Things to Know Before the Event – Insights From an Innovation Manager

04/26/2016 | By MEDB-High Tech Maui

This post originally appeared on


Thelma Alane is the Innovation Manager for the High Technology Development Corporation, which includes managing HTDC’s Maui Research & Technology Center and the new Cohana Coworking space in Kihei.  She is a serial entrepreneur who loves finding new and creative ways to use technology to solve our local and global pain points. 


Have you been bitten by the startup bug?  Are you passionate about an idea and want to figure out how to make that idea a reality?  Then we have just the right event for you!  Maui Startup Weekend, like all startup weekends is about bring people together with ideas, skills and know-how and work as a team to bring that idea to life.  Here are some things that you should know or plan on before attending the event.

The Idea

You’ll have only about 60 seconds to pitch your idea.  So make sure to practice your delivery a few times before getting in front of the crowd.  Getting in front of the group and pitching your idea doesn’t mean it will be selected to be worked on, so the better and clearer your delivery, the more likely you will win collaborators.

Things to include in the pitch:

  1. Define the problem/pain point your idea addresses
  2. Describe how your solution is the better mouse trap for this problem
  3. What kind of people you want/need on your team

That’s it, keep it simple and clear.  Practice so that you can eliminate the nerves that can occur in speaking to a group and show your passion – real need, clear and definite approaches and passion will win collaborators to help you over the weekend.

The Weekend

If your idea gets picked plan to work the entire weekend to be ready for the Sunday afternoon presentation event.  You will get help from coaches as well as collaborators.  Depending on your idea, you want to make sure to attract developers/tech types as well as design/creative types to help you put a little know-how and polish on your final product.  With any luck these folks could become part of your founding team to go from start up to full blown business…the ultimate wish of all of us with startup in our blood.

If your idea doesn’t get picked…plan to work the entire weekend on another idea.  Trust me this will give you a ton of experience and learning on how to turn and idea into reality even if it isn’t your idea.  This will either help you to figure out what to tweak on your own ideas or give you a clear understanding of just how much work and passion can be involved in starting and building a new idea into a business that may start out on Maui but could grow to be a global brand.  So do this for yourself and your idea!

The Last Day

After working hard all weekend the final thing you do is give a panel of judges a presentation of your idea in the form of a prototype product or application that was developed over the weekend.  This presentation is a kin to a product/startup pitch and extremely good practice for future start up endeavors.  Pitching is an art that can be learned and will help you obtain collaborators, customers and investors, every presentation is one step closer to being comfortable and relaxed while doing the pitch.  I can’t emphasize strongly enough how important this one step is in all you and your business will achieve over the next few years.  And it will not hurt you to be acknowledged as the winner of this weekend event, not only are there prizes, but local media attention as well.  Becoming known in the local community can be leveraged into support to achieve your more national or global dreams.


So bring your ideas, bring your skills and know-how.  Work hard have lots of fun and meet like-minded people.  A great way to spend a weekend!  Good Luck – may the best idea & team succeed!