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Think marathons are tough? Try Building a Business in 24 Hours.

For those of you who have started your own company, you understand the unavoidable challenges we all face. Even the smoothest of smooth up-and-coming startups face hurdles- that’s just the nature of the game. For a moment, imagine taking all of the inherent challenges when starting a company and amplify them significantly. Imagine bringing together complete strangers, putting them in a room and saying “Good Luck!” as they attempt to build a business. And oh yeah, you only have 24 hours. Welcome to 24hour startup.


As the name implies, 24hour startup is an event in which entrepreneurial-minded students from all different backgrounds are brought together to build a business in 24 hours. The event, which took place on November 8th & 9th, brought together four great organizations (Startup Laurier, Laurier LaunchPad, Waterloo Entrepreneurship Society, and Nspire) and roughly 70 bright students to the Communitech Hub in Kitchener.

Students came from an assortment of schools and all had diverse skill sets. As a member of the planning committee, I was fortunate enough to be running registration when the students arrived. I suddenly had a lot of names to remember. After opening remarks from one of KW’s most anticipated startups, Thalmic Labs, the real work began. At first, most teams tended to clash. They sorted through ideas for the next big thing, all while trying to find their fit within the group. Being able to walk around and consult with the various groups, it was interesting to see the routes each group took to developing a viable business. Some started with market research or possible demand for their product/service, others went straight to building a functioning prototype. The event started at 7 pm, and by 2 am it was clear that restlessness was beginning to set in amongst the groups. Some took this opportunity to grab a couple hours shuteye; some on the other hand went in for the long haul and stayed up all night to work on the business.

I was greatly impressed with the caliber of students who attended the event. Every group was able to do what it took to get the job done, in this case the job being to get as close as possible to launching. During the pitches, teams presented to a panel of four judges for two minutes, followed by a three minute Q & A with the judges. The top three finishers were awarded cash prizes and consulting services from Gowlings Law and Entrepreneurs in Residence from Communitech. The student delegates, panel of judges, organizations, and venue made for an immeasurable amount of value and second to none atmosphere. 24hour startup was an event like no other and I would highly recommend it for students seeking some great ideas and great new connections.



Cole Jones

VP of Marketing at Startup Laurier