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Day One – Friday: The doors opened for Startup Weekend Stavanger at 6:00pm with eager participants waiting to get inside and explore the event space at Innovation Dock. dnb image

Gift bags lined the registration desk waiting to be explored and this year, the participant gift bags were filled with even more cool things thanks to the generosity of the 2015 local sponsors, DNB, KPMG and Innovation Norway! The quirky participant weekend passes were also back with the option to draw yourself as well as write your name on the badge!

With bags and badges distributed, the participants headed straight to the dinner tables to enjoy a range of amazing burgers and spiced potato wedges from the local catering business, House of Fingerfood.

Dinner was followed by a brief welcome from this year’s event Lead Organsers, Natalie Hilton and Nina Meldahl, before passing over the microphone to event Facilitator, Dwight Gunning, to lead the way and get the participants on track for Stavanger’s 2015 Startup Weekend event.

First Guest Speaker Takes the Stage…

The first guest speaker of the night got participants in the right mind set for the weekend by challenging them to think differently about their startup business ideas with a thought provoking presentation. Alain Fassotte, Partner at the Stavanger based change management company, Tribe, inspired participants to move away from habit and automatic thinking and get used to the way that change feels, and just maybe, find a better way to do things. Who would have thought that a simple thumb experiment would make everyone sit up and listen and realise that that when we sometimes do something, we do it out of habit. This showed us all that a little bit of focus and thought is all that is needed to make a small change that could actually make you experience something familiar in a different way. It might feel “weird” but it might also be the solution you were looking for. Thumbs up to our first speaker for presenting a talk that challenged the same old thinking in business and encouraged the entrepreneur mind-set in all of us!

Time to Pitch!

With around 60 guests and participants filling up the venue space with standing room only just before the pitches, it looked set to be a great evening for everyone and the Stavanger event team were there in full force to make sure all participants and guests have a great Startup Weekend experience.

Following the guest speaker presentation, event facilitator Dwight, wasted no time to get the participants ready for the next stage of the evening – the eagerly anticipated pitches!! The audience included some sponsors and all of this year’s event mentors who came along to the pitches to get a glimpse of the ideas and show their enthusiasm for the event concept.

Of the 45 participants that registered to take part in this evening’s pitches, nearly half of them decided to pitch. There were 23 pitches that took place on the rather unusual green grass stage at Innovation Dock tonight, with ideas including a rival concept to Facebook, an online art buying business and an entertainment concept requiring it’s guests to complete challenges to escape specially designed rooms.

With pitches completed, participants and guests excitedly buzzing around the room, casting their votes. After a lively voting session, the votes were counted and 10 teams formed to go forward to the next phase. Groups quickly set up camp around the tables and started to explore the available business tools to structure their ideas, which included printed sheets of the Business Model Canvas.

With the most popular business ideas selected, the newly formed teams used their final hour to get started with exploring the potential of their freshly pitched concepts and test their team dynamics. Before closing the event venue at 11pm, the event team used the bribe of a great breakfast tomorrow sponsored by the new startup business caterer, Food for Thought, in association with Helgø Meny and Alpro, to inspire participants to get up and get started early for their day!

With a good breakfast and two amazing guest speakers to kick of the event tomorrow morning, the participants are in for another exciting day at Startup Weekend Stavanger’s 2015 event. The event team and mentors are also looking forward to seeing where tomorrow leads and what the teams do with their ideas on their startup journey that all started with a green grass stage, some courage and some interesting ideas that may have the potential to win over the judges this Sunday!

Good luck to the newly formed teams for this year’s event. See you tomorrow for breakfast, two great speakers from DNB and Future Home, and another exciting day bursting with your great startup energy and enthusiasm!

AND – If you want to connect with other participants from the Friday pitches and you forgot to exchange details, email stavanger@startupweekend.org and we can try to connect you!


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Natalie Hilton