Startup Weekend ND 2018
Startup Weekends and hackathons are a great way to inject and spread the entrepreneurial bug! The concept behind both of these is to get together with like-minded individuals that value developing a business but come from various backgrounds. And over a period of a 54-hour weekend event the groups pitch ideas for new startup companies. We are more than excited to bring Startup Weekend to Notre Dame again this year for the 7th year in a row! The event will be taking place in the Pit Road space of Innovation Park.
Although there is a lot of excitement behind the ideas that students and professionals within the Notre Dame community have, I learned after participating at a Yale Healthcare Hackathon that innovation, to do it right – takes time and a solid team. Going from raw idea to a finished product is an exciting journey but it should not be taken alone, and it does take time to procure the right success. Whether the startup is software-centered or in a highly technical area like healthcare or renewable energy, to have the right approach at all stages of the business model is key. ESTEEM and Innovation Park have incredible resources and a unique entrepreneurial community! Simultaneously providing the runway of structure, mentorship, and the most important in my eyes – constructive criticism. The goal is to not only to evaluate the product from technical angles but more importantly from the customer’s viewpoint to then assess how to be a financially viable and thriving business.
For the upcoming Startup Weekend -- taking place on February 9-11, 2018 -- there is a lot of exciting talent that will come together to innovate. From students of various departments on campus, to professors, to folks within the community, the event is all about creating a fun and exciting entrepreneurial environment at Innovation Park. This year’s event will also be hosting students from China (sponsored by Notre Dame International) and needless to say, it’ll bring strong and edgy talent to Pit Road where we all will be ideating and working together. Everybody is welcomed to come pitch an idea at opening night on Friday, February 9, and then work cohesively the next day to pitch to a panel of judges for prizes on Sunday, February 11. As the world evolves in high technology and business, so should our attitudes towards a more globalized world. Interacting across cultures allows us to see unique angles in which to interdisciplinary create change. This is something I learned at an early age with half my life lived in Cuba, the other in the United States, and a year in Brazil. Come join us at Innovation Park the entire weekend, one day, as a participant, or for the experience! You’re guaranteed to make great connections and expand your network.
At the moment, there are two projects that I’m very passionate about – DermaDiagnostics and NORA. The idea behind DermaDiagnostics actually originated from a Healthcare Hackathon at Yale when I was doing research there as an engineer in the Obstetrics and Gynecology Department of the school of medicine. The mission of this venture is to provide customers with a non-invasive patch to test for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and cervical cancer. While NORA’s focus is to give women a personalized e-commerce platform for private purchasing of feminine hygiene health and care products at all stages of womanhood. It’s truly centered around privacy and time efficiency. Last summer while a group of ESTEEMERs and I were just learning business model in class, we had to get out of the classroom and go talk to folks in the community to see if there was a need for an idea we had thought of. While at a Walgreens pharmacy, we discovered that women shopping for personal hygiene products were shy about the purchase of pads, tampons, and sexual health products. It is a topic that is still stigmatized in our societies and talking to women we realized that they all would love a private way in which to acquire the monthly necessities. Soon after, my friends Rania and Kunci found ourselves brainstorming ideas at IP that turned into NORA.
NORA and DermaDiagnostics teams value core characteristics such as being logical, loving and loyal. Basing decisions with a consistent and logical angle before and affectionate and tender side is very important to us. These two values are the pillars to being loyal which means we try our best to be faithful to family, friends, and partners in business. Our technical values are freedom, health, and an exciting life. Come venture with us for Startup Weekend at Innovation Park!