April 1, 2016 3:04 PM

Julie Shields

Interested in entrepreneurship or do you have an idea but aren't sure if there is a market for it? The real key is shaping good ideas into a profitable venture, according to Julie Shields, director of Millikin University's Center for Entrepreneurship.

In the April 2016 edition of the Business Journal of Midcentral Illinois, Shields shares details about Decatur's inaugural Startup Weekend, set for Friday, April 22, to Sunday, April 24, at Millikin University's Tabor School of Business.

"Startup Weekend is an international movement that follows a process designed to help people quickly decide if their idea is worth pursuing in some form, if customers are at all interested in the prospect, or if it is better to let go of the concept," says Shields. "The earlier you test to prove or disprove the idea, the less costly the venture."

Startup Weekend participants will gain hands-on experiences with a new process, an expanded understanding of concept validation, and an increased network of like-minded entrepreneurs, developers, designers and community influencers.

"Collaboration among like-minded peers during the early stages has become the norm. Turning ideas from a spark in someone's mind to a commercial success is a journey of 1,000 miles over very challenging terrain," said Shields. "It might start with a single step, but one wants to know in which direction to start that journey and who else could be included."

For more information on Startup Weekend, visit startupdecaturil.com.

Click here to read more from Julie Shields on Startup Weekend in an article from the Business Journal of Midcentral Illinois.