13 November 2007
The Birmingham Startup’s first project has garnered attention from both of Birmingham’s local newspapers. The Birmingham Business Journal ran an online story yesterday… read “Birmingham Startup taps Christian tech company” online.
Then, the Birmingham News ran the following story on the front page of this morning’s Money section…
Christian youth site sweeps startup contest
Win launches CrossconneXion.com
Tuesday, November 13, 2007CHARLES R. McCAULEY
News staff writer
CrossconneXion.com, a Christian social networking site for youth, was launched Sunday night – the winning product of “Birmingham Startup Weekend,” a two-weekend project to build an online business from start to finish.
The “online hangout for Christian youth” was an idea James Sutton, youth minister at First Church Worship Center in Tarrant, got two years ago at a Church of Christ National Youth Conference in Georgia attended by more than 700 youth.
He and wife Marie submitted the business idea for the “Birmingham Startup” project, an event organized by a group of technology professionals that includes former TechBirmingham President Curtis Palmer. CrossconneXion.com became one of three finalists chosen from nine business teams participating in the high-tech event’s first weekend, Nov. 3-5.
Palmer said CrossconneXion.com received more than 50 percent of the votes from event judges who heard formal presentations this past weekend. The event’s prize was assistance from a group of Birmingham-area technology entrepreneurs and Web site developers to create an Internet operation.
“It was two years of thinking and trying to plan it, envisioning it happening,” Sutton said. When it “finally became a reality, there was definitely a lot of excitement and joy to be able to see it up. We want to let youth know about it and hopefully change lives. That’s what it’s all about, having an online resource for them.”
Sutton’s idea for the business stemmed from workshops at the church conference, where youth “poured out their hearts … and shared their brokenness and struggles,” Sutton said.
Once the conference was over, there was no way for some of them to keep connections with new friends and mentors. “On the way home, we were kind of thinking of a way to how to make that happen,” he said.
CrossconneXion.com owners want to work with the Boy Scouts of America and other national Christian-based groups to provide mentors. The site has privacy features for members and “thorough background checks” will be done on mentors. All interactions will be online, he said.
The site is still in development, Sutton said. Plans are for an entertainment component and a monthly feature on overachievers in sports, ministry, business and other areas.
Palmer said CrossconneXion was chosen because it had a high chance of success and the Suttons made the most convincing business proposition.
“There were some people with some great ideas,” Sutton said. “The difference was we took all the criticisms and implemented them into our plan.”