TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The fourth Startup Weekend Tuscaloosa, a program that encourages entrepreneurial thinking among University of Alabama students and the Tuscaloosa community, will be Friday, March 3, to Sunday, March 5, at the South Engineering Research Center on the UA campus.
During the event, participants in the area gather to pitch ideas for startup firms and work with experienced coaches to validate their business models.
“Startup Weekend is a global organization that works to foster community startups around the world,” said Pamela Hill, clinical instructor in UA’s STEM Path to the MBA Program. “Its purpose is to provide the participants with the opportunity to connect with people, learn about developing an idea and work toward starting a company.”
The event is organized through Up Tuscaloosa, a volunteer group of community leaders.
Judges for Startup Weekend are Tom Scroggins, attorney for Rosen Harwood; Bobby Bragg, director of practice growth for JamisonMoneyFarmer; Dr. Theresa M. Welbourne, the Will and Maggie Brooke Professor in Entrepreneurship at UA’s Culverhouse College of Commerce; Robert Gilpin, managing director in Z Factor Investments LLC and a partner in the Alabama law firm of Gilpin Givhan; Josh Parker, senior director of pharma contract strategy for Accredo Health Group; and Lindsay Hugghins, acquisitions associate at EBSCO Capital LLC.
The keynote speaker Friday night is Jared Cassity, co-founder and president of Kinematic Sports. Experienced coaches and mentors from the local area are available to help the teams work through problems.
On Friday night, those with startup ideas perform a one-minute pitch. All participants will vote on the ideas; the ones with the most votes will move forward, Hill said. Teams are then formed around the ideas and begin work.
On Saturday, the teams work to validate their idea through market research, customer discovery and the establishment of a minimum viable product. Local mentors and coaches with expertise in business development, graphic arts and technology work with each team to help develop the product.
On Sunday, teams continue working on their products and developing presentations for the judges. Prizes include space at The Edge, a business incubator partnership between UA, the city of Tuscaloosa and the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama, and advice from Intellectual Property and accounting experts.
Sponsors are Alabama Power, Randall Reilly, Regions, Rosen Harwood and EBSCO Capital. Additional sponsors are The Edge, the STEM Path Program through Culverhouse School of Commerce, UA’s College of Engineering, Alabama Entrepreneurship Institute, Dees Associates, Shelton State, Brewery Buddy and Tala Professional Services.
Anyone in the community who believes they have product ideas or who is interested in developing new products is invited to attend.
More information about Startup Weekend Tuscaloosa can be found at tuscaloosa.up.co/events.
Registration is also available through the event website. Cost to attend the event for non-students is $65 and $35 for students. Food and drinks are included in the price.