Dan Arbeau is one of the organizers of the first Techstars event in Penticton, which gives people 54 hours to take their start-up from an idea to a pitch to investors. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)

Techstars Penticton took start-ups from ideas to pitches in 54 hours over the weekend

Local businesspeople worked their ideas to present before a panel of judges.

One weekend, 54 hours. That’s all the time participants at the inaugural Techstars event in Penticton had to create their own start-up idea and pitch.

“It’s build a start-up in basically a weekend,” said Dan Arbeau, an organizer of the event. “It’s really crazy, but it works. A lot of the benefit is the people you meet, giving you connections and references for the future.”

Ideas pitched at the event ranged from an online marketplace for excess construction supplies to a system for connecting youth to mentors, a blockchain-based system for protecting and transferring medical files, to a funeral home comparison site.

READ MORE: Okanagan entrepreneur to face Dragons

For the first year, the reception for the event was better than Arbeau could have imagined.

“We had a great turnout. Our target was 30, as it was the first time this event was here,” said Arbeau. “We had 35, but almost 50 people from the community here just interested in us. We had 17 ideas pitched, out of 35 people, which was really good for the first time.”

The participants take the first hours to come up with their own individual ideas, pitching them to each other and selecting from them before breaking down into teams to develop the most appealing ideas.

While the voting for the ideas was going on, the people who posted ideas were also encouraged to go and convince others to vote for them, a condensed version of the process of promoting their start-up idea.

“It’s a great pressure cooker, and it pushes you to get out of your comfort zone,” said Arbeau. “In real life, if you’re out there with an idea, you have to know how to respond on demand. You have to know your thoughts and your ideas, to be successful in the future.”

After hours of work, including working out the basics of operation and maybe some programming, the teams had a final tech check before their final pitch.

READ MORE: Entrepreneurs share the art of the elevator pitch

At the end of the 54 hours, the teams take their ideas and pitch them to a panel of judges in a “Dragon’s Den kind of presentation.”

The teams aren’t alone going through the competition either. In addition to the six organizers for the event, there are 10 mentors providing additional input and support to the teams, and then the five judges.

“My whole reason for bringing it here from Kelowna, being in a few of them, because I feel that our area needed a grassroots level to help build entrepreneurship,” said Arbeau. “To show people who are in the process or want to start a new business, that there’s more help out there than just the institutions. They’re great, but to really see entrepreneurship on a community level, there needs to be grassroots support.”

Businesses may not all be tech-focused, but many now are at the least are tech-enabled, and for the future, Arbeau hopes to see many more registrants and ideas.

“We want to grow it, so next year should be double,” said Arbeau. “We want people to know that there’s a community of professionals here. People like to think that Penticton is just an older demographic, but there’s quite a mix in between.”

The 54-hour Techstars challenge was hosted in the Okanagan College’s Penticton Campus.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


@PentictonNews
newstips@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Entrepreneurs

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

4 inmates at Okanagan Correctional Centre granted early release due to COVID-19

The move, which impacts offenders serving intermittent sentences, is to prevent spread of virus

Canadian police to make home visits to enforce mandatory quarantine for travellers

Police forces have been asked to help verify Canadians are complying with the Quarantine Act

South Okanagan real estate market adjusting to ‘new normal’

Numbers are up in March; however, industry insiders say the market has cooled

Not all receive COVID-19 aid from federal government

Summerland woman does not qualify for federal assistance during COVID-19 pandemic

Law enforcement will patrol shuttered campgrounds in Cascades this weekend

Patrols will enforce provincial order requiring all such facilities remain closed during COVID-19

VIDEO: Easter festivities may be scaled back, but it can still be a fun holiday

COVID-19 circumstances have dictated that the holidays may not be perfect

Princeton woman sits out pandemic in ‘cheese heaven’

‘We are surrounded here by fruit orchards and the blossom are starting.’

Okanagan drive-in movie theatre plans to open amid COVID-19

Enderby theatre making a number of operational changes to further enable social distancing

Hitchcock classic a parable for our times

‘You fools, stop thinking of yourselves, think of the boat’

COVID-19 world update: U.S. to start antibody tests; drones enforce lockdown in Italy

Comprehensive update of coronavirus news from around the world

Lower Mainland hunting store sees 200% increase in firearm sales

Co-owner of Wanstalls says increase due to a variety of reasons

People needing addiction services feeling ‘abandoned’ during pandemic

The province is trying to increase access to addiction care through a phone line of experts, doctors

COVID-19: B.C. ER nurse self-isolates in travel trailer, apart from family

Marcia Kent says situation is difficult but worth it to keep twin boys safe

Most Read