There’s been a lot speak about supporting entrepreneurship in Trinidad and Tobago, however little motion that creates an enabling setting for startups and small companies. Then there’s the difficulty of non-entrepreneurs main initiatives that depend on an educational strategy to constructing companies. So how do would-be entrepreneurs and startups get the kind of coaching and significant discussions that dispose of ‘ebook speak’ and provides them actionable insights and help in creating their product and refining their enterprise mannequin?
That’s the place Startup Weekend Trinidad and Tobago, a three-day workshop of types (emphasis on the work), is aiming to make a distinction.
It takes place from Might 22nd to 24th, 2013.
Staying true to its motto of “No Speak. All motion.” – will probably be three days of labor, with startup entrepreneurs forming groups to refine their product and develop their startup mannequin. It supplies useful coaching and real-time suggestions for would-be and lively entrepreneurs who’re looking for inspiration, steerage and enchancment.
Every Startup Weekend follows the identical course of. Anybody can pitch a enterprise concept. Then individuals vote for concepts, and groups are shaped to work on the pitches that acquired probably the most votes.
Individuals create multi-disciplinary groups of builders, designers and enterprise individuals to develop their concepts and launch startups inside 54 hours.
Individuals create multi-disciplinary groups of builders, designers and enterprise individuals to develop their concepts and launch startups inside 54 hours. On the final day – remaining shows are made, and the winner is introduced.
Trinidad and Tobago is under no circumstances its first place for exercise. Startup Weekend is a worldwide community of leaders and entrepreneurs on a mission to encourage, educate, and empower people, groups and communities. As of November 2012, over 100,000 entrepreneurs have acquired coaching via startup weekends. It isn’t a hackathon or marketing strategy competitors.
To study extra about Startup Weekend Trinidad and Tobago (T&T), and discover out what attendees can anticipate, I spoke with considered one of Startup Weekend T&T’s organisers, Kirk Lashley, who’s a member of Startup Weekend’s international community, and a Startup Weekend Chicago alumni and organiser.
This Chicago-based, Trini software program developer and know-how entrepreneur can also be a cofounder of WeDeliver, a same-day supply service that permits small companies to compete with Amazon’s fast delivery benefit. Having attended Startup Weekend in Chicago and Brazil, and having met his cofounder at Startup Weekend (SW) Chicago, Lashley is a full-fledged SW evangelist.
The complete Startup Weekend T&T group of organisers consists of Dr Kim Mallalieu, Candice Sankarsingh, John Beadle, Gerard Thomas, Abeni MacDonald, Akash Pooransingh, Cathy-Ann Radix, and Alvin Brown.
O: How was Startup Weekend T&T born?
KL: I used to be sharing my entrepreneurial journey at an impromptu workshop at UWI in December 2012…sharing my journey of Startup Weekend and Lean Startups.
One of many individuals within the room commented that that they had simply spent a number of days [at] and paid US$300 for a authorities workshop on entrepreneurship and had discovered extra from me within the final two hours than that they had discovered in that complete workshop. The motto of Startup Weekend is “No Speak, All Motion”. Somebody joked, that’s what we’d like extra of in Trinidad and Tobago.
One other lecturer, Cathy Radix, seemed up with all seriousness and requested how can we deliver Startup Weekend to Trinidad, as she noticed Jamaica was having a Startup Bootcamp, and all the time questioned methods to go about beginning one.
The reply was…the native startup ecosystem needs to be prepared for Startup Weekend, and an area organizer have to be educated by Startup Weekend and have attended at the very least one Startup Weekend elsewhere. There have to be sufficient demand for a Startup Weekend by native entrepreneurs who’re making an attempt to startup new kinds of enterprise and dealing with challenges.
I used to be seeing my pals and colleagues again residence investigating entrepreneurship…[interest] was reaching a crucial mass. Someday through the workshop, we pulled out our calendars and made rudimentary plans, which cemented themselves over the subsequent 5 months to create this motion that we’ve got at present.
O: I do know you’re additionally a start-up entrepreneur. Inform us about what you’re engaged on.
KL: So my startup known as WeDeliver. We’re an on-demand, same-day, crowd-sourced native supply service. Amazon has proved the marketplace for next-day deliveries, however on the similar time put the squeeze on neighbourhood retailers.
