Startup Weekend demonstrates entrepreneurial spirit

VENTURA, Calif. – The inaugural Startup Weekend held March 11-13 at Rancho Campana High School in Camarillo awarded $10,000 to a team of students from California Lutheran University who developed a concept for a device that would monitor the health and recovery of an injured knee. It fits over the knee and measures functionality and strength.

The “RepWatch” would use a real-time monitoring system to track a patient’s workout routines using sensor technology. The data would be transmitted wirelessly to a physical therapist who could then adjust the therapy to help the patient achieve his or her recovery goals.

The event attracted 70 participants from health care and agricultural disciplines – along with coaches, mentors, advisors and judges from the community – who were all interested in developing business models using technology to bring new concepts to the market.

Eight teams competed to create business concepts over the weekend. A group of 10 business and community leaders, including County Executive Officer Mike Powers, judged each concept.

“Agriculture and health care are critical components of the Ventura County economy,” said Powers. “Innovation is the key to our future. We have to harness the power of new technology to take us to new levels of success, and the Startup Weekend is a perfect example of how the private and public sectors can work together to encourage entrepreneurial innovation.”

Two other winning concepts came from agricultural entries. One, called “Bye Bye Birdie” proposed using sensor technology and robotic vehicles to reduce crop loss caused by birds. Another, the “Veggie Bot” is a robotic device in the shape of the produce to be tracked that is harvested, sorted, packed and shipped along with the crop to track the conditions of the produce from farm to shelf.

Startup Weekend is an organization that has reached more than 200,000 entrepreneurs in 135 countries. It is intended to create high-paying jobs by supporting the launch of technology-driven businesses. The Ventura County event was organized by the Camarillo Chamber of Commerce. Sponsors included Dignity Health St. John’s Hospitals, Semtech, the County of Ventura, the City of Camarillo, Meissner Filtration Products, Limoneira, California Lutheran University, California State University Channel Islands and many other local businesses and organizations.

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