Entrepreneurs just had 54 hours to take their greatest idea from concept to creation at an event led exclusively by volunteer community leaders.
The Dr. Edwin Cottrell Entrepreneurial Leadership Center at West Chester University, the Greater West Chester Chamber of Commerce, and the Chester County Economic Development Council’s Ideas x Innovation Network (i2n) recently partnered to deliver the first-ever Techstars Startup Weekend for the Philly ’burbs at WCU.
Techstars Startup Weekend West Chester is a 54-hour event that brings together active and empowered entrepreneurs who are learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures.
More than 60 people from six states packed a room at WCU on kick-off night, with 25 people standing up to pitch their ideas before a panel of professionals and investors. After much deliberation and rounds of voting by the collective group, seven ideas were chosen to be worked on in teams over the remaining 50 hours.
All day Saturday and into Sunday morning, the seven companies were built. With the help of 20 mentors (and more than 80 hours of volunteered time) from the region’s leading businesses, the seven teams received guidance and frameworks to help them in creating a prototype to present on Sunday evening.
At the final presentations on Sunday, judges assessed the teams on three main criteria: validation of problem, solution and design, and business model.
The following three winners were chosen:
- First Place: Work Out On Wheels, a mobile gym that comes directly to your home complete with a Red Cross Certified Driver/Personal Trainer
- Second Place: InstantFund, a web-based platform that serves as an intermediary to speed up the refund process for online purchases
- Third Place: End of Life Wishes, a website that has all the information needed to manage the death of loved ones, including counseling services, burial options, and estate management
The impressive list of more than 25 coaches, judges, and speakers from southeastern Pennsylvania who actively support the entrepreneurial community included Saxbys CEO Nick Bayer, Shawn Blackburn of YPrime, Marian Moskowitz of Franklin Commons, Dr. Steve Hughes of Cheyney, and Ruder Schill of SCORE.