‘This is the largest deaf-inclusive Startup Weekend in the world’
On Nov. 10, 27 individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing participated in a weekend event at Gallaudet University dedicated to helping entrepreneurs create their own businesses. Global Startup Weekend is designed to help attendees create a startup in 52 hours.
Last year, 22 percent of attendees at the D.C. event were deaf; this year, 15 more people who are deaf participated.
This Startup Weekend is one of 200 across the world, but, according to organizer Steven Rodriguez, the one in D.C. is “the largest deaf-inclusive Startup Weekend in the world,” said organizer Steven Rodriguez.
Participants had the opportunity to learn more about startup essentials over the weekend. They learned more about pitching, were mentored by local startup founders and worked in teams to cultivate their ideas, which they then presented to a panel of judges.
“People who are deaf and hard of hearing have the same ambition and ability to be business owners, and can help view things from a different perspective, often unique to them,” Rodriguez said. “They have this perseverance to overcome barriers to communication and the stereotypes about what deaf people are capable of. We can learn a lot from each other and magnify our success working together… For aspiring deaf entrepreneurs, there’s never been a better time to start a business. What’s stopping you?”
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