What I’ve Learned from Winning Startup Weekend – Henk Beijert

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There has never been a better time to start a business… While knowledge, ideas and inspiration have never been this accessible, the biggest barrier for starting a business has become something else: you.

Startup Weekend changed the way I think

When I look at the way I make decisions, the way I approach challenges these days, I can connect them to some of the valuable experiences I had during Startup Weekend. Startup Weekend planted valuable seeds. It influenced the way I think, work and do business now: going for it.

Gaining startup knowledge

I’ve read a lot about startups, entrepreneurship and technology and I’m still deeply fascinated by these themes. When you’re an aspiring startup entrepreneur, the internet is a great source of knowledge. You can learn from the many founders that have shared their inspiring journeys.

Startup knowledge is useless

However, knowledge gives us a false feeling of comfort. Knowledge is useless, unless you can make it relevant to your own situation by experience. Therefore, challenge yourself! This creates real valuable to you. Create your own inspiring journey! Build a team, then feel the pain of “breaking up” with your team. Work long hours on your product and then ditching 80% again of what you’ve done. Maybe start over, but always: go for it.

Starting a company in 54 hours is hard

Don’t get discouraged, Startup Weekend will be great fun!!! But you will have some really tough moments as well. We had discussions on our team, about different ideas and visions, a huge lack of sleep and we made continuous changes in the business model. When we thought we had a solid plan, there were these mentors that gave us a hard time… Don’t get me wrong, these people were great, I really appreciate them. But I hated some of their feedback at the time… Now I see these moments as my most valuable experiences. They still resonate today.

What to do after Startup Weekend?

My team and I won Startup Weekend 2014. But more important: I learned to make a choice: to go for it, 100%. Not as a side project but to give it all I’ve got. Creating my own inspiring startup journey with valuable experiences every day.
No matter what ideas you may have, remember that the biggest barrier is not your lack of knowledge but missing out on the valuable experience by not going for it. So stop reading and start doing. Go for it! Give it all you’ve got!

Written by Henk BeijertFounder of GreenBricks




Teamily brings team power to Startup Weekend Utrecht

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Did you know that 50% of teams are struggling with unclear roles?

During Startup Weekend Utrecht teams are not only put under PRESSURE to set up a startup in 54 hours. They also have to set up an awesome team and get along during the weekend: challenges guaranteed!

Raimo, CEO at Teamily knows how to make teams work together. During Startup Weekend Utrecht you get to know his newest and latest tool TEAM DRIVER SNAPSHOTS. It is the quickest and simplest way to get crucial insights on team roles.

TEAMDRIVER SNAPSHOTS gives team’s breakthrough insights on their strengths and weaknesses. Let the team answer some questions and get immediately an interactive and online representation of the team’s current state.

Take a SNAPSHOT now!

A SNAPSHOT will give you instant:

  • Insight in your preferred roles in projects
  • Mapping of all team members and their preferred project challenge
  • Clarity on where your team needs re-enforcement
  • A score on your team’s current sentiment

About TEAMDRIVER:

Teamily’s TEAMDRIVER is a fresh new way to work better in teams together, increasing team performance. It gets the right person to drive the right challenge in your projects. We call these persons drivers. TEAMDRIVER gives teams the tools to safely hand-over projects to their team members. This way you always have the best person at the wheel at every stage of your project.

Learn more about TEAMDRIVER here.

Learn more about Startup Weekend Utrecht here.

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Written by Cindy Spelt, Lead Organizer at Startup Weekend Utrecht 2016

 




From a Startup Weekend Mentor to an Organizer

In 2015, I had my first experience with Startup Weekend and it was remarkable. I was invited to be one of the mentors at the Startup Weekend Space held in Gdansk, Poland. At the event, I was inspired by many great ideas, met a lot interesting people and had a lot of fun. The Startup Weekend encouraged people to work on and pitch their ideas, have ideas validated and the ability to meet like-minded people. It was a great platform for people with innovative ideas to kick start their entrepreneurial journey.

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So, when I noticed that Startup Weekend Utrecht was to be organized in November 2016, I didn’t hesitate to contact one of the lead organizers, Cindy Spelt, and asked her if I could join the team. With my background organizing similiar events like hackathons for my work, I was sure I could bring value to the team. I was really excited to meet new people who I can learn from and to share my experiences with.

