Startup Weekends: Accelerate Startups Accelerate Friendships

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By: Rachel Eilbott

I attended my first Startup Weekend three days after I first arrived in India. I had just moved from halfway across the world, didn’t known anyone in the whole country, and was still jetlagged. That first weekend, I’d been planning on seeing the Taj Mahal (of course), but someone from work asked if I wanted to go to come with her to this thing called Startup Weekend…luckily, I was intrigued.

Your challenge at Startup Weekend is to build a business in 54 hours. It’s a chance to test out an idea that maybe you’ve always had in the back of your head, but have never actually been able to work on because you have a full-time job or school or not a free hour in the day – a million life reasons – combined, of course, with the inherent risk of taking the leap. Or, like me that weekend, the chance to join a team and combine diverse skill sets to work towards developing out an idea.
The atmosphere was fantastic: whiteboards and post-it notes, animated conversation from every table, and crazy energy. I was so caught up in the excitement of the weekend that I almost forgot I was jetlagged. Now, over two months later, our team is still working together to bring to life our project, having joined forces with a venture that just launched. And we’re not the only ones, either: a good number of projects are being actualized. More than just that, we joked the weekend was a friendship accelerator as well – and I still am close to a number of awesome people from that weekend.
I’m excited to be helping organize the next Startup Weekend – especially one aimed at women! Any friend could tell you how excitedly I talk about Startup Weekend, the first one and the upcoming one. For those of you I don’t know, however, and won’t get to hear my excited Startup babble, I can only tell you virtually – COME! It was awesome, it WILL be awesome, and you won’t regret it. I promise.
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