Why Startup Weekend Biel/Bienne?

As you probably know, I’m a huge fan of Startup Weekend. Why? Because it’s simply the most efficient way to quickly start any project, test it and gather a team.

Many people:

  • complain they cannot find any co-founders. Go to Startup Weekend!
  • do not know where to start, as they’ve done this before… Go to Startup Weekend!
  • want to polish their Business Plan (!) before going to potential investors or customers… Go to Startup Weekend!
  • dream their project instead of projecting their dream. What is the value of thinking about a project for months/years but never acting? Is there no best allocation of your time / brain power? You’ve understood it by now: Go to Startup Weekend!

I’ve participated to many editions as a jury member (in Lausanne and Neuchâtel) years ago, before organising 3 of them on my own (one in 2012 in Saignelégier, in Biel/Bienne in 2015 and 2016). After a year break in Biel/Bienne, I’m back again… And this new edition is taking place in less than 10 days, on March 16th.

Startup Weekend in Biel/Bienne is quite different from the other SW events across Switzerland: we limit participation to 5o people, we have participants from 20 to 60 years old, higher proportion of people coming from the industry (whatever the industry) and we do a 3 languages event (Biel/Bienne is the biggest bilingual – German and French – city in Switzerland, to which we add English).

For those who are new here, let me summarise what Startup Weekend is:

48 hours to launch a startup ! Startup Weekend is a hands-on event, where people learn by doing.

I’ve written a small explanation about how it works (below) and here is also a video:

Startup Weekend 2018 - Promotion video

How does it work ?

Startup weekend starts on Friday evening with a pitching session: every participant has the opportunity to present a startup idea in 60 seconds (not more, no slides)!

All the participants receive virtual dollars to invest in 3 projects. After the pitching session, the entrepreneurs do their best to convince people to invest in their project (if you’ve never raised money for a project, you’ll learn that you have to fight and be creative, from the beginning!). The 8-10 most funded projects will then be selected, and the project managers / entrepreneurs now have to recruit and motivate a team to work on the project during the weekend.

All over the weekend, participants work on the project, get time to network, learn from entrepreneurs sharing their experience, and are constantly supported and challenged by experimented coaches and entrepreneurs. The goal is to accelerate the development of the startup and to mobilise each people’s energy toward a common goal.

The last hours of the weekend are mostly invested in preparing the presentation to the jury. In less than 50 hours, the ideas are transformed into projects.

Who can attend?

Startup Weekend is open to ANYONE interested by launching a project. It can be a startup, a new business or service, or even launching a new association. There is a focus on entrepreneurship and innovation, but anyone can learn very solid skills in “how to start”. Participants of startup weekend vary from  students to top managers, from consultants to housewives or even retired professionals. There is often a focus on web and mobile projects, but it can be really any kind of project.

SW gathers energetic and passionate people, independently from their age, experience or skills.

Startup Weekend is a unique way to bring together people from various horizons with complementary skills and is emulating and boosting creativity, as well fostering synergies and long-term relationships. The weekend is an amazing manner to test its ideas without any risk and have a condensed overview of what the startup journey could look like!

And after Startup Weekend?

Participants are encouraged to participate to the startup & innovation events happening across Switzerland. Many previous participants started their project at Startup Weekend before applying to support initiatives, prizes or attending training workshops to complete their skills.

Around 30% of projects are still alive 6 months after the Startup Weekend and 90% of the participants keep in touch, therefore fostering and developing the startup culture.

Customize and DownloadREGISTER to Startup Weekend Biel/Bienne


Startup Weekend, c’est quoi?

Un événement non-conventionnel, ouvert à toute personne disposant d’une idée d’affaire ou simplement désireuse d’amener ses compétences et son expérience à un projet, offrant le challenge de créer sa propre startup en 54h!

Tout commence le vendredi soir: chaque participant dispose de 60 secondes maximum pour présenter une idée (aucune obligation de présenter une idée toutefois). Tous les participants pourront ensuite investir dans les 3 projets qui leur plaisent le plus, au moyen de chèques virtuels reçus auparavant. Les projets les plus populaires (= les plus « financés »). Les porteurs de projets non retenus rejoindront une des autres équipes. De vendredi à dimanche, les équipes développeront leur modèle d’affaire, testeront le marché en allant à la rencontre de potentiels futurs clients et seront soutenus et « challengés » par une équipe des coaches. La présentation devant le jury du dimanche après-midi (ouverte au public) constitue le moment phare du weekend.

La diversité créé l’innovation

Quand on élabore une idée d’affaire tout seul enfermé dans sa chambre, souvent le succès reste limité. Un Startup Weekend représente une excellente opportunité de rencontre entre esprits créatifs dotés d’expériences et compétences diverses. Lorsque le programmeur rencontre l’étudiant, le graphiste rencontre le technicien, des visions se transforment en idées concrètes. Dans une ambiance détendue mais néanmoins très studieuse, Startup Weekend représente un savant mélange entre travail intense, plaisir et échanges.

Un événement global

Le Startup Weekend est un format d’événement célèbre dans le monde entier. Il n’est pas rare qu’une entreprise démarrée lors d’un Startup Weekend soit couronnée de succès par la suite, bien que l’apprentissage, l’échange et le divertissement soient au premier plan.

« Startup Weekend, c’est une formidable opportunité tester son idée et d’apprendre par où commencer. C’est un weekend qui représente un condensé de la vie des 6 premiers mois d’une startup – en moins risqué ! »

Sébastien Flury, Entrepreneur & Organisateur

Le réseau, un élément essentiel

Que reste-t-il aux participants après le Startup Weekend? Généralement, c’est au moins le réseau, créé par l’interaction avec les autres participants et les coaches et les membres du jury. Startup Weekend, c’est une opportunité unique de créer des relations d’amitié à long terme avec d’autres personnes dotées d’une volonté réaliser de nouveaux projets !

La manifestation est ouverte à toute personne intéressée par l’entrepreneuriat et se déroulera en anglais, français et allemand. Il n’y a pas besoin d’avoir une idée spécifique pour participer à Startup Weekend.

3D printing at Startup Weekend Biel/Bienne!

For the first time in Switzerland in a Startup Weekend, participants will have a FabLab (fabrication laboratory) at their disposal!

What is a FabLab? It is a small-scale workshop offering digital fabrication. Participants of Startup Weekend Biel/Bienne will be able to convert their startup idea and produce a single piece of their startup prototype: be it with a 3D printer (plastics), 3D scanner or even with a laser cutter.

Specialised staff supports you during the weekend with all its know-how.

Find a place to sleep during SW Biel/Bienne 2016

Startup Weekend Biel/Bienne will take place at Swiss Innovation Park Biel/Bienne (previously named INNOCAMPUS), located 5 min away by foot from train station.

We have the chance to have one hostel 100m away, Hotel Continental Biel/Bienne, which has very correct prices.

And we also have a youth hostel situated 300m away, which is a great and cheaper alternative: LagoLodge (which has, moreover, also a brewery alongside – probably a great place to continue “working” during the night!).