Weekend brainstorm drenches area with ideas

The Factory (38 W. Fulton, Grand Rapids) was the weekend headquarters for over 70 aspiring entrepreneurs gathered for Startup Weekend West Michigan, a 54-hour event focusing on building a web or mobile application that could form the basis of a credible business.

Friday night begins with 2-minute business "pitches" followed by a crowd vote to identify 10 ventures to be developed in the next 48-hours. After voting, teams are formed and development continues through the weekend, culminating in final presentations on Sunday afternoon.  

Thanks to a tech-savvy crowd, the action reverberated through social media, becoming a trending topic on Twitter Friday night as individuals shared their excitement.

Paul Kortman, whose idea for a an online buying club was voted in the top 10, updated his family and friends "I'm in!" on Facebook. Asked to explain, Kortman replied, "This means that I now have a team of around 8-10 people who are going to help me make this dream of a software into a reality. We're going to work all weekend and show off our software Sunday at noon."

The Atomic Object blog features several first-hand accounts of the weekend, including a synopsis of the Boom or Bust story, the eventual weekend winner. The Rapidian also featured the entire voting outcome and outline of every idea on Monday morning.

The event is staged by Seattle-based, non-profit Startup Weekend. According to Startup facilitator Sterling Cross who traveled from his home of Boise, ID to the West Michigan event, the participants were much more "naturally energetic" than other weekends he has been responsible for thus far.

Cross was also quick to point out that the goal is not just having an event, but that "many of pitches continue on after this weekend."

To learn more about Startup Weekend, you can visit their website here.

(Full disclosure: the writer of this story was a team participant and one of the volunteer organizers of the event)

Source: Sterling Cross, Startup Weekend

Writer: John Rumery, Innovation and Jobs Editor
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