Startup Weekend is a non-profit brand that promotes international events where men and women, especially young people from any professional field, contribute with ingenious business ideas using technology. In August, 20 students from ZAMORANO decided to take on the challenge of participating in the Startup Weekend offered in Tegucigalpa, thanks to the support of scholarships obtained by the ZAMORANO Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIEZ, for its Spanish name). It was a weekend of intense learning and business stimulation that concluded with a recognition for their good work.
Since its inception in 2007, Startup Weekend has organized entrepreneurial events in 150 countries around the world, reaching more than 200,000 entrepreneurs. Here, the participants are faced with the challenge of preparing a business proposal in just 54 hours of continuous work. It all starts with the presentation of ideas by the participants. The teams are put together based on the themes that caught the attention of each atendee and then develop a business model. Each team must validate the market (prove that there is a demand for the service they propose), and create a functional basic prototype (which must be global and replicable on a large scale), with the support of specialized mentors in different fields of knowledge. The event ends with a pitch presentation from all the projects before experts.
“I thought about the need for farmers to have an effective irrigation plan for their crops. To work on the proposal I was going to need programmers, designers and people who knew about different topics, not just agriculture”, explains Sively Díaz, a senior Agribusiness Administration (AGN, for its Spanish name) student. Her idea gained popularity and several youth were moved to support it, achieving in the end the award for best business model of the event.
“They urged us to think outside the box,” says Julio Pérez, a junior student majoring in AGN who together with his team proposed the idea of making videogames a more economically accessible hobby for fans. The business would take place through agreements with the companies that release the video games with the goal of creating a platform that would give access to an unlimited number of games by only using a membership.
Preparing a good pitch was key to the success of the venture. Mario Bermudez, a fourth-year student majoring in Food and Science Technology, shares that what he valued most of the weekend was learning how to pitch an idea: “I learned that when presenting an idea I have to go to the point of the matter in an interesting way and quickly. “
“I had never been with other university students outside of ZAMORANO and it was wonderful to see so many people from various universities trying to think of an idea that would help society,” reflects Jameson Augustin who along with Sergio Carrillo, both second-year students at ZAMORANO, and other young university students, worked to create a platform through which people in need of a blood transfusion could quickly contact available donors. Their team won the Best Global Startup award. “I never imagined that I would participate in the creation of a technology-based project from my area of study. Now, I realize I can.” shares Sergio.
Congratulations to the students who participated in this innovative and educational business event. May your experiences inspire others to dream big. The success of this experience has motivated the CIEZ to look for more spaces similar to these so that the technology-based entrepreneur ecosystem becomes firmly rooted in ZAMORANO.