By Aaron Stiles
Do you have an awesome idea for a company or a product? Have you always dreamed of being an entrepreneur, to watch your projects go from an idea to a tangible product? If so, you’ll want to be at Startup Weekend Las Cruces, which begins at six p.m. Friday, November 13, at Arrowhead Park, 4605 Research Park Circle, and continues through Sunday.
Startup Weekend is a 54-hour competition where people come together to form teams, collaborate, network, and form ideas in a race against the clock, as well as the rest of the state, to create the Next Big Thing.
At six p.m., participants choose the teams they will be working with on their projects. The teams will then meet for the next two days to complete their projects, which will then be submitted to the judges in the form of a 90-second video pitching the idea.
Along with Las Cruces, the rest of the state will be competing simultaneously for the best startup idea in the state. The winner of Startup Weekend will submit a one-minute video pitching their idea for their product/company to compete in the Global Startup Battle, where the winner will receive mentorship in manufacturing and starting up their idea in the form of legal counsel by Peacock Myers Patent and Intellectual Property Lawyers, as well as other necessary resources to get the idea off of the ground.
Nancy Hastings, an assistant professor in NMSU’s English Department, has competed in both of the previous Startup Weekends that have taken place in Las Cruces. She says 65 to 70 people participated her first time.
“There is no pressure to pitch, you can just go and join a team,” she says. “I think about 28 people pitched.”
Hastings joined a team with Mykola Novak, an NMSU graduate student who was in the MBA program. They teamed together to pitch Novak’s idea of personalized cameras called “Lovely Camera.”
“His idea was to take ordinary professional black cameras, then make it possible to order cameras with a custom film on it to make a unique, signature camera,” Hastings says.
Subsequent to winning first place at Startup Weekend Las Cruces 2013, Novak went on to make his idea a Capstone project for his Master of Business Administration.
Hastings says a lot of people work using “the model of fail fast,” hoping that if your product or idea has any shortcomings or major problems, it will fail quickly, allowing participants to see the flaws and decide if it is worth mending or if the idea will continue to fail. This allows for participants to learn to adapt quickly when creating any sort of project.
“When you do one, you want to keep going because in just one weekend, your brain speeds up,” she says. “You can apply it to your own projects. You can become much more efficient at how you conduct your life. Because instead of bogging down with the energy of procrastination, you’re using the energy of ‘there is a deadline.’”
Hastings also says one of the great benefits of attending a Startup Weekend and working with a team is the way participants are introduced to new ways of thinking. Some teams have people of all different ages, from 18 to people in their 50s and 60s, from people in business and marketing fields to people who know physics or sociology or engineering.
By getting different viewpoints and different types of thinkers, competitors find new ways of looking at things and become much more effective at creating great ideas. The competition is limited to 125 people, due to time constraints.
Startup Weekend Las Cruces will begin at 6 pm at Arrowhead Park, 4605 Research Park Circle, Las Cruces NM, 88001. For more information, visit
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