Two Loyola Marymount University students took top honors at Startup Weekend, a 3-day event hosted by LMU’s Center for Entrepreneurship that gave budding designers, developers and entrepreneurs the opportunity to create a real company.
More than 100 contestants from all over the country worked on a dozen ideas in a team setting. There was also an international group representing ten universities in South Korea. Participants turned their ideas into real ventures and at the end of the weekend, pitched their projects to a panel of judges.
LMU senior Jeffrey Conroy and his team won first place for their product called Uma, a tool for sanitizing dish washing sponges. The second place winner was Joshua Lee, whose company is an online web configurator for aftermarket auto parts.
“This weekend meant a lot to me, because within 54 hours I got a business up and running,” said Lee. “The amount of things I learned and the connections I made were awesome.”
Startup Weekend is a part of UP Global, a nonprofit that supports new ventures and provides resources for entrepreneurs. Although there are no monetary prizes, the competition connects a community of people, all looking for the next big idea.
“Following the weekend, these ideas get exposure to our community, including investors and advisors, with the possibility of entering the LMU Business Incubator,” said David Choi, director of the university’s entrepreneurship program.
The event workspace was open 24 hours a day and many teams labored through the night creating their businesses. LMU professors, alumni and mentors served as coaches. Guest speakers included Michael Preston from FocalPoint Coaching, serial entrepreneur Justin Yoshimura, and Rob Roy, a former Navy SEAL who offers seminars for clients operating in challenging territories around the world.