Startup Vikes invites entrepreneurial minds to build a business in one weekend

Last year’s program began with 89 participants and 32 pitches. It ended with 12 teams and 6 winners receiving a total of $10,000 in cash prizesLast year’s program began with 89 participants and 32 pitches. It ended with 12 teams and 6 winners receiving a total of $10,000 in cash prizes

Entrepreneurs, inventors and startup fans will gather at Cleveland State University’s Fenn Tower Ballroom Friday, Feb. 19 through Sunday, Feb. 21 to pitch business ideas, build a team, create a business and compete for cash and prizes at Startup Vikes – all in just one weekend.

Now in its third year, Startup Vikes originated out of the CSU Monte Ahuja College of Business’ entrepreneurial program to attract a new generation of entrepreneurs.

“More and more [people], especially millennials, are turning down pathways where they don’t want to work for companies,” explains Heather Schlosser, marketing communications manager for CSU’s Ahuja College of Business. “There’s an entrepreneurial spirit that runs through Cleveland so it makes sense to foster that.”

Four of the six companies that were created during last year’s event are currently in various stages of development. Last year’s winners include Studio Stick, a portable music studio for cell phones; Coffee Drop, a pop-up  custom catering business; and  Puppy Match, a concierge pet service.

This year's Startup Vikes kicks off on Friday with pitches. Schlosser encourages anyone with the entrepreneurial spirit to join the fun. “You can have an idea or not have an idea to participate,” she says. “Some people use it for their resumes.”

Participants will then vote for the top ideas before forming teams. The teams will then attend workshops that guide them through building a business – from business modeling and customer development to financial models, legal pointers and pitching to investors.

At the end of the weekend, the top three businesses will receive $2,000, $1,000 and $500 cash infusions, respectively, as well as business advising and services from organizations like Flashstarts Labs, the Small Business Development Center at the college and access to the 3D printing lab at the CSU Washkewicz College of Engineering.

The community is invited to participate in Startup Vikes. Registration is required. Tickets are $49 for CSU students and $99 for community members. The cost includes all workshops, meals from Friday night through Sunday night, snacks and beverages. 

Karin Connelly Rice
Karin Connelly Rice

About the Author: Karin Connelly Rice

Karin Connelly Rice enjoys telling people's stories, whether it's a promising startup or a life's passion. Over the past 20 years she has reported on the local business community for publications such as Inside Business and Cleveland Magazine. She was editor of the Rocky River/Lakewood edition of In the Neighborhood and was a reporter and photographer for the Amherst News-Times. At Fresh Water she enjoys telling the stories of Clevelanders who are shaping and embracing the business and research climate in Cleveland.