WeDeliver offers native retailers with the power to ship gadgets to their native clients inside a brief time period with real-time supply monitoring and 30-minute supply home windows. Think about you’re anticipating a package deal from TTPost, and picture they really despatched you a affirmation that stated your package deal was out for supply. You would be ready at residence for hours on that package deal, and never having any concept the place it’s. Think about should you might open up a monitoring web page and see precisely the place your package deal is on a map, and be capable of talk together with your driver, and you got a 30-minute supply window in your merchandise.
Truly, let’s make it higher; think about you possibly can select that 30-minute supply window to be everytime you need it, day or night time. We’re giving native retailers an edge on Amazon.
One in every of our clients, a t-shirt printery prints t-shirts in lower than an hour, and used to make use of USPS to ship to their clients. So clients would get their t-shirts in 2-Three days. Now we will supply their native clients the power to get their t-shirts inside an hour. That’s the worth we’re including to retailers.
We’re utilizing common individuals to make these deliveries. We are saying, ordered by you and delivered by your neighbour. So this retains cash in your native neighbourhood. I might speak extra about this, however, significantly, you don’t need me to pitch.
O: You talked about that SW is a startup itself, so funds have been restricted. The prizes are a .co.tt area and a mentor. For the one that may say that they’re not impressed with these prizes, what would you say to encourage them to nonetheless attend and pitch their concept?
KL: I’m not that impressed with the prizes up to now myself. Okay, we do have a number of extra up our sleeves. We’ve simply been ready on getting them confirmed in writing. It’s Trinidad in any case. Individuals are final minute.
I might say, if the rationale you’re contemplating attending is the prizes, then it is best to do a intestine examine on what you’re actually in search of in entrepreneurship.
I might say, if the rationale you’re contemplating attending is the prizes, then you need to do a intestine examine on what you’re actually on the lookout for in entrepreneurship.
It’s been proven the larger the prize, we run the danger of attracting the fallacious sort of attendee and never a real entrepreneur.
O: What’s the purpose of Startup Weekend T&T?
KL: Whereas the apparent objective is to launch startups, we’re making an attempt to assist entrepreneurs escape of their present networks and meet new individuals and get new concepts on how you can do issues.
We hope that Startup Weekend begins to interrupt down silos between enterprise individuals, graphic artists, mas and style designers and software program builders.
We hope Startup Weekend is a catalyst for connecting dots in our fragmented startup ecosystem.
We hope Startup Weekend is a catalyst for connecting dots in our fragmented startup ecosystem.
We hope to assist entrepreneurs realise they don’t need to be Silicon Valley to create superior, world-changing corporations. We need to assist groups recognise the worth of multidisciplinary collaboration. We would like the nation to see what expertise we’ve right here regionally, and the forms of startups our nation might produce.
We would like buyers to see the longer term potential of startups they should begin supporting, and push them to know digital know-how. We hope to encourage a era of younger individuals who have needed to attempt, however simply didn’t know the place to start out.
These are all lofty long-term objectives.
O: What are the short-term and medium-term objectives?
KL: The short-term win can be that entrepreneurs depart right here and have the arrogance, the instruments and the help community to start out their very own enterprise. We would like them to remain related to create a robust help community for different aspiring entrepreneurs. Within the medium time period, these entrepreneurs will develop into the leaders of the startup ecosystem.
O: What can individuals anticipate to get out of attending the occasion?
KL: They are saying it takes a village to boost a startup, and Startup Weekend is the place you meet that village. You’ll meet superb cofounders, staff, mentors, and individuals who will probably spend money on you and have a good time.
Startup Weekend follows the lean startup paradigm fairly nicely, so that you study the lingo of being lean, ideating, iterating, buyer discovery, buyer improvement pivoting all whereas making a minimal viable product and a pitch deck. What meaning is you’ll be able to anticipate to go away with product-market match in your concept.
Individuals can anticipate to assume quick and create shortly. You’ll study new instruments, which may also help you as an entrepreneur or an intrapreneur…Be ready to be on an adrenaline rush. You’ll construct, you’ll pivot, your will fail and you’ll succeed.
O: The identify says startup, however some individuals can be extra superior of their considering or expertise, or would have already ‘began up’. What degree/sort of entrepreneur would you say Startup Weekend is for?
KL: I feel Startup Weekend is greatest for an entrepreneur or would-be entrepreneur who has been toying round with an concept, however has not but carried out it…or has carried out it, however isn’t positive in the event that they constructed the correct factor, or can’t work out a scalable, repeatable enterprise mannequin. I might say it’s for anybody who’s prepared to study, pivot and develop.
