Charlotte High School Startup Weekend

    Friday, November 2 - 3, 2018

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Speakers
  4. Judges
  5. Coaches and Mentors
  6. Sponsors
  7. Organizing Team
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Charlotte High School Startup Weekend

Friday, November 2 - 3, 2018

Friday, November 2 - 3, 2018
Event starts at 6:00 pm

Johnson C. Smith University
100 Beatties Ford Rd
Charlotte, NC 28216

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Be Your Own Boss!

Are you a Charlotte area high school student in the 11th or 12th grade?

Charlotte High School Startup Weekend wants to create and foster young entrepreneurial talent in the Queen City. 
#SWCLT #beyourownboss

Partnering with Techstars, the world’s starting point for entrepreneurship. We are hosting a 54-hour event at Johnson C. Smith on Nov 2-4, 2018. This is where high school students will come together to share ideas, form teams, and launch startups.

Do you have an idea you'd like to pursue or a problem you'd like to solve but don't know where to start or who to start with?

Techstars Startup Weekend is the place to look for a team, create a prototype of your idea, validate your business idea, and receive feedback from experienced entrepreneurs, all in one weekend.

What do you need to bring?

Lots of energy! You'll pitch your own idea or listen to others, then vote on the most interesting ideas and form teams with diverse skill sets. You can come with friends, but you’ll get the full experience if you participate in separate teams. Remember, it’s all about the team.

Your idea should be something you have not previously worked on. The idea you pitch and the problem you set out to solve can span social, educational, financial, environmental, or other issues. Over the course of the weekend, you'll be challenged to create a prototype of your MVP, or minimum viable product, that fits the needs of your target customer. You'll get feedback, iterate, and likely pivot your approach entirely! Important: You cannot have worked previously on your idea.

Techstars Startup Weekend is a full weekend-long experience. Your ticket includes:
  • 7 full (and delicious) meals over the course of the weekend
  • Benefits and discounts from our global partners
  • One-on-one time with amazing mentors
  • A new network of developers, designers, and entrepreneurs eager, like you, to change the world.
  • All the internet and coffee you can consume.

Watch the video below to see what you can expect, and if you’re feeling inspired click on the “Buy Ticket” button now!

Still, have questions, feel free to reach us at

Don’t wait any longer and join the Techstars Startup Weekend movement!

No talk, all action! Learn to be your own boss!

See what it's all about

Learn More


Friday November 2nd

6:00 pm
Registration & Dinner
Arrive at the venue and get checked in and grab dinner

6:30 pm
Welcome & Speakers
Review agenda for the weekend and introduce speakers, coaches, and community leaders

7:00 pm
Pitches Start
Pitches and team formation

7:30 pm
Business Model Canvas
Introduction to an entrepreneur's best friend

8:30 pm
Teams go to work
Break out to individual teams to assign tasks and start building your business

10:00 pm
Depart for Day

Saturday November 3rd

8:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

8:30 am
Design Sprint
Business Ideation and Branding

9:30 am
Team Work
Digest morning session and start work for the day

10:30 am
Coach Tracks
Track 1 - Customer Validation Track 2 - Legal Formation Track 3 - Financing your ideas

11:30 am
F6S Registration

12:00 pm
Pitch Deck and Website Creation
Where to get the information to create a pitch deck and how to make it most impactful

2:00 pm
Meet with some of the best entrepreneurs Charlotte has to offer

4:00 pm
Team Work
Team will put into their business plan and pitch what they have learned

6:00 pm

6:30 pm
Presentation Prep & Tech Check
Final hours of worktime should be focused on perfecting your presentation, tech-check for final presentations also takes place

