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Startup Weekend Toronto EDU: Resources for starting a business

August 1, 2013

In the world of entrepreneurship, nothing beats the 54-hour mad dash known as Startup Weekend. From the Friday evening, when people pitch their business ideas, to the Sunday afternoon pitch contest, attendees are immersed in the process of starting a business.

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Next weekend, from August 9 to 11, 130 designers, teachers, developers and entrepreneurs will descend on The Working Group office for a Startup Weekend Toronto focused on the education market. Teams are formed around the Friday-night pitches and products are hacked together that solve problems in education.

As a co-organizer of the event, MaRS gets a lot of questions about how to make an effective one-minute pitch and how to quickly validate an idea with potential customers. Here is a list of resources for Startup Weekend attendees (or for anyone interested in starting a business, for that matter).

  • What makes a good Startup Weekend one-minute pitch? You’ll find answers from a mix of entrepreneurs and Startup Weekend veterans over on Quora.
  • One of the benefits of Startup Weekend is networking with developers, designers and even potential co-founders. You’ll find some networking tips here.
  • Alexander Osterwalder’s Business Model Canvas is a quick and easy way to sketch out the components of a functional and scalable business. Download a full workbook from the Entrepreneur’s Toolkit or download the app.
  • Steve Blank talks a lot about the importance of testing your idea on real people. You might want to let contacts in your network know that you’ll be calling them to ask for feedback over the weekend.
  • From developer tools to marketing sites, this list of resources from the Startup Weekend head office has lots to keep you busy.
  • Make sure you’re solving a real problem that teachers actually have. There are too many cupboards filled with unused technology in schools across the country.
  • Your value proposition should be a concise, one-sentence summary of your product, your target market and the values you are selling. MaRS offers a full workbook and a video with more info on how to create one.

Like anything, starting a company takes practice. If you’re interested in succeeding in entrepreneurship, the best strategy is to go through the process of starting up a company many times until you get it right.

Hope to see you at Startup Weekend Toronto EDU! Sign up for tickets here.

MaRS is hosting a meet-up for Startup Weekend Toronto EDU attendees tonight, August 1, to help you get more familiar with these resources and to give you an opportunity to ask questions. Contact me at jwilson@marsdd.com for more information.

Photo Credit: Toronto Startup Weekend

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Joseph Wilson @ MaRS

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Joseph is currently an education advisor at MaRS. He also writes on issues of technology and culture for NOW Magazine, the Globe and Mail, Spacing and Yonge Street. He is the Executive Director of the Treehouse Group, dedicated to fostering innovation by hosting cross-disciplinary events.

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