Fort Myers is about to join the global startup movement.
Its entry there is Startup Weekend, an entrepreneurial program previously held in 700 cities worldwide, where would-be business owners build real companies from scratch. The inaugural Southwest Florida Startup Weekend is scheduled for Oct. 6-8 at Endeavor Innovative Workspaces, a cowork office hub at 8831 Business Park Drive, Fort Myers.
Startup Weekends are 54-hour events for technical and non-technical entrepreneurs. Startup Weekends begin with Friday night pitches and continue through brainstorming, business plan development and basic prototype creation, according to a statement. The weekends culminate in Sunday night demos and presentations to a seasoned panel of investors and entrepreneurs.
“This is exactly the kind of entrepreneur-focused event we envisioned for Endeavor because it already is a hub for more than 50 fast-growing businesses,” says Endeavor Innovative Workspaces CEO Bjorn Rosinus in the statement.
At the beginning of the event, some 75 startup entrepreneurs will make brief one-minute pitches to each other and create 10 to 15 teams after they've selected the best ideas. Experienced entrepreneurs will pitch in to help mentor the teams and provide guidance throughout the weekend.
Although venture capital investors will be present at Startup Weekend, entrepreneurs will not compete for investments. Instead, noncash prizes such as branding consultations, website development and office space will be awarded to the winners, Rosinus says.
Speakers and judges for Startup Weekend in Fort Myers include Louis Bruno, president of Bruno Air Conditioning; Norman Love, chef, president and founder of Norman Love Confections; and Bud Stoddard, a serial entrepreneur and founding member of Tamiami Angel Funds. The event costs $70 per person and $25 for students. To register, go to startupweekend.org and type “Fort Myers” in the search field.