From the moment I started, I can say that I am part of a great team. Our pre-event was a blast, we have great mentors and judges on board, we arranged social activities and I learned a lot. With such pleasant experiences, you can imagine how much I am looking forward to the main event in November.

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If people ask me why they should join the Startup Weekend, I would answer them with the same reason why I want to be involved:

“Startup Weekend is the place to meet open, friendly and enthusiastic people who want to share their experiences and are eager to learn from each other.”

The Startup Weekend offers a great opportunity to share and validate your ideas, and to support other ideas. It is the golden opportunity to meet your future co-founder, to be supported by mentors and to receive feedback from judges – all in just 54 hours.

“Startup Weekend lasts way longer than a weekend.”

Oh and another good reason to join is that a Startup Weekend lasts longer than just a weekend. I still have contact with people I met at the Startup Weekend Space in Poland. We stay in touch to share knowledge and visit other events together.

So don’t hesitate join, it is a great and lasting experience. Meet people, have fun & innovate. Hope to see you there!

Martijn Leinweber, Organizer at Startup Weekend Utrecht 2016




Being a refugee is NOT a job title!

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I know from experience that working in and moving to another country can be an hassle. In the beginning it all sounds adventurous and exciting. Lots of new impressions, meeting new people and making friends and lots of exciting information to process…. After some time you start looking around and asking yourself ‘how can I fit in?‘ The most challenging part starts when you want to become ‘one of them’. Learning the language, fitting in the (administrative) system and making a living…

We all want to live up to our full potential. Learning a language requires time, getting used to new manners and a culture also. This is ok. This is part of the deal. What is NOT ok is putting someone at a DISADVANTAGE: calling a person who travelled great distances to find a better life ‘a refugee’. This is not of any help.

The title ‘refugee’ is political and puts you in a BOX. We do not put people in boxes, we work together instead, no matter your background or life story. My suggestion is to start using the term: PROFESSIONALS WTH AN INTERNATIONAL BACKGROUND instead. Imagine the level of creativity, perseverance, humanity and authenticity they can bring in!

To make a DIFFERENCE we invite companies to SPONSOR tickets for Startup Weekend Utrecht. We believe that by getting to know the DUTCH entrepreneurial ECOSYSTEM people have an easier entrance by finding their way in making a living in the Netherlands.

Do you like to help us? Please DONATE tickets!

  • 5 tickets : € 450
  • we will select the people to join the event (designers, programmers, business people)
  • date of the event: 11-12-13 November, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
  • sponsorship: before 30th October 2016

For more information, please call me at +31 (6)1465 1424. We will take it from there. Thank you!

Written by Cindy Spelt – Lead Organizer  at Startup Weekend Utrecht

www.swutrecht.com




Why Do Startup Weekend Logos All Look Different?

Why do Startup Weekend logos all look different but somehow similar?

As of July 2016, Startup Weekend has reached 150 countries with over 1,000 organizers around the world. Yet, if you look at their logos, they all look different, while some elements seem to be preserved. What exactly are different and what are the same?

According to the official brand guidelines from Startup Weekend, every Startup Weekend organizer is allowed freedom to be creative with its logo as long as 2 key elements stay intact: the Beaker image and the text “Powered by Google for Entrepreneurs”. This flexibility allows organizers to differentiate themselves with unique logos, while strengthening the global brand of Startup Weekend.

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So What is the Story Behind Startup Weekend Utrecht 2016 Logo?

Key Image 1: The Palm

Our logo designer, Madelein Ovens, did encounter difficulties as there are already all kinds of variations made. Yet with her involvement in previous Startup Weekend Utrecht events, she experienced a strong sense of collaboration among the participants, mentors, judges and organizing team. This is the key message she wants the logo to convey.

To visualize the abstract concept of collaboration, she used the shape of a palm in the background. The “fingers” of the palm are 5 iconic buildings of Utrecht, which are Dom Tower, St Catherine’s Cathedral, Water Tower Utrecht, Province Utrecht Building and of course, a Dutch Windmill. The Province building was particularly chosen (instead of the City Hall) as the thumb for its most important symbolic meaning: Startup Weekend Utrecht is going beyond the city level to a wider province level.

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Key Image 2: The Beaker

With the palm in place, she put the beaker in the middle. The 3 circles at the side of the beaker not only resemble an ecosystem, but also to represent 3 key activities participants do during the event – Meet People, Have Fun, Innovate.

