Shaylyn Sikorski led a team of ESTEEM students who organized the Startup Weekend.
Notre Dame’s third annual Startup Weekend, April 4-6, kicked off with a fun night of meeting new people and pitching new ideas. Attendees had the opportunity to listen to Dennis Boyle, a Notre Dame grad and co-founder of IDEO, speak on design thinking and how to design products and create businesses to meet the customer’s needs. We heard pitches from 18 people, and by the end of the night seven teams had formed to continue working throughout the weekend.
Startup Weekend brings together people with diverse skill-sets and interests, using collaboration to fuel innovation. The diverse teams worked hard throughout the weekend and received coaching from business professionals and technology experts that allowed them to take their ideas to the next level. Teams learned how to go from an idea to a business and all of the steps in between, with a focus on customer validation. Teams were encouraged to get out of the building and talk to their customers, and they used customer feedback to guide the development of their business idea.
Saturday night, teams had a chance to relax and listen to panelists Jim Larkin and Kelly Schwedland debate the pros and cons of bootstrapping and venture capital funding. This panel discussion was both interesting and informative, offering attendees valuable information about finding funding as they move forward as entrepreneurs.
The teams showed off all of their hard work and gave their final presentations on Sunday afternoon to a panel of judges. All of the teams had great presentations, and it was amazing to see how far each team had come in only a couple of days. A special congratulations goes out to the top three teams: Smart Fridge in 1st place, Fit2gether in 2nd place, and Conetent in 3rd place!
Startup Weekend Notre Dame was a successful weekend full of hard work, innovation, and collaboration. Thank you to all of the sponsors, coaches, speakers, judges, organizers, and participants for making it a great event!