We were recently in Arkansas for the kickoff of Startup Arkansas, it was there we got to meet some of the Arkansas community leaders. Arkansas has four major startup regions and Little Rock is one of them.
Over the course of SXSW we got to spend a lot of time with the Startup Weekend team and provided some non traditional coverage of the organization that’s not only supporting entrepreneurs but entire communities as well.
Startup Weekend is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a three day hackathon style event to create businesses. It’s also the best place to go when you have an “idea” according to Startup Weekend CEO Marc Nager.
The three day event heads to Little Rock next weekend April 5th-7th at the Clinton School of Public Services, 1200 President Clinton Ave, Little Rock, AR.
Registration will begin on Friday evening at 6:30pm. That will be followed by great networking dinner where attendees will be able to size up the competition and the possible teammates for the weekend. The presentation will begin at 7:20pm. At around 7:30pm the “Friday Night” pitches will begin. We’ve covered a lot of startup weekends and you can see plenty of Friday night pitches here at nibletz.com.
The Friday night pitches are 60 seconds and hard timed by a Startup Weekend official. In that 60 seconds you need to sell the audience your idea and why it should be built over the next 53 hours. After everyone who wants to pitch has been given the opportunity, community voting will commence. It’s a rather diplomatic process. Usually the pitchers will hold up a sign with their startup name on it and attendees will put a sticker on the idea they like the best. At the end of the process, those with the most stickers will have their ideas developed.
Friday evening typically tops off with team selection and then some icebreaker time with the teams. From there the teams break off and start working on the startup idea.
Saturday, the community coaches come into play. These seasoned entrepreneurs and local business folks are there to help answer questions for each team and provide ideas and suggestions. The coaches for Startup Weekend Little Rock are Kristian Anderson, KA+A Founder and President; Dustin Williams, UX Architect and Designer; Josh Clemence, CEO, Founder BLKBOXLabs; Mike Smith Jr, Advisor at Innovate Arkansas, Whitney Horton, Arkansas Small Business and technology development center marketing specialist; John Twyford, Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center Startup Finance & Management Consultant; Mike Steely, eCommerce and Entrepreneurship Coordinator, Arkansas Capital Corporation; Lee Watson, Owner of Clarovista; Ted Dickey, Advisor at Innovate Arkansas; Stuart McLendon, Senior Financial Analyst at CFO Network, Adjunct Professor of Finance at UALR; and Luke Coleman, Software Developer III at ABC Financial Services.
Saturday is also the day that most teams take to the streets, the phones, the emails and the interwebs to get customer validation on their startup project. All the while designers, developers and coders are working on pitch decks, wire frames, prototypes and products.
Sunday is the day the teams put the finishing touches on both their products and their presentations. At 5:00pm and not a second later, the selected teams will have five minutes to pitch their idea and have a brief Q&A with the judges. Startup Weekend Little Rock judges are: Millie Ward, Co-Founder/President Stone Ward; Jeff Amerine, Venture Capitalist/leader Innovate Arkansas; Arlton Lowry, Designer / Founder, Made by Few / Adjunct Professor of Art, UALR; Jeff Stinson, Director, Center for Innovation & Commercialization at UALR; and Jeanette Balleza, Bad Ass Startup Chick and Director ARK Challenge.
You can register for Startup Weekend Little Rock here