Miffy (Nijntje in dutch), the famous cute white female rabbit in children’s books, is undoubtedly the perfect representation of the citizens in Utrecht, as she was created by a dutch artist Dick Bruna, who was born in Utrecht. As the heart of the ecosystem, the Miffies situate right inside the beaker.

Every year our logo will be different. Do you have great ideas for our upcoming logos? You are more than welcome to let us know by emailing to utrecht@startupweekend.org or just come check out our upcoming events at www.swutrecht.com!




The Match Made in Heaven: Startup Weekend Amsterdam meets MakerLab

From helping companies meet their innovation sweet spot, MakerLab teamed up with SWAmsterdam to make the 2016 edition the best so far. Not only helped making the event happen by sponsoring it, but also deserved a spot in the jury to decide who the big winner of this year is.

Founded in 2011 here in Amsterdam, MakerLab was created with the ambition of making companies getting out of a slow motion pace and elevate them to bring better solutions to their customers. Their mission is two folded: not only help in the ideation by focusing on giving people the time and space to do so but also helping them turn ideas into something valuable. With a hands-on approach, they are not afraid of getting work done, working close with their clients to find the best opportunities out there.

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The innovation lab – as they call it – puts the end-user at the center of the whole process, working their way with him. They believe co-creation is key to create solutions that solve the customers’ problems and tap their needs and this is only achieved through iteration. More important than going through the process, is to learn from it. The best solutions are those that were adjusted over and over until hitting the perfect spot.

It’s because of all these features that make it the perfect match for SWAmsterdam. Even though MakerLab is focused on the corporate side, Joris van Heukelom sees it has a bridge between that side and the talents at SW. Luckily we have him on board with us to be a part of our jury panel for the pitches at the end of the event. And he does have higher expectations from this edition. Being it focused on a theme, Education, he believes that it brings participants which truly understand the current problems and how they can be solved: “they’ll spot the right angle from a business perspective and come up with something better”.

We believe the same and can’t wait for tomorrow show time!




Big ideas, inspiration and action in Education, 15 – 20 April

Big ideas, inspiration and action! Amsterdam will be buzzing with events on innovation in education from 15-20 April. TEDxAmsterdamED, Startup Weekend and Professional Rebel will combine three great events supporting and connecting new ideas in education.

Under the banner #BornToLearn TEDxAmsterdamED will conclude the week with talks from thought leaders and innovators in the education world. This will take participants on a journey of learning with a particular focus on how learning is connected from ‘the cradle to the grave’.

Before this, the events will kick off a group of professionals and decision-makers in education hopping on their bikes. They will meet some of the frontrunners of the EdTech startup scene in Amsterdam during the The Future of Education Tour on 15 April. This will start with a keynote talk at THNK and allow participants to meet various education startups throughout the day, such as Bomberbot, Konnektid & ProctorExam. They’ll learn how startups think and act while cycling from one location to the next.

Startup Weekend Amsterdam 2015

The inspirational bike tour will lead straight into a jam-packed weekend. With the motto: “No Talk, All Action” Startup Weekend helps people to take their first steps to become an entrepreneur. At a Startup Weekend event you turn a new idea into a startup in just 54 hours. For this occasion, Startup Weekend is organizing an event focused on new ideas in education. Hosted at the inspiring location of WeWork Startup Weekend Amsterdam will bring together over 80 education changemakers, developers, designers and business specialists working on new startup ideas. The teams will pitch their ideas again on Sunday evening to a jury of both education and startup experts.

Startup Weekend Amsterdam 2014

There are still plenty of opportunities for you to be part of these events and come on a week-long journey of learning. See you there?!

Startup Weekend EDU: Friday 15-17 April 2016
The Future of Education Tour: Friday 15 April 2016
TEDx AmsterdamED: Wednesday 20 April 2016




Catching up with KiekeBox. Winner of Startup Weekend Amsterdam 2015

We Interviewed Janneke from winning team (KiekeBox) of Startup Weekend Amsterdam 2015.See what she have to say about the event.

KiekeBox is a monthly craft, experiments and games Box for kids between the age of 4-8. Every month there is a new theme with new activities for hours of fun and crafting. All the materials needed for at least 6 activities are provided in the box. Inside the KiekeBox you can find the KiekeBox magazine with all the step by step illustrations that kids need to follow. The goal is to educate kids around different themes such as Space, Penguins and Igloos and Safari. Kids will explore the world through hands-on play and activities. Ideal for busy parents that like to do fun activities with their kids, but do not have the time and lack creativity to come up with something different every week.

