Florida International University was the site of some incredible magic as Startup Weekend EDU saw one of its most diverse group of people come together to learn and practice critical entrepreneurship skills in order to take ideas from concept to creation in less than 54 hours! It could not be more fitting that Miami, Florida also known as the Magic City was home to a magical experience for a diverse group of aspiring entrepreneurs that included: students from elementary, middle, and high school; university students; university professors; K-12 teachers; parents; ex-convicts; developers; entrepreneurs; and local professionals. The youngest participants at this event were 8 years old and they both presented with their respective teams!
Startup Weekend EDU is a 2.5 day event whereby educators, developers, designers, and entrepreneurs come together to pitch ideas to solve problems in education and form teams around the selected ideas. Teams then spend the weekend taking these ideas from concept to creation, culminating into a final presentation to a panel of all-star judges from the community. Judges assess pitches based on clearly defined problem statement, prototype design, validation of problem and prototype, and finally, the business model. This theme was critical for a region that is home to some of the largest school districts going through difficult challenges.
Having facilitated over 16 events around the country, I thought I had seen it all. However, nothing could have prepared me for this incredibly diverse group of people and all of the challenges and possibilities that would manifest over the weekend. To be honest, I was concerned about whether the event could be a success and if everyone would figure out how to work well together quickly enough to deliver a final presentation by Sunday evening to a panel of all-star judges from the Miami community. Continue reading