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Innovation Portal hosts Techstars Startup Weekend Mobile

It’s inspiring to see what aspiring entrepreneurs can do in just 54 hours.

From Friday evening to Sunday evening, a group ranging from 16-year-old students to well-versed businesspersons gathered for Techstars Startup Weekend in Mobile at Innovation Portal.

The creative and collaborative three-day event had individuals and groups develop and pitch new business ideas to a panel of judges from an array of backgrounds.

Mobile’s Innovation Portal hosts Techstars Startup Weekend for entrepreneurs from Alabama News Center on Vimeo.

To help the process, participants took part in icebreakers, listened to mentors and learned about everything from making a pitch to business model creation, prototyping, designing and market validation.

“Startup Weekend helps people realize that there are other people like them around, people that want to help solve problems,” said Daniel Johnsen, Techstars Startup Weekend facilitator. “If you come together, you’ll be shocked about what you’ll be able to contribute and get accomplished in a weekend.”

Some participants turned up at the opening presentation with ideas, while others came up with new ones in a group setting. Six teams from a variety of walks of life presented their final business models in front of judges from across the Southeast.

Aspiring entrepreneur Raven Dedeaux joined Startup Weekend to seek the skills needed to transform her idea into a business plan.

“When I saw the design of Startup Weekend, I figured this would be the perfect opportunity to hone in on those skills, allow me to connect with people, find out what it’s like to work in a team and to see what we can come up with in the end,” she said.

The closing night was a celebration of participants, judges, mentors and supporters. Restaurant owners joined for a “food festival” with a selection of drinks and eats, both sweet and savory.

The winner, Habit Heroes, was a last-minute-pivot idea. It seeks to provide a service for parents to help instill quality structure and routines for their children.

Artrina Matthews, a member of the winning team, wanted to take part in Startup Weekend to network and meet like-minded people.

“My inspiration for coming this weekend was to gain information and knowledge on how to build a business and make it successful,” she said.

Innovation Portal is a nonprofit incubator and innovation location created to help accelerate startup growth across the Gulf Coast region. It hosted the event, which was sponsored by businesses and organizations across the area, including Voyager LendingBasestar Inc., the Hearin-Chandler Foundation and the Mobile Chamber.

Innovation Portal is supported by Alabama Power, the University of South AlabamaRegions Bank and other donors.

To participate in the next Startup Weekend or to learn more about Innovation Portal, visit innovation-portal.com.

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)

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