COLUMBIA - Local entrepreneurs created multiple potential businesses for the area in a 54 hour competition. Over the weekend, one hundred thirty residents participated in the third annual Start Up Columbia competition. Participants pitched their initial ideas Friday and were placed in groups to work on their business models through Saturday to be ready to present Sunday.
Entrepreneurial mentors flew in from places like Los Angeles and Seattle to teach participants the basics of founding "start ups" and creating successful business ventures.
Twenty teams competed in the Columbia competition. The premise of "Start Up Weekends" was created by a global non-profit organization that helps communities all over the world organize their own Start Up Weekends.
The business models include, but are not limited to, the medical, marketing and event planning industries. On Sunday night, the participants completed their business models and made final pitches.
One of the event's main organizers Heidi Fuhrman said, "There is this great system of support, it just shows how strong this community is. The Columbia community is so supportive of the start up scene. It feels like there is some synergy here and some energy as well."
There was no age requirement in order to participate.
"We have a 62 year old participant who just heard about it and has always loved entrepreneurial things. We've even had high schoolers in the past," Fuhrman said.
The company Nudge won the 2013 Startup Weekend Columbia. Nudge is for people who share a particular message like public speakers, life coaches, or educators to create reminders or "nudges" to encourage growth and education.