Startup Weekend Maui inspires entrepreneurs

May 3, 2017

The countdown begins for Maui’s most powerful business creation event, the 4th annual Startup Weekend Maui on May 19-21 at the Maui Research and Technology Park in Kihei, Maui.
For the past three years, Startup Weekend Maui has been empowering entrepreneurs by providing an opportunity to learn how to start a business from the ground up in just 54 hours.  There are a number of reasons why people participate in a Startup Weekend event:

  • You want to learn what it takes to launch a business
  • You need feedback and/or validation for your startup idea
  • You want to connect with passionate people – driven entrepreneurs like yourself
  • You plan to build your network of business contacts
  • You seek support and advice from mentors
  • You want to see if your startup idea might work with minimal risk and time

Those who participated in a Startup Weekend Maui event know the impact this experience can have.

In 2016, Danielle Travis and Molly Palmer captured first place for their startup idea “Barrier Method,” (previously called “The Original Face Guard”).  Their innovative product de-stigmatizes the traditional white medical mask by making face apparel that is not only anti-microbial, but also comfortable and fashionable to wear. Since launching their idea during Startup Weekend Maui, they’ve been working on their business and are looking to launch their Kickstarter campaign in August, 2017 which will be target visitors. Their product is patent pending.
According to Travis and Palmer “Startup Weekend helped us validate our idea so that we knew we had something worth pursuing. The event actually defined a startup for us and gave us the first building blocks necessary to bring our idea to life. It helped us to look at important areas, other than the creative parts, like funding streams, costs and logistics of actually making a product from start to finish, and got us thinking about patenting. We learned about the importance and value in protecting our intellectual property as well as getting first to market. We also got to network with influential people in the community and other entrepreneurs who provided us with valuable resources and contacts.

Third place winner of the 2015 Startup Weekend Maui, Jen Fordyce, owner of Waikapu Pickles, is on the fast track for success with her fresh, local cucumber pickles. Her products, which come in three flavors – crunchy dill garlic, sweet bread and butter, and Hawaiian chili pepper – are sold in a number of Maui stores, farmers markets and community events; and featured on local restaurant menus. She also plans to participate in some big product shows on Oahu later this year.
According to Fordyce, “I would not even have a business if it weren’t for Startup Weekend Maui. I went into this event with an idea and came out with the beginnings of a business plan.  There were a million things I learned and among them was the importance of focusing on accurate financial projections. This is something we work on constantly because costs and sales are always moving targets. Today, we’re excited about being able to offer a healthy food product that supports local farmers and food independence for Maui.  We also love participating in events that support our schools and non-profit organizations. It’s also a lot of fun meeting all of the pickle lovers out there!
Shane Tajima, a software engineer who graduated from UH-Maui College and participated in the 2016 Startup Weekend Maui shared “I really liked how Startup Weekend condensed so much information into just a couple of days. There was no 35-page business plan. It was just get together with people I just met and crank out a startup by the end of the weekend. I learned a lot and I saw that if I participated in this process repeatedly, I’d get better carrying out my own business ideas.
All Startup Weekend events follow the same basic model:

On Friday, anyone is welcome to pitch their startup idea and receive feedback from their peers. Teams organically form around the top ideas (as determined by popular vote); and then it’s a 54-hour sprint of business model creation, programming, designing, and market validation. The weekend culminates on Sunday with presentations in front of experienced entrepreneurs and investors who offer valuable feedback.
Those interested in warming up for this year’s Startup Weekend Maui are encouraged to attend a free Pitch Bootcamp workshop on Tuesday, May 16th.
David Fry, leader of the 2015 Startup Weekend Maui winning team Board.Vote.; and Frank De Rego Jr., Director of Business Development Projects at MEDB will facilitate this interactive learning experience. Participants will receive helpful tips on crafting a strong 60-second pitch for their startup idea and have an opportunity to hone their presentation skills. Participation in this Pitch Bootcamp will help provide a framework and additional tools for the main event, Startup Weekend Maui, on May 19-21.

“It’s exciting to see the impact Startup Weekend Maui has made on those who have participated in this business creation process,” said Frank De Rego Jr., Director of Business Development Projects for MEDB. “Everyone involved from MEDB’s staff and Board of Directors to the event’s Sponsors, Mentors, and Judges are really focused on inspiring our next generation of entrepreneurs.”

For more information and to register for the Bootcamp and Pitch Workshop and/or the 2017 Startup Weekend Maui, visit For additional questions, please email or call (808) 875-2300. Connect via Facebook ( for event updates.
Startup Weekend Maui is presented by the Maui Economic Development Board. Event sponsors include: County of Maui Mayor’s Office of Economic Development, High Technology Development Corporation, Pacific Media Group, Hawaii Strategic Development Corporation, HI-Growth Initiative and Startup Capital Ventures.