Entrepreneurs gather for fifth annual Startup Weekend

10:32 PM, Jan 17, 2014   |    comments
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GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- A weekend-long event aiming to give new businesses owners a start in West Michigan kicked off Friday.

It's the fifth annual Startup Weekend West Michigan, which brings entrepreneurs and professionals together to plan a successful business.

Friday night, attendees went before an open mic to pitch their ideas to a group in 60 seconds or less. The rest of the weekend will be spent working on the most popular ideas.

Success stories from past Startup Weekends were on hand, including the Paul Doyle, founder of VerifyValid, a payment system that uses the Internet to send checks. He talked about how this weekend helped get his company off the ground.

"I was able to come in Friday night, pitch my idea, get a team of people together over the course of the weekend, and by Sunday we launched the functional prototype which allowed me to go into Grand Valley the customer and say, not only can I prevent check fraud, I can show the university how to save some money, and they got very, very excited about it," said Doyle.

Sunday, teams will present their business concepts before a panel of judges, including Start Garden CEO Rick DeVos, who will award prizes and mentorships which will build their businesses after the weekend.

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