Startup Weekend Roanoke in full swing - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Startup Weekend Roanoke in full swing

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DOWNTOWN ROANOKE -

Starting a new business is never easy, but this weekend is a huge opportunity for people who are ready to see if their big idea can translate into a real business.

"It started from just an idea, to really getting the whole community involved and get this thing going," says participant, Yezid Gracia.

Yezid Gracia's big idea made the cut at the Startup Weekend Roanoke. Now he has a team working to create a way to order coffee directly through farmers through an online subscription.

"It's been a lot of fun and a lot of emotion going around. We're being very productive," says Gracia.

His team consists of more than just other entrepreneurs at the conference, it also includes the entire Roanoke community.

"Most of the teams have been out in the community interviewing people and trying to get that customer validation for their ideas," says event organizer, Robert Mcaden.

"We're very focused on lean startup methodology which helps them focus on a customer, and fulfilling a customers need instead of just building a product and launching a business," says Derick Maggard, a facilitator for the Startup Weekend. "They're really trying to find a market fit."

This weekends winner will be leaving with some very impressive prizes. They'll get free web space, a year's membership at the Roanoke Business Lounge and free resources from other local businesses as well. But even those who don't win are still getting a boost when it comes to their big idea.

"What's so great is what happens on Friday, on their first pitch, and what happens on their last pitch is totally different. They make strategic moves so they can be successful in the market place," says Maggard.

All helping to make these big business dreams more achievable.

"It's really fantastic that the community has come together to support these entrepreneurs," says Maggard.

"These are going to be our future leaders that are going to drive our economy, our country, our world. And we want to be a part of it," says Gracia.

They're taking that first step to become fully involved right here in the Star City.

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