I feel collectively the group can provide you with higher solutions than one individual.
Startup Weekend just isn’t for individuals with all of the solutions. I’ve seen an entrepreneur who has bought a multi-million greenback enterprise come again to Startup Weekend to pitch an concept. I’ve seen an angel investor pitch an concept to type a staff that he needed to fund.
Startup Weekend is about speedy suggestions out of your friends, from coaches and out of your clients. In the event you’d love to do it by yourself in 6-18 months, that’s your selection. We’d such as you to fail quick, so that you succeed quicker.
O: What are a few of the alternatives that folks waste at Startup Weekend?
KL: Networking. I anticipate a developer or two to be avoiding eye contact, till the occasion formally kicks off. Truly, I need to say that is the only, biggest, wasted alternative at each Startup Weekend by attendees to share their concepts with different and get them enthusiastic about what they need to pitch. However it’s additionally comprehensible that they nonetheless have that the worry that somebody goes to steal their concept.
At some occasions, attendees underutilize the coaches. This can be a probability to select the mind of a senior product designer, an superior developer, the proprietor of an area e-commerce website, individuals expert in entrepreneurship, and so forth. Individuals get as a lot assist as they’re prepared to simply accept.
O: The occasion is known as Startup Weekend. Why isn’t it on a weekend?
KL: The primary Startup Weekend was truly began on a Wednesday night time within the TechStars workplace in Boulder, CO. Since then it’s been simpler to make use of area and get attendees on weekends, however in locations just like the Center East, Startup Weekend often begins on Wednesday or Thursday to keep away from battle with spiritual occasions.
Equally, we didn’t need to discourage attendees from the USC, Seventh Day Adventist College from attending because of Startup Weekend beginning on a Friday night time. There’s truly a profit to [hosting it] through the week…groups can truly speak to potential clients throughout enterprise hours or weekdays a lot simpler than they might on weekends. Buyer validation has all the time been more durable on weekends.
Startup Weekend is an opportunity to startup. For those who’ve been wanting to start out one thing for a very long time, and this chance is right here, the truth that it’s on a weekday or a weekend ought to make no distinction.
O: Do you assume it’s value individuals taking time-off from work to attend?
KL: I feel it’s not solely well worth the time, I feel employers ought to encourage it, and pay for his or her staff to attend. We’ve this flawed mindset that entrepreneurs will give up your job as soon as they get uncovered to it. I consider some individuals simply have that entrepreneurial spirit.
Peter Drucker describes an entrepreneur as somebody who searches for change, responds to it and exploits alternatives. Albert Shapero says entrepreneurs take initiative, settle for danger of failure and have an inner locus of management. That just about sounds just like the type of worker that I’d like to have.
Each employer on the market who has an worker that desires to attend Startup Weekend ought to encourage them as a result of the rewards for the employer are larger than the three days they’re not within the workplace. They might pitch a brand new product which will discover its method in your organization, or they could develop a brand new talent to speed up their enterprise actions.
Typically, you may lose a couple of individuals who will understand how straightforward it’s to cross over from worker to entrepreneur. They usually make that change. Whereas it might be initially exhausting for an employer, dropping that individual sooner, somewhat than later if you’ve invested extra assets into them can be good for each events.
O: What recommendation do you will have for people who find themselves going to be pitching their concepts at Startup Weekend?
KL: I’d say:
- Learn the pitching define.
- Community with individuals.
- Practise your pitch; it’s 60 seconds.
- Ask for the skillsets you want.
- Share your concept with as many individuals as attainable.
- Take heed to as many concepts as you possibly can.
- Depart the non-disclosure agreements at house. No authorized paperwork is to be signed at Startup Weekend.
- Community with individuals with these skillsets. Individuals could have totally different colored stickers on their nametags. Speak to the individuals with the color it’s worthwhile to get in your workforce.
- Vote early in your favorite pitches.
- Rise up and pitch. It’s half about presentation as it’s about your concept. Practise enthusiasm.
- Inform me your drawback you’re making an attempt to unravel, spend much less time on the answer. That may change over ‘the weekend’.
To register for Startup Weekend T&T, go to trinidad.startupweekend.org.
Right here’s a video that exhibits two individuals’ journey at Startup Weekend Toronto.
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