they feed me! It does take time but as I told my wife I have to be somewhere, and this is more fun than most of the alternatives. I am shocked that business participation is so low. Out of the 100+ involved in the event I was one of three that were over 30. Since the average age of a successful entrepreneur that launches a high growth business is 39 you have to wonder why this event was not full of experienced business people. All this happens for $1.20 an hour – WHAT A DEAL!!! Here is what Time Magazine says about this:
Start-ups in some industries, such as biotech and business software, gain an edge from the experience that comes with a founder’s age. According to research by Vivek Wadhwa, an academic and tech entrepreneur, and the Kauffman Foundation, the average age of successful start-up founders in these and other high-growth industries was 40. And high-growth start-ups are almost twice as likely to be launched by people over 55 as by people 20 to 34.
CPE Organizers Help Startups
Stepping On Out!!
A Word about Cal Poly
I am a big fan of the CPE and CIE at Cal Poly. Their support hosting this event is a huge contribution to the local business community. What our business community must realize is that this is not just for University students. Startup Weekend is open to anyone in the community that has the entrepreneurial spirit, an idea to change the world, and the drive to make it happen. Learn more about the great people in CPE Leadership https://cpentrepreneurs.com/officer-bios/