Startup Weekend is an exciting time where Notre Dame student innovators and interested members of the broader community, of differing backgrounds, can bring their skills together in collaboration to form a business. From building a prototype, figuring out every aspect of the business model, and presenting their results, attendees get the opportunity to bring a business idea to life. Startup Weekend participants are faced with the great challenge of bringing together all the connecting pieces to create this venture in just 52 hours.
This year, a team of ESTEEM students volunteered to lead the organization of Startup Weekend. This ESTEEM student team consisted of Eoin Clancy, Emily Russo, Shifei Wang, Eydis Lima, Austin Fry, Alison Hennessy, and Daniel Hogan. Student organizer Austin Fry claims that “being able to bring like-minded individuals from different backgrounds to spur creation and innovation,” was his favorite part of the experience.
ESTEEM students, along with other Notre Dame students, members of the community, and a group of visiting students from China, joined together Friday evening for dinner, guest speakers, networking, and to pitch their business ideas. After this, teams spent all day Saturday shaping and validating the business model for their venture. Teams do not have to do this alone and are assigned mentoring coaches, who are experts in everything startup. Finally, on Sunday students spent time perfecting their presentation to present to a panel of judges.
The winning team innovated a way for younger students to be excited about STEM, and the second place team, which included ESTEEM student EB Conklin, created a platform to connect individuals who needed an errand or task completed to those willing to complete it.