Bermuda has done it again. With its 3rd Startup Weekend to date, five businesses were formed in the span of 54 hours. Startup Weekends are intensive sessions that have existing and potential entrepreneurs working together in teams to create a minimum viable product (MVP) for a business.
Due to the intense nature of Startup Weekend, organisers provide refreshments and food for the entire weekend to facilitate teams being able to maximize their time working on their ideas. Food was catered by local businesses Rosa’s Cantina on Friday, Spring Garden on Saturday and Speciality Inn on Sunday.
Friday at 5:30pm participants began the weekend-long business formation session with networking. The real fun began with attendees pitching their ideas and forming five teams around concepts that ranged from online concierge services to a swimming apparatus that aims to support rehabilitation of trauma victims and disabled patients. During the next two days, the teams worked together to build on and disrupt ideas until they came up with a MVP.
Ethan Bagley of Startup Global was invited to Bermuda for a second time to assist with the facilitation of the weekend.
On Saturday, doors opened at 7:30am. Over breakfast, teams hunkered down to finish developing their ideas. Many teams used Saturday to validate their ideas by going out into the streets and speaking with their potential customers and going online to interact with potential customers. In addition to getting validation, teams received feedback from a group of coaches made up of local entrepreneurs and business experts.
Final revisions and pivots to business ideas took place on Sunday. A one-on-one Coaching Session allowed teams to conduct a dry run of their pitch before delivering it in front of the public and judges. “The feedback from this session provided our team with much needed advice and ultimately helped us to refine our pitch”, said one team member. At 6:00pm teams began their pitches to the audience and a panel of judges that included Brett Henshilwood of Deloitte, Erica Smith of BEDC and Carla Seely of Freisenbruch Meyer. The final pitching teams were: Air Concierge, Shiply, Gamercade, Flying Art and S.W.I.M.
After some deliberation, judges handed in their 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners. Third place winner was Flying Art, an online platform to facilitate the sharing and sale of children’s art, led by twelve year-old Abigail Lavery. The second place prize went to S.W.I. M., a prototype for a floatation device to support disabled patients and trauma victims with water therapy. The public also awarded the People’s Choice prize to Gamercade, an arcade and laser tag facility pitched by a team of young entrepreneurs ranging in age from 9 - 17.
The first place prize went to Shiply, a web-based platform that connects anyone bringing in a container with anyone that wants to ship an item by container. Shiply’s differentiating factor is that it allows container importers to monetize their unused space by giving customers a name your price option. The team, led by Kenaz Lodge included, Oliver Hellewell, Sandra Dill and Surlena Smith. Said Kenaz of his experience “Startup Weekend is awesome! Working with a team allowed me to further develop my initial business idea and to formulate a workable business model. Look out for Shiply in the near future.”
Showing that the event is gaining momentum and acknowledgement in the local business community, numerous prizes for this Startup Weekend were donated by local entrepreneurs including: Mediaville, ZQL Designs, Cosmic, Oxygen, Gear and Gadget, Hott 107.5, Cosmic, Fireminds, Beach Boys, Connectech, 1st Choice Audio, Bernews, K.I.M.S. List, Ming & Co. and other service providers.
Startup Weekend Bermuda was coordinated by the Startup Weekend Committee, made up of past Startup Weekend participants, local entrepreneurs and representatives of the Department of E-Commerce and the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation. This event brought together students, developers, designers, marketers and entrepreneurs to share ideas, form teams, build products and launch startups all within 54 hours!
Said Dr. Marisa Stones, Director of E-Commerce: “We were pleased to see technology take centre stage as entrepreneurs of all ages and backgrounds developed their business concepts throughout the weekend. We at the Department of E-Commerce truly believe in the power of technology to transform lives for the better. We are happy to support StartUp Weekend, which provides entrepreneurs with the opportunity to develop their ideas into real businesses.”
The Committee would like to take this opportunity to thank our sponsors for their gracious support of Startup Weekend including: The City of Hamilton for the awesome venue, Deloitte, Freisenbruch-Meyer, the Babson Alumni Club of Bermuda, the Bermuda College, Baritts, Bacardi, Bermuda Forwarders, Tops Limited, CellOne, Exclusive Events, WEDCO, Bermuda College, Washington Properties, Deloitte and The Argus Group. “We could not have done this without the support of our sponsors, said Jamillah Lodge, Startup Weekend Committee Member. She continued, “This is an example of public and private partnerships working in the best way possible – to help to create the leaders and entrepreneurs of tomorrow.”
Brett Henshilwood, Partner at Deloitte Bermuda, commented: "At Deloitte, we continue to be committed to our community and we are pleased to be a part of this event. We have supported Startup Weekend each time it has been held locally because we see this event as a great starting point for entrepreneurs to learn, inquire, and develop their networks by talking to people who can share insights regarding new technological developments."