Entrepreneurs work on developing businesses through Startup Weekend SCV

Alex Honadel (right) goes over The CollegeHub, a social media platform set up by Jeremy Ilang (left), while fellow attendee Bert Brache observes. Ryan Mancini/The Signal
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A small group of would-be entrepreneurs had 54 hours to ready themselves for a successful business plan at the end of Startup Weekend SCV, held in the Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook University Center at College of the Canyons from Friday to Sunday.

Beginning Friday, seven entrepreneurs met together to share their ideas and get a feel for how to make their businesses work one day. Everyone attended three separate seminars focused on marketing and market plans, finance and organization. After working with mentors on Saturday to finalize how they would present their pitches, they presented to a group of judges made up of local business owners.

Ahead of the “Shark Tank” style decision-making, entrepreneurs needed to understand what to say after each “no” response, said lead organizer Alex Honadel. She previously worked with Startup Weekend SCV, succeeding with her pitch that became ALH Services, which sells smart sprinkler controllers and energy efficient pool pumps.

According to Ben Honadel, Alex’s father and owner of Pools By Ben, this event was about overcoming the no’s.

“A lot of times the entrepreneur is going down this road but they’re stuck and they don’t know what to do next,” Ben said. “And if you open up a book or go to college, it’s hard to find somebody who can say, ‘I’ve done this, this is how it worked for me, this is how you’ve got to do your pitch in order to have an investor say yes.’ The goal of the weekend is to push them down the road to getting yes, because a yes means they have funding, and then they can grow their company. Which the end result is what they really want, (it) is ‘how do I make money?’”

Ben served as one of the judges, along with SalonDiAmore owner Brianna Forshee, CEO Space owner Martha Aguilera and Pinned Up owner Lisa Szeto.

At the end of the day, the judges selected Jake Campbell for his pitch. Called Jake’s KAR, his startup’s mission gives people a platform to connect with other travelers going to a specific destination, sharing the cost of travel and saving time while reducing traffic.

“It’s given me a lot more (opportunity) to talk to many different people, getting different opinions, views,” Campbell said of Startup Weekend. “It’s given me a lot more options of where I can go next now.”

Campbell said he will continue finding ways of reaching more people through social media and work on the branding.

“It’s showing interest, it’s just (about) reaching the right people,” he said.

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