Techstars Startup Weekend Baton Rouge Offers Innovative Entrepreneurial Lessons
January 18, 2022
Have you ever missed a game-changing play while standing in line at the concession stand? That experience is what drove LSU business student Dylan LeBlanc to develop the concept for Seat Eats, an in-venue food delivery service.
“During the LSU-Florida game, I got up to get something to eat and missed this huge interception while standing in line,” said LeBlanc. “I thought—I would have paid extra not to miss that. But, at the time, it was just a random thought.”
The thought emerged again when LeBlanc attended Techstars Startup Weekend Baton Rouge in November 2021. Presented by the Stephenson Department of Entrepreneurship & Information Systems, Techstars Startup Weekend teaches participants the venture creation process in just 54 hours.
On the first night of Startup Weekend, students pitch their ideas. Teams are formed following a vote where a select number of concepts move forward. Teams spend the rest of the weekend refining ideas, building a minimum viable product and preparing for the final presentations held on Sunday. Local industry experts and LSU faculty serve as mentors using their experience to teach what it really takes to start a company.
An information systems & decision sciences major pursuing a minor in analytics and enrolled in the LSU Center for Internal Auditing program, LeBlanc signed up for the event to learn more about the startup creation process, not to pitch an idea.
“Going into the weekend, I never intended to pitch my idea,” said LeBlanc. “I saw Startup Weekend as a networking opportunity and thought I might get to help someone else with a cool project. But, once everyone was giving their pitches, I did not want to miss out on the opportunity to practice. So, it just happened that my idea was selected to move forward.”
Joining LeBlanc on team Seat Eats were fellow students Patrick Cormier, Robert Mezack and Carrie Adams. The group’s hard work paid off when their concept was selected as the winner.
“I have always wanted to own a business but thought I had to have a million-dollar idea,” said LeBlanc. “I learned that ideas don’t matter; it is all about execution. That made me feel a lot better. Starting a business is more about analysis and the willingness to put in the hard work.”
When asked about the benefits of Startup Weekend, LeBlanc cites access to knowledgeable mentors, bonds formed with teammates and increased understanding of business practices. “As a college student, this event provides access to incredible professional mentors. You get to ask questions and pick their brains throughout the weekend.”
LeBlanc calls the event “one of the best things I have done as an LSU student” and encourages all students to participate. “You can contribute and learn from the experience no matter your major. I had a lot of fun learning and making new connections. I plan to sign up for the event when it returns in February.”
“Techstars Startup Weekend Baton Rouge is focused on teaching and promoting entrepreneurship in a collaborative, team-driven atmosphere,” said Ed Watson, chair of the Stephenson Department of Entrepreneurship & Information Systems. “Participants do not need to have a startup idea or any previous business experience. They will work through the venture creation process in a supportive environment. The event has an element of competition, but the real prize is learning what goes into launching a business.”
The next Techstars Startup Weekend will be held February 11-13, 2022. For more information or to register for this free event, visit lsu.edu/business/startup or contact Fahimeh Abbasi (firstname.lastname@example.org). Registration closes at 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, February 9.
About the Stephenson Department of Entrepreneurship and Information Systems
The Stephenson Department of Entrepreneurship and Information Systems at LSU’s E. J. Ourso College of Business combines teaching and research to create a rich learning experience for its students. Relationships with industry and state agencies enable the department to assist organizations with issues related to entrepreneurship, information systems, analytics, and business intelligence, as well as innovation and technological change, and offer enhanced career opportunities for its graduates. Collaborative research efforts of its diverse faculty have resulted in major grants from the National Science Foundation and the state of Louisiana. For more information, visit lsu.edu/business/sdeis.
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