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First-ever Startup Weekend Texarkana is Huge Success

Published: May 6, 2016

Start-up Weekend"No talk, all action: Launch a startup in 54 hours” was the theme of the first-ever Startup Weekend Texarkana hosted by the Texas A&M University College of Business and Texarkana Chamber of Commerce April 15-17 on the A&M-Texarkana campus.

Startup Weekend Texarkana was designed to bring together community members and students from all walks of life to create successful businesses and products by pitching ideas, selecting ideas for action, and forming or joining teams.

Ina McDowell, executive director of Main Street Texarkana, brought the idea for Startup Weekend Texarkana to the attention of A&M-Texarkana Dean of Business Dr. Gary Stading.

“Our faculty members embraced the project, and our organizational team did an amazing job putting everything together,” Dr. Stading said.

Chad Carleton of Springfield, Missouri, served as facilitator for the weekend.

Sponsors included Guaranty Bank and Trust and the Pop Pop Shoppe, as well as Amigo Juan, Big Cheese Pizza, Coca-Cola, Dandy Donuts, Firehouse Subs, Hopkins Icehouse, Jimmy John’s, McAlister’s Deli, the Texas A&M University-Texarkana Program for Learning and Community Engagement, Shorty’s Donuts and Diner, Silver Star Smokehouse, Slim Chickens, Starbucks and TXK Today.

The participants pitched more than 20 ideas on Friday night of the event, said Dr. Stading. Eight were chosen by the group on Saturday to be developed for final presentations on Sunday night.

“The teams worked on some amazing projects over the course of the rest of the weekend leading up to the final presentations in front of five judges,” said Dana Scott, event coordinator.

Judges included Scott Bruner, vice president of Offenhauser and Co.; Reggie Goins, president of Goins Plastic Source, Inc.; developer Mike Sandefur, Bruce Hornbuckle, co-owner of Ironwood Grill; and developer John Rich.

Many community members also came on campus to coach and mentor the teams on Saturday and Sunday as the presentations were being finalized, including faculty members from the A&M-Texarkana College of Business; John Collins, CFO of JCM Industries, Inc.; Jared Cooley, CFO of Family Liberty Insurance Co.; Windows system administrator Josh Dunkeson of Texarkana College.

Also, Dustin Earnest, CPA at Grier, Reeves and Lawley, PC; Kimberly Hibschman, CFO at Riverview Behavioral Health; of Allen Phillips, owner of Archfern; and Director Tim Wilson and Darrell Williams of the Small Business Development Center.

Students from Texarkana College, Northeast Texas Community College, Southern Arkansas University and A&M-Texarkana participated in Startup Weekend Texarkana.

First place was awarded to Speedy Sign In, a check-in system where patients can use their thumbprint to sign in at a doctor or ER. This program/app would be initiated by physicians with their patients to provide accurate data anytime a patient is seen. The program would eliminate lengthy check-ins and the hassle of repeating information at each visit.

Second place went to REMI, which provides customized guitars, hand built in Texarkana, through a website. The purpose of this company is to provide a high-quality guitar to musicians at a fraction of the cost of the top-brand guitars that are currently on the market.

Third place went to HorsepowerHUB, a place for car enthusiasts to gather, store vehicles, provide auto care classes and host car show events. Customers would pay a monthly rate to use the facility based on their needs. There will be bays for a range of needs such as restoration work or to do basic mechanical repairs. All of the presentations were well done and the research and validation process was evident by the way the participants answered the judges’ questions.

Other entries included No Pay, a product that would make smartphone service free to the public; Jam Packed, donut holes and baked apples filled with ice cream and cream cheese; La Vie Eternelle, an alternative burial process; DubNation TXK, a system providing private, home urinalysis screenings; and Bash, an application for smartphones that allows college and university students to find events in their area.start-up weekend

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