Startup Weekend Detroit Social Entrepreneurs Edition Resource Guide – the pitch & the impact

05/24/2015 | By Nicole Mangis

This post originally appeared on

So the big weekend is nearly here and you may be thinking to yourself "self, what is our idea, what is our pitch, what is this social enterprise thing?" Well, don't worry we got you covered. Here are a whole-lotta resources to get you ready for the weekend!

The Idea & The Pitch

To give you some ideas about what to pitch and how to pitch it here is a link to a series of blogs from Startup Weekend organizers from across the world with tips for the Friday night pitch which should be helpful.

Also, here are some FAQ's on the Friday night pitch:

  • What types of ideas can I pitch?

Any business ideas are eligible (whether for-profit, ‘social’ businesses, non-profit organizations, etc.), however the event is strongly tech-oriented. Approximately 95% of all ideas are mobile or web focused, and given the short time-frame, we strongly recommend that even non-tech ideas focus on a tech-related deliverable (i.e., website) by Sunday.

  • Can I pitch more than 1 idea?

Depending on the number of ideas pitched and the schedule, you may or may not be able to pitch multiple ideas. Prioritize your ideas: pitch your best idea (and the one you have most prepared for) first.

  • Can I pitch my existing business?

No. Startup Weekend is designed to be the most effective platform for growing new businesses from the ground up over the course of a weekend. A key facet of the weekend – and a central value for participants – is the spirit of complete collaboration, buy-in and ownership. We’ve found that having existing businesses in the mix undermines this spirit, in addition to creating an imbalance between those ideas that are truly ground-level.

  • What if my idea doesn’t get selected?

The purpose of the Friday crowd-sourcing isn’t to exclude certain ideas, but simply to highlight the most popular/high-potential pitches and end up with a manageable number of teams – ensuring that each team has a variety of backgrounds/skills. If your idea isn’t selected but you’ve formed a team around the idea, you’re welcome to work on it over the weekend. If you decide to do so, however, please tell the event Organizer, as this may be an issue regarding your teams’ eligibility for prizes.

 The Social Enterprise Thing

We like to think of social enterprise as more of an approach you take to business. Think of it as the philosophy you have as you build your business model and service/product. When you build a social enterprise the goal is to be profitable but not at the expense of the planet or people.

What does it mean to be profitable not at the expense of the planet or people. Well, to start.. this is the challenge with social enterprise. We innovate through our business models, our supply chains, sourcing and managing talent, and how we interact with our community (which can be hyper-local or scaled to include the "global community"). Part of this weekend will be rising to the challenge of taking ANY kind of business and incorporating principals and values into the operations and business model that allow YOUR business to not just make money (because that is VERY important) but also make a positive impact in the world.

Here are some additional (but certainly not exhaustive) resources that can help you get started:

We know you're going to rock this event!