PBA to Become Launching Pad for Ideas During Startup Weekend

Come on Friday night with an idea. Leave on Sunday night with a startup business.

That’s the concept behind Startup Weekend West Palm Beach, a gathering of local entrepreneurs and visionaries set to take place at Palm Beach Atlantic University from July 18 to 20.

Startup Weekend is a global grassroots movement of entrepreneurs who are learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures. This is the second year that the event will be held in West Palm Beach. Attendees from as far as Miami and Orlando are signed up to attend.

Entrepreneurs Chris Callahan and Nicholas Mohnacky spearheaded Startup Weekend locally and also co-founded Startup Palm Beach, an entrepreneur resource center and co-working space in downtown West Palm Beach.

Mohnacky is a 2006 graduate of PBA who majored in marketing. “As someone who is astutely aware of the tech players in the market I'm especially excited to see new names and faces signing up to attend this year's Startup Weekend,” said Mohnacky, the event’s sponsorship director.

“The enthusiasm and support surrounding the startup community in West Palm Beach is palpitating,” he said. “Startup Weekend provides aspiring entrepreneurs the opportunity to cultivate their creativity and potentially leave with a business prospect.”

The 54-hour work session attracts a number of designers and developers, as well as those working in non-technical fields like marketing, law and finance. Business experts in a variety of fields serve as coaches throughout the weekend.

During last year’s Startup Weekend, 48 presenters pitched their ideas and 11 teams participated in a competition resulting in three winners who went on to continue building their businesses. One of those winners will showcase his newly developed mobile app, FunScout, during this year’s event.

This year, Startup Weekend will serve as the kickoff for a larger event known as Entrepreneur Week. Other scheduled activities include BarCamp, a series of workshops based on entrepreneurial topics that will be hosted at different downtown restaurants on July 22, and Startup Demo Day, which will feature 10 startups and take place July 25 at the city’s Waterfront Pavilion.

College students also will have a chance to gain experience through the various events. PBA students Tiffany Tellez and Kaylyn Durrance are both interning at Startup Palm Beach and serve as members of the organizing committee for Startup Weekend. 

Durrance, a public relations major from Ocala, was one of several students involved in last year’s Startup Weekend. “It’s really such an exhilarating weekend. I love watching everyone come in with their unique ideas and leave just 54 hours later with a business,” she said.

For information or to register for Startup Weekend, visit http://westpalmbeach.startupweekend.org. PBA alumni, students and faculty are eligible for a discount on registration fees by entering the promotional code 50ofF.