Campus organization hosts 54-hour startup event


Winning team: 8-Count: Their startup revolves around a micro product that fits into your mouth to calculate concussion probability during sports.

By Meghan Webber

On Friday night, Founders, an entrepreneurship organization on campus, started their “54” event at the Illini Union. The event invites students from all majors to participate in a startup project in which they have 54 hours to create a business. 

“The idea of 54 is that we bring in about 80 to 90 people and we want them to pitch their ideas, take their ideas from just an idea at the dinner table to reality, to make a business over the course of the weekend” said Alek Festekjian, “54” organizer and sophomore in Engineering. 

Each day of 54 has a different agenda. 

Friday’s theme is “Imagine,” where participants pitch their business idea to fellow participants in 60 seconds. 

Once each participant has pitched their idea, voting takes place in order to determine the top 10 to 12 ideas. After voting, participants join teams based on the ideas they like best.

On Saturday, the teams build their businesses with the help of coaches.

Finally, on Sunday, the teams will present their projects and investors and judges will pick the top teams.

“We want 54 to be a catalyst to go from an idea to a reality. The plan is for them to keep going” said Festekjian. “The event ends on Sunday, but we want them to go beyond that.”

Meghan can be reached at [email protected].