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Southwest College hosts start-up weekend


Prospective entrepreneurs and techies will join forces Sept. 25 to spend a weekend at Los Angeles Southwest College conceptualizing and developing a business as part of Startup Weekend.

The event is coordinated by Up Global, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve the global human condition by amplifying the efforts of startup community leaders and their ability to create and sustain flourishing entrepreneurial communities around the world.

Ideally, according to Stephanie Ardrey, who along with Tyrone Howard is coordinating the event, the businesses should have some kind of technology component (web sites, applications etc.)

For the first time, a session of start-up weekend, which is a global event, will take place in South Los Angeles, and the idea is to enable entrepreneurs, developers, designers, coders, marketers and product managers to spend a continuous 54-hour period working to create and launch a company. The weekend is also a special edition that is middle and high school students as well as college students and emerging entrepreneurs.

Interested individuals must register to be part of start-up weekend at The cost is $50 for students, $75 for early registration and $99 for regular registrants. There is also a $25 registration fee for those interested in just learning about and observing the program. The fee includes food and the various development tools that will be needed to create a company.

After registration, the process begins with everyone arriving at Southwest College by 6 p.m. on Friday. Those who have an idea for a business or product are welcome to attend as are those who can lend their skills to help create a business.

After the initial introduction and idea-creating time, judges will listen to information on the prospective business ideas during open-mic pitches on Friday, and the 10 best teams will be selected. The teams (along with people who are added from the non-winning pitch groups), will continue to develop these ideas with the help of coaches and mentors. On 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 experts.

Also on Sunday evening a final pitch session will be held that includes a demonstration of the product.

Winning teams will be offered prizes that include membership in entrepreneurial pitch forums, and free space at work spaces like Blank Spaces.

Ardrey is also working with the group, Black Silicon Valley, to create a weekend bus tour that will take winning teams from Los Angeles to Silicon Valley to expose winning teams to potential investors, mentors and others who can help individuals further develop their companies/ideas.

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