North Texas Daily

Startup Weekend teaches entrepreneurial skills

Startup Weekend teaches entrepreneurial skills

January 16
21:49 2013

Courtney Garza


Students and locals will get the chance to launch their entrepreneurial careers on campus this weekend and be mentored by experienced speakers and business professionals.

Starting Friday in Sycamore Hall Startup Weekend is a global movement of entrepreneurs who want to learn the basics of founding a startup company. It is the single-largest community of entrepreneurs, with more than 400 past events in 100 countries in 2011, according to their website. Organizers and facilitators work in more than 200 cities around the world.

The nearest startup event was in Dallas until UNT alum and former Startup Weekend participant Kyle Taylor decided to create an event in Denton.

“Once I started getting into the event, I really got an itch for it,” Taylor said. “I talked with another co-organizer about getting Startup to the Denton area, and luckily he was looking to expand anyway.”

Before graduating from UNT in May, Taylor entered his senior engineering project in the Washington, D.C. Startup Weekend event. Though his project didn’t win, it still attracted attention from the right people.

“You get to meet the people you wouldn’t normally meet, who will give you opportunities for your career that you won’t get anywhere else,” Taylor said.

Taylor contacted Christina Drummond, the assistant director of the College of Arts and Sciences, who announced the event. Kevin Roden, assistant director of student life and city council member, coordinated the speakers and publicity.

“There are a number of innovative people who are looking to promote their entrepreneurial life in Denton, whether it be students or recent grads,” Roden said. “I want them to have a reason to stay in Denton. This event will do that by maintaining the entrepreneur ecosystem.”

Roden reached out to young business professionals in Denton to promote and recruit speakers for the event.

One of the speakers is Bear Cahill, a freelance iOS developer with BrainWash Inc. who contributed to about 100 iOS apps, including FlightTrack, Gas Cubby and HotelPal. He also wrote and published a book, “iOS in Practice”.

“With my business, I consolidate existing data and put it together in a new way,” Cahill said. “I aim to tell the audience how to use existing tools and make them their own.”

Startup Weekend includes speaker sessions and allows participants to pitch their own ideas for a new product or company. A panel of judges will review the entry and pick one winner, whose idea will spend three months in the Innovation Incubator at Discovery Park.

The Incubator is a way for companies to interact with students and business professors.

“I see participants getting the experience to use what they learned in their classes and actually apply it to their careers, and a taste of the real world as they network and build on ideas with people in a professional setting,” Taylor said.

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