After 48 hours of brainstorming, collaborating and sweating the small stuff, last Sunday night brought the finalists of the Co-Lab 48-Hour Launch to the stage of Track 29 for their final pitches. The audience at the event voted via text message and the winners took awards in three categories.
At times, the event was dramatic and contained everything you expect when seeing live performances—whether it’s a concert, play or a business start-up pitch about the next big thing in food condiments. Note that this was for real prize money and could be the key factor in the product moving forward or failing to launch...Deus Ex Machina waiting in the wings, ready to move the players off stage and into the realm of the dead. But in most cases, even if the start-up’s final pitch didn’t lead to a monetary victory, the idea will move forward and the commitment to it remains.
One example of an idea that didn’t win money, but that you will hear more about in the coming weeks, is We Budget (webudget.us). Led by City Councilman Andrae McGary, this concept combines an organization and website with the goal of implementing “Participatory Budgeting” here in Chattanooga. Created in Brazil and now being implemented in Chicago and New York, this type of budgeting process brings citizens and the elected officials who have voting power on budgets together and gives the citizens a direct, participatory place at the budgeting table. Good idea, right? And that’s the takeaway from 48-Hour Launch. This annual event produces some damn good ideas. And who knows: The idea you‘ve got bouncing around in your head might be the one that takes home gold next year. Sharpen your pencils.