I never thought it would be possible to build a company in one weekend with little to no previous experience under my belt, but the JCU Weekend of Startups proved me wrong.
On November 15-17, I had the pleasure of participating in the competition organized by the JCU Institute for Entrepreneurship (IFE), the third and biggest edition of the Weekend of Startups. As an alumna and staff member of JCU, I couldn’t have felt more at home, even in the unexplored waters of business and the startup world. The IFE Team did a spectacular job making everyone feel welcome – there were about 100 participants coming from various schools and backgrounds, including JCU undergraduate and master’s students as well as participants from LUISS, Tor Vergata, the University of Florence, CRMPartners, a high school in Orte, Latium, and one PhD candidate from the University of Queensland in Australia.
The real challenge was the “marathon”: we had 44 hours to create a startup from scratch or work on an existing project. On Friday afternoon, we pitched. We had one minute to present an idea and captivate the audience. My pitch was for an existing startup that I work with, an online media company called The Tempest. Everyone voted for their two favorite ideas and networked to form the teams. I decided to join a team to create a new startup, a service for gamers called GamedIn. On Saturday, we started working on the companies, doing market analysis and creating the structure, the business and revenue models, and the marketing strategy. We met with the incredibly supportive coaches. There were about 30 going around to mentor the teams, including two who were JCU Alumni, and giving us advice.
On Sunday, we had five minutes to present our projects. The judges got together to determine the winners soon after. I still can’t believe the results. The Tempest and GamedIn won the two entertainment prizes, and GamedIn also won a Starting Finance deal.
The entire experience was surreal for me. I majored in Communications and minored in Humanistic Studies and now work in student affairs and media. I understand very little of the fascinating dynamics of entrepreneurship or business. I thought I’d be a fish out of water next to current and future entrepreneurs, but that wasn’t the case. Participating in the Weekend of Startups was great! It pushed me out of my comfort zone, and to me, those are the best learning experiences.
I recommend everyone to participate in future editions of the JCU Weekend of Startups, even if you’ve never considered becoming an entrepreneur or opening a business before, because your ideas do matter, and with the right tools, they have the potential to become reality.
Communications major, Humanistic Studies minor
Class of 2018
Hometown: Naples, Italy