8:00 pm
Final Presentations & Awards

9:00 pm
Reception & Celebration


J. Dain Dulaney
Attorney, Bishop, Dulaney, Joyner & Abner, PA.

Dain Dulaney is one of the founding attorneys of Bishop, Dulaney, Joyner & Abner, PA, a business law firm focused on helping clients achieve success. While he assists all types of businesses with their legal needs, Dain has a particular passion for high growth entrepreneurs and assisting in the selling and buying business. He is known for his exemplary involvement while preparing for angel, venture or private equity funding, during post-funding business growth, and in executing successful exits through the sale of the business.
Dain concentrates his practice on providing practical legal guidance in the areas of general business and corporate law, sales of businesses through mergers and acquisitions, and equity compensation of employees and contractors. As a leader of Charlotte’s entrepreneurial and technology community, he is involved as a speaker at Packard Place, and as a member and speaker at the BIG Council and the Entrepreneur’s Organization, among others.
Dain gained his experience through the founding several firms focused on the entrepreneurial practice area, as an in-house attorney (including as a General Counsel of a publicly traded technology company) and through practicing with large national firms in Charlotte. After graduating from Charlotte Country Day School, he earned his BS from Washington and Lee University and JD from Wake Forest University School of Law.

Eric Gorman
Owner, Designer at Wily

Eric Gorman is owner + designer at Wily, an agency dedicated to helping people unleash their life's best work through experience and service design. Eric has designed and facilitated Strategy Sprints and Design Sprints domestically and overseas for Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies, federal and city government teams, as well as prominent nonprofits and institutions. Eric regularly teaches classes and leads training, including overseas at the INTEC University in the Dominican Republic and locally at Wake Forest University's Design Thinking Certificate Program. Learn more about Eric and his team's work at

Laura Smailes

I am the Assistant Director at Ventureprise at UNC Charlotte, a hands-on strategic effort to help startups, early-stage companies, and innovation-based entrepreneurship in the Charlotte community. My passion for the entrepreneurial community began after I graduated from UNC Charlotte with my Master’s Degree in Communication Studies. I formed a startup (Eco-H2O Innovations, L.L.C.) with two engineers, working on a wave powered desalination system to provide clean water to areas in need.
With previous corporate communication experience ranging from producing a morning radio talk show to sales and marketing, I managed to transition these skills into the successful launch of the Charlotte startup company. As Operations Manager of the venture, I immersed myself into the local entrepreneurial community, connecting with and learning about the programs and resources that are available to Charlotte entrepreneurs.
Over the past four years, I have had the privilege to participate several entrepreneurial programs, including CLT Joules and Venture Launch program at Ventureprise, and am currently serving as the Communications Manager for PitchBreakfast and Project Manager for StartCharlotte. I am very eager to use my experience to assist and support other entrepreneurs in the community.

Megan Riley
Chief Wandering Officer

I ow 2 local Charlotte businesses. One focuses on helping small businesses find new clients through online marketing and the other helps solo travelers connect with one another to explore countries around the world.

Juan Garzon
Executive Director

I help entrepreneurs clarify their brand, communicate their value, and accelerate the growth of their businesses.

Steven Lewis
Senior Managing Director

Steven Lewis currently serves as Managing Director and a partner at Randolph Square IP.  Mr. Lewis has over 30 years of experience in the financial services industry.  Prior to joining Randolph Square, he worked in a Business Development role for a regional Wealth Management firm and established their wholesale business channel on the Fidelity Wealth Advisor Solution platform. Mr. Lewis spent the majority of his professional career as a Senior Sales Person and top producer in the structured products area at Wachovia / Wells Fargo.   Mr. Lewis earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the Williams School at Washington and Lee University.  He serves on multiple charitable boards in Charlotte, is a Charlotte Entrepreneurial Evangelist and enjoys spending time with his wife and 6 children

