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Startup Weekend is coming to Mansfield for the very first time. As your dedicated organizers, we’ve been busy organizing what we hope will be a wonderful and exciting event for everyone involved. Given that we’re so focused on making this a great weekend for all those participating, we want to make sure that you know exactly what to expect from this energetic weekend. First, the logistics.


Participants arrive between 5 and 7 PM on Friday and begin networking while having dinner. After a brief ice-breaker game and a brief introduction by the Facilitator, Dan Manges, a local entrepreneur and CTO of Root Insurance, will share his story of entrepreneurship.

Then the pitching begins! Anyone that wants to pitch will have 60 seconds to give it their best try. No presentations or props needed here; just you and a mic. After pitches are finished, all participants will vote on their favorites and these votes will be used to select the top ideas to be worked on over the weekend. If your peers like your idea, great!

Some ideas will survive the vote, others won’t. People organically form teams around their favorite ideas (usually around 6-8 per team)  and get down to business until the end of the evening.

Remember, we will provide you with breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks for the entire weekend!

Teams will work all day on Saturday with the occasional breaks to eat, do a quick group check-in on everyone’s progress, and listen to a short talk from Marquise Stillwell, founder of Openbox. We’ll have mentors walking around to provide advice in the field of their expertise for any team that needs or wants it.

Sunday is crunch day! Teams will work uninterrupted from morning until mid-afternoon. They’ll begin wrapping up their product/prototype and presentation around 3-4 PM so that there’s time remaining to do check if their technology works and rehearse their final pitches. Final pitches to the judges usually start around 5 PM. Each team typically has 5 minutes to present plus 2-3 minutes Q&A from the judges. The judges will select the top teams, give out prizes, and the event ends (and celebration begins!)

Startup Weekend is going to be a lot of hard work but, above all, it’s going to be an extremely fun weekend. We’re doing this for you. We want you to know that there is a space where you are positively encouraged and supported to work on those ideas that have always been brooding in the back of your mind. We want this to be a memorable experience for you so that you keep going to Startup events here in Mansfield or elsewhere in the country. Because at the end of the day, what’s work without play?

What are we supposed to have accomplished by the end of the weekend?

On Sunday, the judges will use the following criteria to judge your idea:

  • Customer Validation (Have you done customer research for your idea?)
  • Execution and Design (What did you build? Do you have a minimum viable product?)
  • Business Model (Do you have a plan for the future?)

It’s most important that you have some sort of a minimum viable product (prototype) to present to the judges. Regarding presenting, here are examples of the most common presentations:

  • Wireframes or fully developed website
  • Mobile Apps (from mock-ups to skeletons to fully functional)
  • Slide decks (Powerpoint, Keynote, Prezi, etc.)
  • Videos (i.e. product demonstrations, etc.)
  • Live product demos

That said, this doesn’t mean that your idea must be a tech idea. All business ideas are eligible, whether for-profit, ‘social’ enterprises, nonprofit organizations, etc. We don’t want to place restrictions on the types of ideas you present at Startup Weekend. We just strongly recommend that even non-tech ideas focus on a tech-related deliverable (i.e., website, app) by Sunday.

An open space for learning

Please don’t leave just because your idea wasn’t picked on Friday! You can always join another team and work on a different idea! This weekend isn’t about proving that your idea is better than everybody else’s idea. This weekend is all about learning.

Learning how to use an entrepreneurial mindset to find a problem and bring it from thought to a reality. Learning how to think through problems with the build-measure-learn feedback loop, which is a process in which you make something that you think solves a problem, gather feedback from customers, learn from this feedback, and change your product accordingly. It’s simple; your customers tell you what they want, and you make the product so that it’s exactly how they want it.

At the end of the day, what you can really expect from Startup Weekend is an open space where every idea gets a chance to be heard. This is not a place where only billion-dollar tech ideas get a voice. We want Startup Weekend Mansfield to be a place where every idea from every industry and every solution to every problem is represented.

Because at the end of the day, that’s all we really want. To be represented.

Check out the Frequently Asked Questions for more information!

Edward Akinyemi