LAS students enjoy experience in Startup Weekend Ames

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Liberal Arts and Sciences students, from left, Spencer Morrison, Camryn Williams and Brett Neese.

Startup Weekend Ames had its inaugural kickoff Friday, April 12, when Iowa State University students and local entrepreneurs worked through Sunday, April 14, to develop new business ventures and startup companies.

Startup Weekend is a global grassroots movement of "active and empowered entrepreneurs" who are learning about how to found a startup and launch a successful business. According to the organization, "Startup Weekends are 54-hour events where developers, designers, marketers, product managers and startup enthusiasts come together to share ideas, form teams, build products and launch startups."

Ideas were brought to life over the course of the 54 hours by attendees, which included College of Liberal Arts and Sciences students Camryn Williams and Brett Neese.

Williams is a sophomore in computer science and participated in Startup Weekend to experience the new event and continue her learning outside of class. “I was able to strengthen my abilities in HTML, along with learning what it is like to participate in a hackathon,” she said. “The experience was a great, whirlwind experience, and I would do it again in a heartbeat.”

A sophomore in liberal studies, Neese participated in Startup Weekend Des Moines in 2012, where he was a member of the winning team. Neese currently has a startup of his own, PayTail, and has been active in the startup community for two years.

“I really love Startup Weekend because it’s one of the few events that directly involves what entrepreneurship is all about,” said Neese. “That experience, the pure, concentrated hustle, drives me forward and Startup Weekend is a great place to experience that firsthand."

Teams formed Friday night and worked through Sunday before pitching their final creations to a panel of local entrepreneurial leaders. Judges provide critical feedback and determine a winner.

“Stinky Flowers” was the winner of Ames Startup Weekend, an idea in which florists’ flowers that have lost their freshness are sold at a cheaper price, said Judi Eyles, project coordinator for the ISU Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship.

Startup Weekend is a global, nonprofit organization aimed at bringing people of all backgrounds and interests together to form an innovative business.

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences was one of the sponsors of Startup Weekend Ames.

See more about Startup Weekend Ames including photos.