UB to host 54-hour LaunchPad Startup Weekend

Published October 20, 2020

UB and partners will host a LaunchPad Startup Weekend Oct. 23-25, giving students in Western New York and beyond a chance to learn about entrepreneurship and what it takes to start a business.

UB is leading the effort, with Cornell University and Syracuse University also helping to organize the event. Attendees will include students from all three schools and other higher education institutions, says Hadar Borden, director of UB’s Blackstone LaunchPad & Techstars program.

“To date, we have over 100 students registered,” Borden says. “This is an opportunity to meet like-minded students in a fast-paced learning environment and expand your network of mentors. It’s a true testament to engaging programming that can be hosted on a virtual platform.

“It’s also a chance to gain an edge using tech tools to collaborate online, which is something that I think all of our students need to embrace. This is just the beginning, and many employers will expect that our students are familiar with collaboration tools like Slack, Zoom, Airtable and Calendly to work in teams to accomplish a common task.”

The experience is open to all students in higher education institutions in Western New York, and to students attending colleges and universities in the LaunchPad network. The deadline to register is 3 p.m. Oct. 23, though earlier registrations will be helpful to organizers, and participants can sign up by visiting.

Ilene Marcus, a speaker, writer, business development mentor and UB graduate, will serve as facilitator. Entrepreneur Jordan DeCicco, who founded Super Coffee in his dorm room, pitched it on Shark Tank and continued growing the company after the TV appearance did not yield an immediate investment, will take part in a conversation with a UB entrepreneur during the Startup Weekend. UB, Syracuse and Cornell are among four university teams nationwide that were selected to LaunchPad Startup Weekends this October. The three other lead host institutions are the University of Texas; the University of California, San Francisco; and Temple University.

LaunchPad Startup Weekends are free for any students from LaunchPad network schools and led by trained Techstars Startup Weekend facilitators. These 54-hour events feature workshops, mentor feedback and a friendly pitch competition, and are designed for students with no prior training or existing venture.

The startup weekends challenge participants to think creatively, communicate effectively and work in a team. Over the course of the program, students will learn how to conduct market research, define a minimum viable product, perform customer validation and complete a business model canvas.