September 18, 2014  

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Startup Weekend Jackson Set for Jan. 18-20 at Millsaps College

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Innovate Mississippi (formerly the Mississippi Technology Alliance) has announced that Startup Weekend Jackson will take place Jan. 18-20 at Millsaps College. Startup Weekend is an intense 54-hour event powered by the Kauffman Foundation that operates worldwide and brings together like-minded entrepreneurs for a weekend of company creation.

An event for entrepreneurs to pitch software or internet-based business concepts, Startup Weekend collaborates with serial entrepreneurs, programmers, developers, graphic artists and business-minded people to build and develop ideas.

The aspiring entrepreneurs pitch their proposals to the group, who then votes for the most promising 10 to 15 ideas. The group will divide into small teams and spends the rest of the weekend focusing on a single business idea and developing a proof of concept, demo or finished product. 

Mentors remain on hand to help fine-tune the idea into a “working company” with potential profits. A panel of seasoned professionals evaluates each group’s created company and their chances of real-world success, and the event concludes with an awards ceremony where the top three teams receive in-kind prizes from local service providers.

Startup Weekend’s mission is to provide a high-energy, collaborative environment that facilitates experiential education and meaningful connections.  Participants also build long-lasting relationships and may even walk away with a job or an investment.

At the inaugural Jackson event held last February, Startup Weekend saw 73 participants with 37 ideas pitched. From those 37, 12 were chosen as potential businesses, teams were formed and prototype companies were created. The two winning teams were Gotcha Universe, an automated, web and text messaging-based game that assists campus-based organizations in raising funds, and AutVantage, an IT staffing agency focused on employment opportunities for individuals with autism. 

Startup Weekend Jackson is currently looking for participants, financial and in-kind sponsors and mentors to work closely with individual teams and provide feedback, constructive criticism and encouragement. 

Startup Weekend is organized by the employees of Innovate Mississippi. Contact Tasha Bibb at tbibb@innovate.ms or Tiffany Langlinais at tlang@innovate.ms for more information.

Visit www.jackson.startupweekend.org for more information and to purchase tickets, which include all events and meals for the weekend. Students receive 50 percent off ticket prices. Follow the Jackson event on Twitter via @SWjxn or visit their Facebook and LinkedIn pages by searching Startup Weekend Jackson. 

Innovate Mississippi is a nonprofit organization with the mission to drive innovation and technology-based economic development for the State of Mississippi.