Newswise — Got a business idea? Pitch your business plan to a panel of experts in a 54-hour event to find out if you have what it takes to become an entrepreneur. UA’s Culverhouse College of Commerce STEM Path to the MBA Program is hosting a hands-on entrepreneurship workshop, Startup Weekend, to help jumpstart business ideas.

“It’s like speed dating for entrepreneurs,” said Dr. Rob Morgan, Executive Director for Innovative Initiatives, Culverhouse College of Commerce. “The event might even be compared to the television show “Shark Tank” where budding entrepreneurs are given the opportunity to turn their ideas for a product or service into reality by presenting quick pitches to experts,” Morgan added.

The event is September 26-28 at the South Engineering Research Center (SERC) building on The University of Alabama campus and is open to anyone in Alabama or surrounding states who want to pitch ideas for a new product or service.

“We are excited to be hosting this event where we can help students and the community develop business ideas. Innovation and creating jobs is part of our mission here at Culverhouse,” said Dr. J. Michael Hardin, Dean, Culverhouse College of Commerce. “We plan to continue hosting these type entrepreneurial events and who knows, we might just find the next Bill Gates or Steve Jobs.”

Startup Weekend is a global organization with a network of leaders and entrepreneurs that host’s 54-hour weekend workshops for aspiring entrepreneurs who can immediately find out if their business ideas are viable. It provides a platform for developers, designers, marketers, product managers and startup enthusiasts to inspire business ideas, present to a panel of experts, form teams and potentially launch startups.

The event starts Friday evening with open-mic pitches where a panel of leaders and entrepreneurs will select the top 10 to 15 ideas, then the individuals selected will have the opportunity to build on their ideas and form teams from other participants in the workshop. Sunday evening the teams continue developing their ideas, demo their prototypes and get feedback from the panel.

According to Startup Weekend’s website, more than 36 percent of startups are going strong three months after the weekend and on average half of the attendees have design or technical backgrounds while the other half have business backgrounds. Local tech and startup leaders will participate in the weekend as coaches and judges.

Learn more about Startup Weekend at and register online at The registration fee is $50 through August 27 and $85 after, students are $25.

Sponsors for the weekend event are the West Alabama Chamber of Commerce, Alabama Power, Randall Reilly, Chic-fil-A, Domino’s Pizza and JamisonMoneyFarmer accounting firm.