Startup Weekend a Big Success for McDonough Entrepreneurs

December 09, 2011

After spending 54 non-stop hours working on an app to help students manage their courses and schedules, a team of entrepreneurs including MBA student Kevin Bergen and junior Carlos Cheung from Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business took first place at Startup Weekend Washington DC EDU, held in the Hariri Building at Georgetown.  

Hosted by Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business, the competition focused on building a web or mobile EDU application to improve education that could form the basis of a credible business. More than 100 aspiring entrepreneurs from various fields, including engineers, developers, innovators, teachers, and business leaders, participated in the event. Teams created demonstrable online products and pitched their ideas to a panel of judges, including Tom Adams, CEO of Rosetta Stone, and former D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty. 
Cheung and Bergen’s winning app, “Course Check,” is designed to help students organize their schedules and calendars. The duo met the Friday of the opening event of the weekend and quickly decided they wanted to form a team.
“Carlos was the first person to pitch an idea, and I thought it had some real potential,” Bergen said. “We talked right away and it was clear that he had a great idea and that we could make a good team.”
Bergen attributed part of their win to luck, as they were able to bring Turadg Aleahmad onto their team. Aleahmad is a sixth-year Ph.D. student in human computer interaction and education at Carnegie Mellon who had been working on a similar project as part of his research.
Cheung found inspiration for the app from his own frustration with managing his schedule. The group’s plan is to pilot the project as soon as possible and then have a beta version ready for the spring semester at various schools, including Georgetown. As the winners, the team received prize money and mentoring to help them launch the venture in the future.
Assistant Professor Allison Koester, who helped organize the event, said that event showed the national and local community that Georgetown is serious about entrepreneurship.

“Encouraging entrepreneurship here at the McDonough School of Business leads to a tangible impact on the community around us,” Koester said. “The fact that the McDonough hosted Startup Weekend showed that the future of entrepreneurship at Georgetown is bright.”