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Startup Weekends are 54-hour events where developers, designers, marketers, product managers and startup enthusiasts come together to share ideas, form teams, build products, and launch startups!

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Startup Weekends are weekend-long, hands-on experiences where entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs can find out if startup ideas are viable. On average, half of Startup Weekend’s attendees have technical or design backgrounds, the other half have business backgrounds.

Beginning with open mic pitches on Friday, attendees bring their best ideas and inspire others to join their team. Over 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.

Why attend a Startup Weekend event?

Call us biased, but we think that there are dozens of reasons why you should come to a Startup Weekend! Since we know your time is valuable, we’ll only list the top eight:

Education:
Startup Weekends are all about learning through the act of creating. Don’t just listen to theory, build your own strategy and test it as you go.

Build your network:
This isn’t just a happy-hour. Startup Weekend attracts your community’s best makers and do-ers. By spending a weekend working to build scalable companies that solve real-world problems, you will build long-lasting relationships and possibly walk away with a job or even an investor.

Co-Founder Dating:
We all know it’s not just about the idea – it’s about the team. Startup Weekend is hands down the best way to find someone you can actually launch a startup with.

Learn a new skill:
Step outside of your comfort zone. With a whole weekend dedicated to letting your creative juices flow, Startup Weekends are perfect opportunities to work on a new platform, learn a new programming language, or just try something different.

Actually launch a business:
Over 36% of Startup Weekend startups are still going strong after 3 months. Roughly 80% of participants plan on continuing working with their team or startup after the weekend.

Get face time with thought leaders:
Local tech and startup leaders participate in Startup Weekends as coaches and judges. Get some one-on-one time with the movers and shakers in your community.

Save money & get stuff:
Startup Weekends typically cost between $75 and $150 (less for students). Startup Weekend Rockford is just $50 ($35 for students) when registering now! Your ticket covers seven (7) meals, snacks, access to exclusive resources from our sponsors, and of course, all the coffee you can drink.

Join a global community:
Join over 45,000 Startup Weekend alumni, all on a mission to change the world.

Ever wondered what it takes to be an entrepreneur?

The professional and personal challenges, the high and lows, the failures and the success?

Startup Weekend is a global grassroots movement of active and empowered entrepreneurs who are learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures. It is the largest community of passionate entrepreneurs with over 1800 past events in 120 countries around the world in 2014.

The non-profit organization is headquartered in Seattle, Washington but Startup Weekend organizers and facilitators can be found in over 200 cities around the world. From Mongolia to South Africa to London to Brazil, people around the globe are coming together for weekend long workshops to pitch ideas, form teams, and start companies.

All Startup Weekend events follow the same basic model: anyone is welcome to pitch their startup idea and receive feedback from their peers. Teams organically form around the top ideas (as determined by popular vote) and then it’s a 54 hour frenzy of business model creation, coding, designing, and market validation. The weekends culminate with presentations in front of local entrepreneurial leaders with another opportunity for critical feedback.

Whether entrepreneurs found companies, find a cofounder, meet someone new, or learn a skill far outside their usual 9-to-5, everyone is guaranteed to leave the event better prepared to navigate the chaotic but fun world of startups. If you want to put yourself in the shoes of an entrepreneur, register now for the best weekend of your life!

Schedule

Friday

Nov 14
  • Registration Starts
  • Dinner & Networking
  • Welcome & Speakers
  • Pitches Start
  • Attendees vote for the top ideas
  • Teams start forming and discussing ideas
  • Start to formalize teams and take an inventory of skills. Be honest, and direct about what resources and skills are needed for the weekend. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow

Saturday

Nov 15
  • Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee
  • Teams formed and setting up workspace for the weekend
  • Lunch
  • Call for needs & skills
  • Coaches help teams one-on-one. They are here to help!
  • Dinner
  • Mid weekend check-in, status reports, call for help
  • Finished for the day. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow

Sunday

Nov 16
  • Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee
  • Call for help (this is self motivated, so don’t be shy)
  • Lunch
  • Coaches arrive… ASK QUESTIONS
  • Gut check. Start prepping for presentations
  • Dinner
  • FINAL PRESENTATIONS
  • Judging & awards
  • Wrapup
  • Go home!
Platinum Sponsors
Gold Sponsors
Silver Sponsors
Media Sponsors
Speakers
Judges

Mike Baima

Judge   |   LinkedIn

Michael J. Baima is an attorney in Reinhart's Intellectual Property Practice. Prior to becoming a patent attorney, Michael was employed at Watlow Electric Manufacturing as a product engineer, and focused on product development in the semiconductor and food processing industries. While at Watlow Electric in 2005, Michael designed a modular product system, reducing delivery from three weeks to one day.

Michael served in the Illinois Army National Guard for ten years. During that time, he served as a Platoon Leader in an air defense artillery unit, a Company Executive Officer of a combat engineering unit, and an assistant to the Judge Advocate General Corps. Michael also successfully completed U.S. Army Airborne school.

Jeffrey J. Kaney, Sr.

Judge   |   LinkedIn

Jeffrey J. Kaney, Sr., is the founder and CEO of the Kaney Group, LLC. The Kaney Group is a collection of inter-related companies, which includes commercial Real Estate (Kaney Aviation Properties, LLC), Aerospace Engineering (Kaney Aerospace, Inc.), Precision Manufacturing (Ardekin Precision, LLC. and Kaney Aerospace Repair Station, LLC.) and Capital Funding (Kaney Capital, LLC.). The Kaney Group has holdings in 8 states and offices in Rockford IL, and Seattle WA.

Mentors

Jeff Fahrenwald

Mentor   |   LinkedIn

Organizers
Scot A. Dobbs
Mark Elliott
David Griffith
Dr. Clarence Harper
Jorge Herrera
Gregory Johnson
Melissa Leuzinger
Jeffrey Stewart
Phil Way
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