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2/10/12 - No talk, all action: MSU students to attend Startup Weekend Jackson

Fourteen students from Mississippi State University along with other would-be entrepreneurs from across the Mid-South will be attending Startup Weekend Jackson Feb. 10-12, where they will spend three intense days developing ideas and prototypes for technology startups.

The event is organized by the Mississippi Technology Alliance, and is being held at Millsaps College.

Startup Weekend, a non-profit organization conceived in Boulder, Colorado in 2007, holds such events across the world. Their mission: to encourage the founding of startups by bringing software developers, graphic designers, and marketing and business professionals together in an environment focused solely on making business ideas a reality.

The weekend starts with a “pitch-fire” night, where attendees have 60 seconds to pitch ideas in a forum-like setting. Participants then form groups based on their interest and begin implementing them. After 54 hours of dedicated work on those ideas, the groups present their developed business model and prototype to a panel of judges.

Saunders Johansen, entrepreneurial development intern at the MTA had this to add, “The weekend event is centered on a threefold mission. The first objective is to educate the participants on creativity and strategy. The second is to build long-lasting relationships around a meaningful business network and the last objective is to assist all startup weekend participants to successfully launch a business. Some individuals aren’t aware with what the weekend entails, but some come ready to start their own business venture. In fact, we worked with organizations such as the MSU E-Center to help identify individuals who already have an entrepreneurial mindset but maybe just need this weekend to further develop that mindset.”

The Mississippi State University Entrepreneurship Center helped to identify and sponsor students from a wide variety of majors to attend the event, in the hopes that it will foster a spirit of cooperation among the departments they represent. Undergraduates and graduate students from disciplines such as computer science, marketing, computer engineering, management, software engineering, business administration, and mechanical engineering are all attending this event.

Gerald Nelson, the director of the MSU Office of Entrepreneurship and Technology Transfer said, “This is really a collaboration on all levels. We wanted to work with the MTA to bring as many different students from as many different majors as possible. We are trying to constantly build that culture of entrepreneurship on campus and are excited at what our students will learn and bring back from this intense startup weekend. We hope to help them further their entrepreneurial ventures when they get back to campus.”

All students attending are sponsored by MSU, the MSU OETT, the MSU E-Center and the Thad Cochran Endowment of Entrepreneurship and would like to thank all those who are supporting them.

Jesus Valdez | MSU Office of Entrepreneurship and Technology Transfer

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