The UMass Dartmouth Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) will host a Startup Weekend for student innovators and entrepreneurs, beginning today, April 22, at the CIE facility in Fall River (151 Martine Street). More than 35 teams, made up of approximately 60 students, will compete in the 54-hour, weekend-long startup competition. UMass Dartmouth students from all majors were invited to participate.
The theme of this semester’s competition is the “maker edition,” focused on building physical products. Participants will have access to the state-of-the-art labs at the CIE, equipped with machinery and knowledgeable staff to assist inventors, entrepreneurs, and companies large and small.
Beginning with open mic pitches tonight at 7:30 p.m., attendees bring their best ideas and inspire others to join their team. Over Saturday and Sunday, teams focus on customer development, validating their ideas, practicing LEAN Startup Methodologies and building a minimal viable product. On Sunday evening teams demo their prototypes and receive valuable feedback from a panel of industry experts.
Startup Weekend judges include Massachusetts Small Business Development Center Network’s Melinda Ailes, Cherrystone Angel Group Executive Director Jennifer Rousseau, and Massachusetts Small Business Development Center Senior Business Advisor Cliff Robbins. Team mentors include Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Director Toby Stapleton, Optimal Partners Consulting Founder and Principal Consultant Nuno Couto, Business Innovation Center Program Manager Christopher Nielsen, Intellectual Property Attorney Doug Denninger, Johnson & Wales University Entrepreneurship Center Mentor Jeff Ledoux, Kantar Retail Consulting Chief Financial Officer Victor Guimaraes, Building Global Innovators Business Developer Catarina Madeira, Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship Mechanical Prototyping Lab Manager Edward Spring, and IOT Impact Labs Lead Engineer Dan Mahoney.
Startup Weekends provide hands-on experiences where entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs can find out if their startup ideas are viable. On average, half of Startup Weekend's attendees have technical or design backgrounds, and the other half have business backgrounds.