Have you ever been to a Startup Weekend event? In the space of 54 hours starting on a Friday evening (here's a typical schedule), participants pitch business ideas, form teams, implement their ideas, and present their work before a panel of judges. Along the way there's time for some coaching and a quick lesson in how to give a pitch, but most of the time is reserved for flat-out working with your team. The events are a lot of fun, and a good way to see the entire business formation process on an accelerated timescale.
At the end of the event some of the teams remain intact and go on to turn their weekend project into a fully functional business. A number of companies, including Rover.com (dog boarding), Zaarly (local shopping), and Look.io (mobile chat, acquired by LivePerson) were built on AWS during past Startup Weekend events.
I am happy to announce that AWS is now a Global Technology Sponsor of Startup Weekend! I have to say that I am genuinely excited by this announcement. I've been to a couple of events and I've seen the process in action. The events attract an eclectic mix of entrepreneurs, developers, marketers, and so forth. Everyone participates; there's no "stand around and watch" option. The energy level is high and one-time strangers form into teams and do some awesome work together.
Every Startup Weekend participant will receive $100 in AWS credits that can be applied to an existing AWS account or used with a new account (create one here if you need one). These credits can be used for a wide variety of AWS services including EC2, S3, and DynamoDB and are valid for 12 months from the date of activation.