A 54-Hour Entrepreneurial Adrenaline Rush

May 25, 2016

Maui Economic Development Board (MEDB) presented this year’s 2016 Startup Weekend Maui on May 13 – 15. The event offered entrepreneurs an opportunity to learn in 54 hours how to
launch a company. “Startup Weekend Maui is about learning by doing,” says Frank De Rego, Jr., Director of Business Development Projects at MEDB. “It provided a platform to acquire the skills and best practices necessary to build a solid business foundation.”
“Life-changing, motivating, and awesome,” was just some of the feedback received from participants at Startup Weekend Maui.  The event started on Friday with 60-second open-mic pitches.  Then teams were formed around the top-voted startup ideas.  They worked through the weekend with the help of mentors and coaches to build viable prototypes and business models that were presented to a panel of judges on Sunday night.  The 2016 Startup Weekend Maui winner, “The Original FaceGuard”, is an idea to destigmatize the traditional medical mask by creating a positive, preventative public health intervention through trendy face apparel. Team members Danielle Travis, Molly Palmer, Lorayne Lipps, Austin Kozaki, and Julie Lewis, won a business assistance prize package valued at more than $3,000.  “It’s not just a product,” said team member Travis. “We want to change people’s perceptions of the typical facemask that most think is so scary. Our facemask has a creative aspect, a health aspect, and positivity, making people laugh.”
The team of Zoe Whitney and Dawn Naiwi-Valentino captured second place for their natural anti-mosquito perfume and cologne. “During the weekend I got a better feel for my target market and was able test the product on both locals and visitors of different ages,” said Whitney. “Working together with my Startup Weekend teammate, we worked hard to gather public feedback and even came up with ideas to modify the product’s ingredients. This overall experience helped me realize that this product could work.”
“MEDB, the coaches, mentors, judges, and all of our event sponsors, helped make this event possible because we believe in investing in our local community and our people’s skills,” said De Rego. “It all added up to one incredible weekend where everyone gained valuable experience.”