How did startup weekend help you making your idea into a product?

I got a lot of feedback, tips, more ideas and I realised that i had to focus on getting something to the market fast to test whether people will buy. Start with the basic, if it works you can always add features.

Kiekebox is an educational startup, What are your thoughts about a Startup Weekend Education being organized in Amsterdam?

I think it is nice, although there is a lot of focus on moving to digital/tech education startups. Off course I try to focus more on that kids do not turn to the iPad and digital activities, but to explore the world through hands-on play. I think there is a lot to gain/innovate in education, that there is a lot that can be improved, I have also another idea that I think would be really nice to test during this weekend, however it has been too busy to be able to do that now.

How did mentors help you during Startup Weekend?

They challenged me to really go out and test, not to be shy but to really do it. To be honest to yourself and to sometimes help with the balance within the team.

What advise you do have for upcoming Startup Weekend attendees?

I think it is very different going as an attendee or joining with “your”
idea. But in general, listen to each other. When you join an idea that you find interesting also really listen to what has been done already, off course challenge but try to focus on 1 idea and really test it through the weekend to get a clear understanding of the idea is promising or really needs to change drastically. As a “owner” of the idea less is more, you don’t need a huge team, you need the right people in your team. Try to be a bit selective in the beginning, you will profit from it the rest of the weekend.

 

Join us for Startup Weekend EDU Amsterdam 2016

Buy tickets to out next event here.




Hello Amsterdam, Are you ready for Startup Weekend Education?

After 7 straight years of Startup Weekend Amsterdam we are proud to bring an exciting themed event: Startup Weekend Education Amsterdam for our enthusiast community where educators, designers, developers, and marketeers will get together to pitch ideas in order to innovate the way we educate ourselves, form teams and launch startups in just 54 hours. Guided by experienced mentors you can take a peek into what it’s like be an entrepreneur and launch a startup.

No idea, no problem!

Startup Weekend is for everybody who wants to join. Even if you don’t have a startup idea or any prior experience you can still join, learn, have fun and start building a business together.

The weekend promises to be a unique high energy startup experience.

 

Why Education?

Over the last 5 years the education industry has had a huge wake up call. We realised that the way we educate ourselves and our next generation need to rapidly change. We want to bring together new innovators with new ideas, technologies and business models to bring our education a step further.

Whether you found a company, find a cofounder, meet someone new, or learn a skill far outside your usual 9-to-5, everyone is guaranteed to leave the event better prepared to navigate the chaotic but fun world of startups.

Click here to view the embedded video.

How do I signup? Get your ticket: here (be quick, there are a few early birds)

More info? Take look at the Startup Weekend website

See you the 15th of April!!




Meet Ewoud Goorts: our mentor @SWUtrecht 2015

On Saturday morning, people got a bit scared when this guy approached them with his

Ewoud hiding behind JP from SWUtrecht
Ewoud hiding behind JP from SWUtrecht

loud voice and solid posture. But once he started sharing his passion and expertise for startups, all SWUtrecht attendees just simply melted down and didn’t want to share him with other teams.

Peeps, meet Ewoud Goorts, our long-time mentor at SWUtrecht specialized in platforms and product management. Currently, he is the Founder and Head of Operations at FlorAcces, an online vertical marketplace for the horticulture industry, founded in 2010.

In order to get into Ewoud’s shoes, we hunted Ewoud for a beer to chat about his triumphs and failures, and the importance of having a great team all year round. Check our full video interview and find some excerpts about Ewoud’s personality below.

Ewoud, you are very adorable, but could please tell us who is your secret role model?

I think that everybody you meet has something you can learn from, if you’re open to it.

Short and sweet! Then maybe you have a book that people should definitely read to be always up to date in terms of startups?

I have two actually on my hitlist: Platform Scale by Sangeet Paul Choudary and Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson. 

How does a successful startup founder look like?

He is persevere, able to share, and had an open mindset.

What is the most impressive startup you’ve seen/heard of so far?

37signals. They eat bootstrapping for breakfast.

Why did you personally launch a startup?

In order to make a dent in the universe: permanently change an extremely traditional and immense industry.

Can you describe how your Sunday looks like?

Going out for a hike and/or drinks with friends till late talking about life, travels and entrepreneurship.  

Before heading to another team, Ewoud shouts out loud:

“SW is about doing and making your dreams come true by making your hands filthy and showing the world it can be done!”

 

 

 




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