Last year, 24-year-old Santa Clarita resident Alex Honadel teamed up with a group of strangers to build a startup in just 54 hours and compete with others for a chance to win big prizes.
Up against an improved potato slicer and an alternative to the fidget spinner, Honadel’s team of college students won after pitching to judges Park Shark, an app that shows drivers where to park in the Los Angeles area to avoid parking tickets.
“I learned so much during those three days, it’s even helped my own business grow,” said Honadel, who is the owner of ALH Services, a local seller of smart sprinkler controllers and energy-efficient pool pumps.
She’s now organizing and encouraging others to attend the same event this year, the Startup Weekend Santa Clarita Valley, scheduled Nov. 2-4 at College of the Canyons.
The annual event is held worldwide, marking the sixth in the SCV this weekend, where people have the chance to experience the “highs, lows, fun and pressure that make up life at a startup,” startupweekend.org reads.
Throughout the 54 hours, participants pitch a product or service, vote for the top five and team up to present to a panel of judges on day three.
Teams learn from local mentors and business leaders everything from finances and marketing to presenting a solid pitch.
This year, the winning startup team will receive a professional headshot session, business cards and business consulting.
The challenging and risk-free environment has earned a reputation as SCV’s own Shark Tank, ABC’s hit reality show which gives entrepreneurs a chance to bring their business dreams to fruition.
“This was a real eye-opener,” Honadel said. “Once there, you’re offered so much information about resources in the Santa Clarita Valley that are readily available, like at College of the Canyons, NextSCV and other marketing companies.”
Honadel quit her day job to start her businesses three years ago, which she said, “was scary at first but glad I did it.” And it’s only strengthened thanks in part to exposure from the event.
“Eventually, I would like to mentor others, guide the next generation of leaders, help prevent them from making mistakes so they can reach their goals,” Honadel said.
As an organizer, she said Startup Weekend is a perfect opportunity to receive top guidance, whether you’re someone with a full-time job and a startup idea or an individual in the industry for years.
To learn more and purchase tickets, visit startupweekendscv.com.