A recap of Philly Startup Weekend Latinx Edition

It all starts with an idea. 

During a Startup Weekend event, participants are able to pitch business ideas, form teams and refine the idea with help and feedback from experts before pitching those ideas in front of a group of judges. 

However, there are multiple steps that must take place before an idea can grow into a full-blown business venture. 

From Jan. 24-26, energetic individuals with various different backgrounds and skill sets gathered and collaborated in Philadelphia in an effort to actively learn about the world of tech and entrepreneurism. 

Prior to the pitching session, David Silva, a software developer and facilitator at the event, directed the participants to pitch their idea in a direct way: identify a problem, and provide a solution through an entrepreneurial idea. 

Three groups were eventually formed and the rest of the weekend was spent refining the pitch into a business idea, and creating a website or app that gave a rundown of exactly how it works and what are its benefits.

Danelsy Medrano, creative marketing professional and one of the mentors at the event, stressed to each group the importance of being able to attract the audience in a clear and simple manner.

“Our attention is short as consumers,” she said to one group. “You want to get my attention and interest quickly.”

The second day of the weekend was spent on condensing the most prevalent details of the idea, while expounding on the components of how it will work. 

On the final day of the weekend, the first place team won with the idea of creating a website, called “Do Good Philly,” which would serve as a platform for people who want to do volunteer work in the city.

“As a Philadelphian — all of my life, born and raised — I always want to do more for the city. I see that the city has a lot of needs,” said Judy Chu, one of the members of the first place team.

From education, healthcare, homelessness, food insecurity and more, the list of needs for Philadelphia residents are long. However, while the resources are there and many people are working in these areas across the city, it’s hard to connect and filter that information in one setting.

With Do Good Philly as a resource, the goal is to make it easier to find these opportunities. 

“Volunteers are there, we have a lot of volunteer opportunities, we just need to connect the two,” said Chu.

Another group worked on a business idea that focused on providing a way for people with eating preferences or dietary restrictions to find food more quickly by using dynamic search features that allow users to locate both restaurants and dishes that match their preference. The third group worked on a business idea that provided a way for diverse individuals to enter into makerspaces around the city. 

As someone who was part of the Startup Weekend experience just over a year ago as a participant, Carolina Castro, one of the co-organizers of this year’s event, expressed a sense of pride in all the individuals who participated this year.

“It takes a lot to commit to an experience like this and it takes a lot to commit to a weekend like this,” she said. “These experiences really push you to give it your all.”

Oftentimes, entrepreneurship derives from the desire to make a change, and throughout the weekend, the level of time, effort, commitment and dedication it requires to see it through was really showcased. 

Juan Gabriel, a business strategist and another co-organizer at the event, gave a succinct piece of advice to the participants at the event who have aspirations of continuing their tech and entrepreneurial journey.

“Do not fall in love with the idea… fall in love with the process,” he said. “Let this [experience] be a stepping stone.”

The Startup Weekend Latinx Edition is just one of several events the co-organizers of this event are planning to host throughout the year in efforts to continue engaging the Latinx and tech communities here in Philadelphia.


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