FAIRBANKS, Alaska - The University Of Alaska Fairbanks hosted an event over the weekend to spark ideas that could be the future of Fairbanks' economy. Seven teams were gearing up this weekend at UAF to pitch ideas such as products, apps, and services that could potentially come to fruition. Startup Weekend Fairbanks is an opportunity for developers, designers, marketers or anyone with a proposal to present their product to judges. Mark Billingsley with university's office of intellectual property and commercialization spoke about the event
"It's 54 hours of, you pitch an idea and then you figure out which idea everyone likes the best, you join a team, and you spend the weekend building a prototype, figuring out a business model, calling your customers and seeing if it's actually a good idea if they are interested in buying it or not. Then you come back together at the end with a pitch and you present it to some judges," he said.
Billingsley spoke about why UAF was happy to bring this program back to the university.
"The university has been doing a lot to push innovation and entrepreneurship recently, and this fits exactly what we are doing at the university trying to grow the culture of innovation and entrepreneurism. So, we were excited to bring this back onto campus," he said.
The winner of this year's Startup Fairbanks was 'Armadillow', a product that converts a sweater into neck support. The designers were automatically entered as a finalist to participate in the Arctic Innovation competition with the grand prize totaling $10,000. Billingsley says this is an event that is continuing to grow and it represents the potential future of the economy in Fairbanks and the surrounding communities.