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Innovation, Teamwork and Major Donation Highlight Startup Weekend Hartford .EDU 2014

Sep 30, 2014
MetroHartford Alliance

Hartford, Conn. (October 1, 2014) – It’s often challenging for college students to find study partners to prepare for exams and other projects. That was the conclusion of one group for Startup Weekend Hartford. Thanks to their  innovation and ingenuity, they became the winning team for this year’s event by creating an app to connect students seeking some company and support during those long and intense hours in the library.

WeStudee is the name of the new app, and is the kind of creativity that has made Startup Weekend so popular in Hartford and hundreds of other cities around the world. This year’s event focused exclusively on education for the first time.

“This is a life-changing experience for some of these participants,” said John Shemo, vice president and director of economic development for the MetroHartford Alliance. “When the event ends, for many of the teams involved, that is just the beginning of development for an idea or concept they spent 54 hours developing during Startup Weekend. It is truly inspiring.”

More than 50 students, educators, designers and entrepreneurs came together to pitch over two dozen ideas on how to improve education. All participants worked with their teammates to learn the challenges of starting up a business. Mentors from across the region helped guide the way for the groups, and expert judges provided valuable critiques to help teams effectively launch their new idea. 

In an unexpected surprise at the event’s conclusion, Goodwin College President Mark Scheinberg pledged $10,000 for WeStudee to help build a business plan and pay for licensing. The group can now focus on the idea without having to worry about where the money will come to support it.

“Startup Weekend Hartford is not just a competition, but a launching point for young entrepreneurs to build a business and contribute to our community,” said Scheinberg. “At Goodwin, we promote an environment of innovation and entrepreneurship that leads to career-focused students who contribute to the well-being of our economy and our community. This is not so much a $10,000 pledge, but an investment in the hard work, dedication and creativity of the WeStudee group and everyone involved in Startup Weekend Hartford.”

Startup Weekend Hartford Education was sponsored by MetroHartford Alliance, Hartford Young Professionals and Entrepreneurs (HYPE) and Hartford Consortium for Higher Education with generous support from Connecticut Light & Power, Travelers Foundation, CT Innovations and local colleges and universities.

Click here for photos from the event.

About MetroHartford Alliance

The MetroHartford Alliance’s mission is to compete aggressively and successfully for jobs, capital and talent.  For more information, visit www.metrohartford.com.

Media Contact: Brian Boyer / MetroHartford Alliance / bboyer@metrohartford.com / 860.728.2290