Startup Weekend Fargo, March 2013

Startup Weekend is one of the world’s leading catalysts for startup creation and entrepreneurship education.  The model is simple: gather entrepreneurial minded-folks to pitch, build, and present brand new businesses…all within 54 hours.  They call it “experiential learning.”  Startup Weekends happen all over the world, and have inspired more than 30,000 individuals so far.

Needless to say, I was pretty honored that they asked me to be the opening presenter for Startup Weekend Fargo.

To serve as inspiration for the attendees, I spoke about entrepreneurship as a vehicle for solving problems through business.  Specifically, I talked about how Bogobrush is designed to solve several problems: toothbrush design problems, environmental problems, and social problems.  Our goal is to make the world a better, more balanced place, and Bogobrush is a tool to help us achieve that.  I really had a blast presenting to the group, and from what I could tell, the group enjoyed an inside view of our team’s inspiration and motivation.

After I spoke, more than 30 ideas were pitched and voted on by the 70 attendees in order to narrow the list down to a handful of projects that would become the focus of the weekend.

From that point, the attendees formed teams, and worked almost non-stop the remaining two nights and two days.

The weekend concluded with a final event at the Fargo Theatre – a super cool, art deco theater, complete with organist and all!


To open the final event, entrepreneur Phil Soran spoke to the audience about his experiences from beginning as a middle school teacher to starting two tech companies that were eventually sold for a total of nearly $1.5 billion dollars.  His story was definitely the inspiration to keep moving an idea forward, because big things do happen when you keep working for it.

After all of the presentations were complete, the winning teams received Startup Weekend beakers.

Of course, I’m sure winning was great, but to me it seemed that the real goal was to provide an opportunity for entrepreneurial hopefuls to learn the nitty gritty of what it takes to start a business. While it may be unrealistic to truly build a working business in a weekend, I’d have to say it seemed like fun was definitely had by all. :) I know I’m glad that I was there to see it.

Thanks so much to J. Alan Paul Photography for the beautiful photos! For more information on Startup Weekend, check it out on Facebook.