Photo of Allentown by Zos Xavius

Start brainstorming. There’s a new startup weekend in town. Startup Weekend Civic will be held in Allentown from September 18 – 20, 2015.

Startup Weekend is a global organization that fosters the basics of creating and developing successful startup ventures. Pittsburgh hosts several Startup Weekends a year, helping participants create companies during weekend-long events across the city.

Startup Weekend Civic is focused on entrepreneurs who want to start businesses that are going to either use key data to improve how city government functions or impact a local community, explains founder of The Hardware Store and event partner Josh Lucas.

“The differentiator [of Startup Weekend Civic] is ‘who’s the customer?’ Who are the people you are trying to service with these new companies?”

Courtesy of Startup Weekend Civic

Attendants will have 54 hours, from Friday to Sunday, to develop an idea, form a team and pitch a business or solution that directly addresses a problem in the city, government or community.

While previous events have been limited to a single building, Startup Weekend Civic will be held throughout the Allentown community.

“We think it’s important to be all throughout the neighborhood, to help people think differently about it,” explains Lucas.

Over the weekend, teams will break out and work in different local businesses across the hilltop community. The weekend isn’t just about developing businesses, but immersing the participants in a local community to discover solutions.

Startup Weekend Civic encourages entrepreneurs from all backgrounds to attend. Graphic designers, software engineers, marketing and sales professionals are all welcome.

Startup Weekend Civic is also looking for people who understand policy or how bureaucracies like city government work, Lucas says.

“There’s another layer of complexity when you start talking about social issues,” explains Scott Wolovich, executive director of New Sun Rising. “You need to be able to translate the market and be able to understand the customer being the community itself. What does that look like in terms of the technology or the solution?”

As a partner at Startup Weekend Civic Pittsburgh, New Sun Rising is providing coaches to each of the participating teams. The organization develops programs and services for social entrepreneurs that are interested in solving community challenges across the city.

Coaches for the teams at Startup Weekend Civic range from consultants and strategists to attornys and leaders in community-based organizations. “It’s everyone from consultants and strategists on the business side, but also leaders of community-based organizations and folks that have addressed community issues,” says Wolovich.

For more information, visit Startup Weekend Civic’s website.

Emma Diehl

Emma Diehl is a writer, blogger, and social media marketer working in tech and startups in Pittsburgh. She loves local craft beer and a well-crafted pun.