Advice from MN Cup Judge: Joe Hurd

Friday, February 20, 2015

Joe Hurd

Throughout the 2015 MN Cup, we will be featuring our wonderful judges and mentors. Meet Joe Hurd, COO, SixSpeed.

Joe Hurd is a judge for the Food, Agriculture & Beverage Division of MN Cup. Hear what he has to say about MN Cup and his advice for potential entrants.

Tell us about yourself – who are you, what do you do?
I am the COO of SixSpeed brand experience agency in Minneapolis.  We work for fast-paced brands doing high impact creative and event work.  In my job, I wear many hats -- from operations to finance to HR to client work.

What is your favorite part about being involved with MN Cup?
I love seeing all the great business ideas.  They are in various stages and at different levels of complexity.  It is fun to see how the companies view their market, their abilities, and how they think they can win.  As a judge, I learn a lot by seeing how the companies create their business plans and how they have researched their markets.  Also by participating in the discussion and analysis with the other judges, I can gain from their expertise too!

What can startup companies gain from entering the competition?
The knowledge from the mentors, judges, and supporters is invaluable.  It is a huge benefit to have such great help from the MN Cup team during any phase of a company's growth.

What are the three most important components of a great business plan?
That's a tough question!  I'd have to say that first, you have to have an idea that combined with your team's capabilities is truly executable. 

Second, you need to have some industry or market expertise -- the spark or insight has to come from an expert's view of the proposed opportunity. 

Third, and maybe the most important is the team.  You need to have a tough and diverse group with complementary skill sets.  Most times, your business plan takes multiple iterations before you actually succeed.  The strength of your team and its stamina are huge determining factors.

What advice do you have for companies entering the 2015 MN Cup?
Do it!  Whatever phase you are in with your startup or existing business, give it a try.  It will be a very rewarding experience.