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Pioneer Weekend

COVID-19 Update: Pioneer Weekend 2020 will be held digitally through WebEx events and will only be open to Grinnell College students (both enrolled and on leave).
To access the event (WebEx Links), please visit the Links page

What is it?

Pioneer Weekend is a three-day innovation and pitch competition, sponsored by the Wilson Center for Innovation and Leadership.

The objective of Pioneer Weekend is to bring together student innovators to develop and pitch a business or non-profit plan. It encourages hands-on experiences, helps develop skills critical to entrepreneurship, and provides valuable feedback to your entrepreneurial endeavors.

Beginning with open mic pitches on Friday, students will bring in their best ideas and inspire others to join their team. Over Saturday teams focus on customer development, validating their ideas, practicing LEAN Startup Methodologies, and designing a minimal viable product. On Sunday, teams pitch their innovations for a chance to win cash prizes.

Register now to compete in this year’s event!

                       Prizes
    1st place team:   $500 Per Member
    2nd place team:   $300 Per Member
    3rd place team:   $150 Per Member

SST-195: Intro to Entrepreneurship

This year, we are offering a 1-credit course taught by Kevin Allen. All participants in the course will be automatically enrolled in Pioneer Weekend, but all Pioneer Weekend participants are not required to take the course (although it’s highly recommended).


Why Attend?

Explore Entrepreneurship

Pioneer Weekend is all about learning through the act of creating. Don’t just listen to theory, build your own strategy, and test it as you go.

Build Your Network

This isn’t just a happy-hour. Pioneer Weekend attracts the community’s best makers and do-ers. By spending a weekend working on solving real-world problems, you will build long-lasting relationships and possibly walk away with a cool story that could lead to a job or a potential company.

Co-Founder Scouting

We all know it’s not just about the idea – it’s about the team. Pioneer Weekend is hands down the best way to find someone you can actually launch a startup with.

Learn From Professionals

Speak and learn from mentors with a wide variety of backgrounds. Master business and marketing strategies, with input and advice from the experts.

Hone New Skills

Step outside of your comfort zone. With a whole weekend dedicated to letting your creative juices flow, Pioneer Weekend is a perfect opportunity to test your entrepreneurial prowess.