(Patel is cofounder and CTO of JuiceTank, a coworking and innovation laboratory in Somerset. He is also the author of the biweekly email newsletter Startup Digest NJ.)
If you searched for data or rankings on the top startup hubs or fastest growing tech ecosystems, you'll be disappointed to see that New Jersey is nowhere to be found. While there are many reasons for this, it doesn't mean that the tech community is sitting idle.
Startup Weekend NJ is one event that our state can rally behind to help us push forward the startup scene. In fact, it's one of the only state-wide Startup Weekend events.
Startup Weekend events occur globally in cities such as San Francisco, NYC, Berlin, and Hong Kong. Each event is not-for-profit, organized by volunteers, and funded through sponsorships and the organizers.
The 54-hour weekend event attracts groups of developers, business managers, startup enthusiasts, marketing gurus, and graphic artists of all levels. The attendees pitch ideas for new startup companies, form teams around those ideas, and work to develop a working prototype, demo, or presentation by Sunday evening.
Beyond the amazing experience of a weekend hanging with other startup enthusiasts, there are so many great reasons to attend Startup Weekend NJ:
It's a great learning experience. Come prepared to pitch your own idea or work on others' submissions. You'll be actively involved in pushing it forward in a team setting. Mentors will be available to assist throughout the entire weekend.
Quality networking opportunity. There are not many events where one gets the opportunity to meet and work with startup enthusiasts and community do-ers all under one roof for an entire weekend. This level of interaction and networking is far more effective and long lasting than the usual happy hour or meetup.
Launch a company. As per Startup Weekend, over 36% of startups formed are still going strong after 3 months, and approximately 80% of participants plan on continuing with their team or startup after the weekend, according to the Startup Weekend organization.
Startup Weekends are a great value. For an entire weekend with all food and beverages taken care of by the organizers, there's really not much else to worry about other than your startup idea. As an added bonus, there are prizes and swag for attendees. Furthermore, to encourage students to also get involved, they can use the promo code – STUDENT – for 50% off tickets.
No pressure. With a diverse set of skills in attendance, have fun and let your creative juices flow. There’s no specific required skill set to participate at Startup Weekend NJ. All are welcome.
There are plenty more reasons why Startup Weekend NJ makes sense for those interested in getting involved in the tech and startup scene. Here’s an infographic I created explaining why attend Startup Weekend.
While you're there, be sure to meet people, build stuff, and have fun.
[Startup Weekend NJ will be taking place at JuiceTank’s coworking space in Somerset, N.J. from March 28 - 30. If you're interested in attending, register today to take advantage of Early Bird discount tickets. For more details or sponsorship opportunities, visit the Startup Weekend NJ website. ]