Startup Weekend SCV offers way to jumpstart firms

Aspiring entrepreneurs exchange ideas and develop a business plan at the 2015 Startup Weekend SCV. The annual Startup Weekend SCV takes place in the University Center at College of the Canyons. Courtesy photo.

Developers, designers and business people who attend Startup Weekend SCV will be challenged to come up with a working concept for a new business in just 54 hours. There’s also a chance that they’ll meet future business partners there as well.

Santa Clarita native Thomas Beckett, an organizer of the event, said that after graduating from college, he returned to his hometown from Santa Cruz and began to look into business opportunities.

“I was just looking to get plugged into the tech community and see what was going on in Santa Clarita,” he said.

He met Eric Arndt, who runs SCV Startup, and began going to his meetings regularly.

SCV Startup had done a Startup Weekend and seemed like such a good event for the community.

“I got the feeling there were a lot more people interested in this kind of thing, but we didn’t have a big enough forum consolidated for it.”

He decided to put together a Startup Weekend. He connected with a couple of other co-organizers, did more research, connected with the organization behind many of these events, Startup Weekend, and they ran their first Startup Weekend last year.

This year’s event begins Friday night, Nov. 4, with a social hour. Participants come with an idea, but that’s not necessarily required.

One minute to pitch
A microphone will be set up in the middle of the room, and those who have a concept they want to test will have 60 seconds to pitch their idea – they’ll be cut off at the one-minute mark.

The group will then vote on their favorite idea. Beckett estimates that around 50 ideas will be pitched, and that number will be whittled down to eight to 10.

Groups will form to begin working on each idea – you choose which group you want to work with.

“Some may come in with an idea and then if their idea isn’t selected, they think the whole weekend is a waste,” said Beckett. “But (by working with others), they may come out with more.”

Teams start brainstorming that night and come back at 9 a.m. the next morning; each will come up with a business plan and a profile of what their respective customers will look like.

Mid-day Saturday, coaches and mentors will come in and bounce ideas off teams.

“They will have interviewed customers and know what they (customers) want,” said Beckett.
“By Sunday morning, each group will have a pretty together idea and will pitch it.”

Beckett calls the networking opportunities at Startup Weekends “awesome.” People find out they have interest in the same kind of projects as others at an event or discover that they have skills that someone else could work with to pursue an idea.

“The lean startup is prevalent, but it’s interesting to see it actually happening. I studied it in school, but seeing it made me connect all the dots – this is how the modern startup is formed. You create assumptions, you test them and you go talk to people and see if they’ll open their wallet for you.”

Beckett said that if they don’t open their wallets, you pivot, or you tweak or whatever.

“Doing that in a weekend, it just changes your path as an entrepreneur.”

Startup Weekend SCV takes place from 6:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 4, to 9 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 6, at College of the Canyons, Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook University Center, Rockwell Canyon Road, Santa Clarita. For more information, go to the Startup website at:

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