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NWA Startup Weekend Returns with Maker Edition

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Calling all makers: it’s time to bring your idea to life. Techstar’s Startup Weekend is returning to Northwest Arkansas on Nov. 30 – Dec. 2, in a weekend geared specifically towards makers.

Northwest Arkansas Startup Weekend: Maker Edition will give entrepreneurs the opportunity to pitch ideas, connect with fellow innovators, create prototypes, validate a business model and receive feedback from experienced business leaders – all in less than 72 hours.

“What’s really cool about this ‘maker’ themed event is that it will be held at HFA’s Design Lab,” says Haley Allgood, of Startup Junkie. “With access to this space, participants will have the tools they need actually to build their minimum viable product during the weekend. Local engineers, artists, and tinkers are volunteering their time to help the teams on Saturday. They will also get coaching from successful entrepreneurs about the business model around their product.”

The maker-themed weekend event will be focused on developing physical products and solutions.  Participants will have access to circuit boards, microcontrollers, prototyping materials, CNC machines, 3D printers, soldering kits and other supplies to bring their ideas to life.

“In addition to the developers, designers and business people that Startup Weekend always welcomes, we’re also looking for ‘makers,’” says Allgood. “A few months back, I went on a trip with the Amazeum to Maker Faire, something that inspired the push for this maker themed event. It’s hard to define what a maker is; everyone makes things if you really think about it.”

According to Wikipedia, “maker culture” is a contemporary culture or subculture representing a technology-based extension of the DIY culture that intersects with hacker culture (which is less concerned with physical objects as it focuses on software) and revels in the creation of new devices as well as tinkering with existing ones. The maker culture, in general, supports open-source hardware. Typical interests enjoyed by the maker culture include engineering-oriented pursuits such as electronics, robotics, 3-D printing, and the use of Computer Numeric Control tools, as well as more traditional activities such as metalworking, woodworking, and, mainly, its predecessor, the traditional arts and crafts. The subculture stresses a cut-and-paste approach to standardized hobbyist technologies and encourages cookbook re-use of designs published on websites and maker-oriented publications. There is a strong focus on using and learning practical skills and applying them to reference designs.

A ticket to the weekend-long experience will include:

  • Seven full meals throughout the weekend
  • Access to Design Lab tools and materials
  • Benefits and discounts from our global partners
  • One-on-one time with amazing mentors including master makers
  • A new network of makers, developers, designers and entrepreneurs eager to change the world
  • All the internet and coffee you can consume

All participants are expected to bring a lot of energy, a laptop and a few supplies that may be specific to their idea. Participants will have the opportunity to pitch their ideas and listen to others’ before voting on the most exciting and forming teams with diverse skill sets.

Read about one of the last Startup Weekend winners, Canon Reeves. 

“If you aren’t a maker or don’t have an idea, you will get the opportunity to join someone else’s team,” says Allgood. “Some participants will get free training on equipment to get their hands dirty building something during the weekend, and others will spend their time helping the team with customer interviews and building a business model.”

Ideas worked on during startup weekend cannot be ideas worked on in the past. Throughout the weekend, participants will be challenged to create a prototype of their minimum viable product that fits the needs of your target customer. Basic supplies will be provided, but if a participant needs something special to develop their prototype, they’re encouraged to bring it.

“The value of a ticket, right now just $50, is crazy,” says Allgood. “It comes will seven meals, access to tools and equipment, plus consulting from professionals. Everyone should join us!”

Buy your ticket and reserve your spot in the next Northwest Arkansas Startup Weekend: Makers Edition today by clicking here!

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