Startup Weekend comes to Ames

Brad Dwyer, the entrepreneur behind, presents his final pitch to the Startup Weekend Judges. placed third in the fourth annual competition. 

Zoe Woods

Entrepreneurs are getting together April 12-14, 2013 to discuss ideas that would be viable for new companies at an event called Startup Weekend.

Ames will be hosting the event along with 13 other cities from around the world. Approximately 50-75 people are expected to attend.

This is the first time that the Startup Weekend event has been in Ames.

Mike Naughton, senior in computer science, “decided to take the initiative and start the ball rolling to bring the event here,” said Adam Reineke, senior in software engineering.

Naughton was asked to organize Startup Weekend in Ames and started planning the event with Reineke.

“I’ve been friends with Mike [Naughton] for a long time, and when he asked for my help, I volunteered,” Reineke said. “I’ve attended two previous Startup Weekends. So that experience was a driving force behind wanting to get involved.”

Startup Weekend is an event that can help “students find a place to build real-world applications and get some more immediate validation of what they’ve learned at Iowa State and what they know already,” Naughton said.

Naughton said Startup Weekend is important to build momentum for business growth in Ames.

“It’s a great way for students to gain real-world experience for resume-building, too,” Naughton said. “This will help the entrepreneurial community of Ames become more connected, and especially this will make a connection between the student population and the general population of Ames.”

According to the Startup Weekend press release, the event consists of entrepreneurs forming teams and discussing ideas.

There will be coaches for each of the teams to help if assistance is needed.

“Bringing this event to Ames is an amazing opportunity for students and others in the community to spend a weekend bringing their dreams to life,” Reineke said. “Hopefully, this will generate more companies who are proud to call Ames home.” 

At the end of the event, groups will give final presentations. These presentations will then be judged, and awards will be given to the winners.

Both Naughton and Reineke hope that Startup Weekend will be in Ames again.

“The first time is the hardest, but now, we’ve made lots of great connections and found way more local support than I would have expected,” Reineke said.