This week I decided to bring things a little closer to home with a trip to the pre-Startup Toledo Weekend mixer. According to the website, the Startup “is a global grassroots movement of active and empowered entrepreneurs who are learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures”. Budding entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to their peers. The top few (by popular vote) are selected and groups form around those ideas. These groups then have a weekend or 54 hours to develop and build that idea to present to their peers once again.
The mixer was held at Seed Coworking (another fabulous startup) downtown and I must say that I was encouraged by the talent and ideas that converged. There’s something about being around “idea people”, business owners, entrepreneurs, developers and designers that get me excited! Ideas ranged from motivational messages to media companies to marine biology.
There were discussions on how to develop a culture that created jobs in Toledo instead of trying to solicit businesses from elsewhere to create jobs in Toledo. It was amazing to hear the different niche markets people found – ones that weren’t centered around manufacturing and blue-collar work. Don’t get me wrong. There is a need for the industry that got us to where we are and the location of the city makes it convenient to keep that tack. But I truly believe that Toledo needs to start competing in intellectual property, ideas and technology if it wants to move forward in a global economy.
The Startup Toledo Weekend seeks to connect entrepreneurs with a team to help flesh out and put some wheels to ideas that just might need that push to become reality. It should be exciting to see the culmination of the frenzied planning, preparation development and testing on Sunday, September 16th. Good luck to all that will participate!