The recent Cape Cod Startup Weekend to nurture local entrepreneurial spirit proved to be an exciting and productive weekend for all involved. The event, hosted at the Cape Cod Community College over the 14-16 November weekend, was well-attended, generated lots of ideas which were converted to five competing teams for the judges to rate on Sunday evening. All teams produced compelling plans and the scoring proved to be very close; although there had to be a winner, everyone competing benefited from the weekend-long experience. The new businesses ranged from an innovative picture board, a sport fishing destination business, green cleaning solutions, a non-profit youth advisory service and a designer clothing business.
The Cape Cod Technology Council has always supported entrepreneurial business growth on the Cape and Islands and originally initiated the Entrepreneurs weekend concept with the Cape Cod Chamber some years ago; two years ago, efforts were coordinated with the Global Startup Weekend initiative, bringing benefits in visibility and major sponsors and prizes. CCTC board directors and members strongly support and participated in all the events. This year was no exception with the CCTC President, Paula Hersey, being honored as one of the judging panel and the lead organizer being CCTC past President Peter Karlson.
“The energy in the room, even at the end of the long weekend of work, was palpable” said Paula. “All teams did really well in presenting their ideas, validating them with customers and refining their go-to-market plans. It was tough to pick a winner”.
“Over 50 individuals attended and pitched 13 ideas for businesses. After the Friday evening networking, we had five strong teams with a great mix of skills in each team”, said Peter, who is also the Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce. “We also had several CCTC directors and members who helped organize the whole event, provide expert mentoring support and also participated in some teams”.
Although the teams and participants do win prizes from major sponsors to help their business incubation, they also build bridges, partnerships, and teams that often carry on well after the event has finished.
“We (the CCTC) have always been proud to support these entrepreneurial efforts to help build businesses on the Cape and thanks go to our members in providing their time and skills – we are already planning for the next event! However, we also must recognize our partners in these events including the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce, SCORE, the Community college, the Small Business Development Agency, Cape Cod Five (and others I may have missed) for their support and sponsorship – we all share the vision to grow business on the Cape!”