Last August, UNCG graduate student Zack Mohorn walked into the North Carolina Entrepreneurship Center (NCEC). Zack had arrived at the university-community entrepreneurship portal to discuss a new business idea with NCEC Director Bryan Toney. Over the course of a winding conversation (wherein, oddly enough, the two men discovered they were distantly related), Toney suggested Zack attend an upcoming Startup Weekend in Asheville to develop his ideas and gain some experience.
Startup Weekend is a global grassroots movement of leaders and entrepreneurs working to inspire, educate, and empower individuals and communities. At each Startup Weekend event, developers, designers, marketers, product managers, and startup enthusiasts come together to share ideas, form teams, build products, and launch startups – all in under 54 hours. Attendees forge lasting friendships, find co-founders and employees, learn new tools and methodologies, practice new skills, and walk away with a deep sense of growth and accomplishment.
Zack returned from the event excited and inspired. He wanted to bring the transformative Startup Weekend experience to Greensboro. At the invitation of Toney, the young man went before the Greensboro Small Business Consortium, where he successfully pitched his idea. The Consortium formed a planning team composed of Toney, Nussbaum Center for Entrepreneurship CEO Sam Funchess, Greensboro Chamber of Commerce Vice President for Entrepreneurism Kathy Elliott, Greensboro Partnership Small Business and Entrepreneurship Manager John-Paul Smith, UNCG Living-Learning Community Coordinator for Sustainable Entrepreneurship Justin Streuli, and Piedmont Triad Partnership Senior Advisor for Advancing Entrepreneurship and Innovation Monica Doss. The director of this team of leaders? None other than grad student Zack Mohorn.
Zach’s ideas and passion came to life as Startup Weekend Triad 2013. On the April 5-7 weekend, over 60 software developers, designers, entrepreneurs, students, and business people gathered at the Nussbaum Center for Entrepreneurship in Greensboro to roll up their sleeves for 54 hours. Beginning with open mic pitches on Friday, attendees brought their best ideas and inspired others to join their team. Over Saturday and Sunday, teams developed and worked to streamline their startup visions. On Sunday evening, teams presented their businesses, listened to judges’ feedback, and won prizes.
High Point University student Alexa Crawford’s team won first prize for TEAL, a global community that supports, inspires, and empowers women diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses. Two UNCG students also won big at the event as part of the team that took Best Design. Their web app, HoppedUp, connected beer connoisseurs around the world in real-time conversations, based on what they are drinking at the moment.
To learn more about Startup Weekend Triad, contact NCEC Director Bryan Toney.