Jake Beaulieu
Vice President

Jake Beaulieu joined Bank of America’s Middle Market Financial Sponsors Group in May 2017 providing credit products (loans, treasury services and trading lines) to middle market private equity firm (“Sponsors)” owned mid-sized companies in the United States and Canada. Jake previously worked for three years on the Corporate Credit Leveraged Finance team lead by David Strickert where he completed the formal corporate credit training program as a first year analyst. Prior to joining Wholesale Credit Leveraged Finance, Jake worked as a Financial Monitoring Analyst (“FMA”) while completing his Bachelors Degree in Finance from UNC Charlotte and joined the bank as a FMA Summer Intern in June 2012. Jake volunteers with the following:
  • -  BAC Fintech Ambassadors – Founder
  • -  BAC QC Fintech - Liaison
  • -  Carolina Fintech Hub – Innovation and Access to Capital work stream lead
  • -  Association for Corporate Growth (“ACG”) member and New Member Committee member
  • -  Charlotte Angel Fund – Due diligence team member Prior to working in the financial services industry, Jake served in the United States Air Force for four years as an avionic electronics technician after high school followed by five years as a real estate broker in the Charlotte/Lake Norman, NC area. Jake is married to his wife (Jamie), has two daughters Kirsten 21 (Junior at OSU) and Anyston 8 and they have a Golden Retriever / Great Pyrenees mix named Ranger and a Great Pyrenees rescue named Elsa (“the fluffs”).

Event Judges

Jennifer Roberts

Jennifer Watson Roberts is an American politician, businesswoman and former diplomat who served as the 58th mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina. She was elected on November 3, 2015 having previously served four terms on the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners.

Terik Tidwell
Director of Innovation

Hal Eason
Investor, Entrepreneur and Educator

Hal Eason is a serial entrepreneur and investor whose ventures have included biotech startups, software companies, and a rental real estate business.  He has a passion for coaching and developing emerging leaders. He is also a former private equity strategy consultant with Bain & Company.  He holds an M.B.A from Harvard Business School, a Master of Divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a B.A. from Vanderbilt University.

Coaches and Mentors

Deoren Robinson

I work in communications and storytelling. Whether it is producing content to showcase a company's brand and personality or managing various media that builds awareness and results, my work helps engage, inform, and deliver.I am the Member Engagement Manager at Advent Coworking where I manage the social media, create the content for all digital media channels, and work with the team to assist the members of the space. I also work with The Creative Group to produce headshots and event photography for one of their accounts.

Lisa Tweardy
Principal, Kemo Sabe

As Principal of Kemo Sabe, I am an entrepreneur, business innovator and venture philanthropist who is passionate about reducing preventable harm and accelerating the commercialization of new medical technologies. Clients include UNYQ 3D printed custom orthopedic and prosthetic devices and Novartis Neuroscience. Previously serving as CEO for Combat Medical, General Manager, Biomet Bracing, Vice President, Orthopaedics and General Manager, Spine at Ossur, I have been awarded 19 patents and have published research in Spine and The Journal of Neurosurgery. I earned my Bachelor’s in Fundamental Science (Bioengineering) from Lehigh University, and a Master’s in the Management of Technology from the School of Engineering and the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Charlotte High School Startup Weekend team is grateful for the support of local community partners without whom this event would not be possible.
Learn how to become a sponsor here.



Organizing Team

Techstars Startup Weekend Charlotte is 100% led by volunteer community leaders.
Learn how to get involved here

  • Jake
  • Megan
  • Steven
  • Jesse
  • Terik
  • Jennifer
  • melissa


Ann-Marie Nunziata

Ann-Marie is on the pursuit of becoming the Olivia Pope of Columbia startups. By day, she’s pursuing her Lean Six Sigma Green Belt. By night, she helps plan Columbia startup events including Startup Weekend, Startup Grind, and The Exchange. Ann-Marie consults with the companies at the USC/Columbia Technology Incubator on social media, efficiency, and student engagement.

Event Staff

Ann-Marie Nunziata

Ann-Marie is on the pursuit of becoming the Olivia Pope of Columbia startups. By day, she’s pursuing her Lean Six Sigma Green Belt. By night, she helps plan Columbia startup events including Startup Weekend, Startup Grind, and The Exchange. Ann-Marie consults with the companies at the USC/Columbia Technology Incubator on social media, efficiency, and student engagement.

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