Hartford Hosts First-Ever International Start-Up Weekend

Hartford’s Start-Up Weekend is going international.  The MetroHartford Alliance and its young professionals organization, HYPE, have announced that this year’s Startup Weekend Hartford, to be held October 18-20, will represent the first transnational collaboration, as Hartford organizers have partnered with Start-Up participants in Ottawa, Canada.

 Startup Weekend Hartford-Ottawa, a coordination of virtually connected sets of teams, mentors and organizers during the competition, will also feature Jeff Hoffman, co-founder and partner at ColorJar and a former founding team member of Priceline.com, who will virtually connect to speak to the event's participants.

Startup Weekend convenes active and empowered entrepreneurs to navigate the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures - all in 54 hours.  The event, held in cities all over the world, convenes local developers, graphic designers, marketing professionals, Htfd Ottawaproduct/business managers and startup enthusiasts to build viable business plans around entrepreneurial ventures.  In Connecticut, previous events have been held in New Haven, Storrs and Hartford.

The Hartford base will hold its event at the uniquely equipped Connecticut Institute for Primary Care Innovation at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford.  Counterparts in Ottawa have partnered with longtime sponsor and Ottawa-based startup Shopify, where the local event will be held.

Startup Weekend begins with participants pitching their startup ideas and receiving feedback from peers. Participants are not required to pitch an idea to participate, but all are welcome to do so. Teams are then formed by participants based on the top ideas as voted on by the group.  Over the course of the subsequent 54 hours, each team focuses its energies on creating a business model and on coding, designing, and obtaining market validation for their product or service.

The weekend culminates with presentations in front of entrepreneurs and business community leaders who offer constructive feedback in the competition’s judging process.  This year, three winners will be named.

“Both cities have a strong entrepreneurial spirit and base, and the mechanics of this transnational effort will allow all participants, especially those who opt for the joint opportunity, to harness the most innovative and advanced technologies to connect, create and compete,” said John Shemo, vice president and director of economic development for the MetroHartford Alliance.

“We’ve found a great fit with the Startup Weekend Hartford team, both in terms of passion and in the common values that make up the secret sauce of technology entrepreneurship,” said Paul Austin-Menear, Marketing Director for Startup Weekend Ottawa.  The pace of change in business and technology continues to make waves in both Canada and the United States, and it’s important to us that the next generation of entrepreneurs be prepared for, and take part in the next leap forward.”

The MetroHartford Alliance and HYPE successfully facilitating two previous events in Hartford.  The 2012 event was the second vertical, or industry-focused, event of its kind with an emphasis on health and wellness. Registration to participate in the Hartford base for Startup Weekend Hartford-Ottawa is $99 per person.  A discount rate of $25 is available to college students.

For more information, visit http://hartford.startupweekend.org.