Community members and Cal Poly students put their heads together to innovate and create their very own business, hoping to become the next startup company to make it big. It's all part of a 3-day workshop at Cal Poly that brought together some bright and high achieving minds in our area.
Cal Poly student Eric Veber was one of those people at the workshop, hoping to make his cooking-related business idea into a reality.
"It kind of sprung from my passion for cooking," says Veber. "I really like to cook."
That is the key to the business idea that Veber has kept in his head for a long time. When he heard about SLO Startup Weekend, a 3-day workshop to make a business idea a reality, he said why not.
"I wanted to see an idea come to life. I had all these ideas in my head for a long time and this seemed like a good way to do it," says Veber.
Since Friday, Veber and his team have been working to develop his idea, called FoodKey. It's a cooking appliance that can be controlled through a web app, meaning you can cook remotely and with the precision of a professional chef.
"Anyone could make a perfect medium-rare steak every time, for example. There are lots of things you can do with it," says Veber.
Veber and his team were among 120 people who gathered at Cal Poly to put their unique ideas to the test.
"They're not really interested in getting by, they're really interested in taking their life and their innovations into fruition and try to change the world and do something important," says Tim Sweeney, the president of Cal Poly Entrepreneurs.
In the 3 years that Startup Weekend has been at Cal Poly, there have been 11 businesses that began at the event and continue to exist today.
"It works very well and it really gives the community something to be proud of. It's a great networking effect," says Sweeney.
For many people, including Veber, collaborating with other entrepreneurs helps push aspects of their idea forward that they couldn't do alone.
"I never actually had the time to sit down with a developer, a designer, and this great interdisciplinary team that was kind of put together on the spot," says Veber.
Each group presented their startup to a panel of judges. The top 3 startups were given prizes to help them turn their idea into a full-fledged business.