Want to start a business?

Jimmy Pyles

You have 60 seconds to pitch an idea, and 54 hours to make it happen.

Evansville’s first startup weekend will be held in the Business and Engineering Center on Feb. 24-26. Startup weekend gives someone the opportunity to take and idea for a product or service and make a business plan and try and launch it in 54 hours. 

In 2011, companies that created at a Startup Weekend raised over $30 million. Thirty-six percent of participants that attend Startup Weekend launch businesses after, and three months later are still going strong, according to the Startup Weekend website.


“The participants have 60 second to pitch their idea on the first night,” Business Instructor Bryan Bourdeau said. “Who are you, and what is your problem, pain or issue you are trying to solve in the world or market place”

The students and community members pitching ideas should take time to frame out their pitch, Bourdeau said.

“If you can effectively frame a problem the solutions are very ‘ah but of course moment’ then you tell the crowd who you need on your team to help develop it,” Bourdeau said.

After hearing all the pitches, everyone votes which pitches have the most viability that they’re excited about and want to work on, he said. 

Out of the ideas, depending on how many participants there are, the ideas will move forward that weekend, and from there people will join small groups, he said.

“Smaller teams are usually the most efficient,” Bourdeau said. “If your idea doesn’t get selected, but you’re excited about someone’s idea, and you can offer something valuable to that team then by all means be on that team.” 

Bringing jobs to Evansville is one of the goals of the Startup Weekend, said Andrew Heil, one of the Evansville weekend event organizers.

“With whirlpool leaving and jobs scaling back in the area and the country, I really want to bring innovation to this community and bring the economy back with people that want to create,” Heil said.

Heil has also participated in Startup Weekend before and said Evansville’s will have no restrictions or limitations as far as staying or leaving, he said. 

“I have been to (Startup Weekends) where I had to sleep on a couch or anywhere because we weren’t allowed to leave the building, but this startup is completely flexible,” Heil said. 

Participants will have access to computer labs and rooms to work on their ideas, he said.

He said the pace of the event is extremely fast.

“It’s kind of crazy when you talk about building a company in 54 hours, but that’s exactly what you’re doing,” Heil said. “People literally have 54 hours to get a product up and testable for the judges to even look at it to see if it’s a feasible idea.”