Innovation and creativity will be coming to Muncie with Startup Weekend Oct. 5 to 7 in Ball State’s Applied Technology Building.
The event takes place in different cities around the world, throughout the year and is coming to Muncie for the very first time.
Powered by Google and Techstars, the event will have participants ranging from professionals to college and high school students from in and around Indiana.
“We don’t really see central or east-central Indiana as a place where innovation happens but I just think that’s not true,” said Krystal Geyer, assistant director of the Entrepreneurship Center.
She said a lot of Ball State students and people in and around the Muncie area are on the fence about being an entrepreneur.
“I think when people have the structure to experience, they can see what’s possible,” Geyer said.
In February, a team of staff members from the Entrepreneurship Center and students participated in a Startup Weekend event held in Columbus, Ohio. Students who volunteered were given a new experience in entrepreneurship and learned more about hosting a similar event in the future.
“We were approved in February and have been planning ever since,” Geyer said.
Participants are given a minute to pitch ideas, which they later vote on. Teams are formed and work begins one one of the most voted ideas. Using the resources they’re provided and with help from mentors, they are given five minutes to present their final idea to a panel of judges who decide the winner.
Geyer said by the end of the 54 hour ordeal, participants usually have a working prototype, a feasible business model and customer validation for their respective startups. After the event, some even continue their work on the startup idea.
“Everyone can add something and you’re going to have all these professionals walking around to guide you and poke holes in the idea and give suggestions,” Geyer said. “It’s really indescribable how it all comes together, but no one should be intimidated. No one should feel like they don’t have something to add at all.”
“Life changing is the words that I use when I talk about Startup Weekend,” said Karen Lloyd, program coordinator at the Entrepreneurship Center, who worked with the team of students at the Columbus event where they created a dating app.
According to the event’s website, the winning team gets one free session of business, funding, marketing and web consultation with various local companies for their startup, including an automatic bid for 1 Million Cups, a monthly event in the Innovation Connector that brings together entrepreneurs in the community.
“It’s not always about the idea. It’s about the hustle,” said Tom Burden, a former F-16 weapons mechanic in the U.S. Air Force and inventor and CEO of Grypmat, the winner of a Startup Weekend event held 2013 in Toledo, Ohio. He said participants need to do whatever it takes to ensure their ideas are successful.
“It’s about the startup. It’s not about you,” Burden said.
He also said that it was awesome to be able to brainstorm ideas, be creative and work with innovative people over the course of the event.
In 2017, Burden took his startup on the television show “Shark Tank,” where he accepted a joint investment offer of $360,000 for 30 percent of the company from Richard Branson, Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner.
Besides the various professionals who will be mentoring the participants, Scott Wise, Ball State alumnus and founder of Scotty’s Brewhouse and Thr3e Wise Men Brewing Co., will be speaking at the event.