Every month, we do a Community Leader Highlight in Europe. For October, we had the chance to ask Maaike, from the Netherlands, about her Startup Weekend involvement. This is what she said.
I work part-time as a graphic designer at Kr8werk. Besides that I am the founder of the startups Baguru and Surprise Dinner and I organize events that are all startup (community) related.
My first Startup Weekend as a participant was in 2013 in Groningen. Wout Laban and Matthijs Menses convinced me to join that edition. I was still a student and one of my biggest fears was pitching. The next year Nick Stevens convinced me to grab the microphone, and I did! My project got enough votes and at the end of the weekend we won the second price. After this edition, I was hooked. In 2014 I participated in three Startup Weekends in Groningen and Amsterdam. Baguru and Surprise Dinner are still on their way to become real companies, I just had to find the right people to get them off the ground. And I found them!
After participating in five Startup Weekends it was time for me to join the organizing team. Last year I was the lead organizer of Startup Weekend Groningen together with David Hamoen. It was a great experience and I was able to work on my own skills and at the same time inspire and connect others. I really like the way startup weekend can make a change in the participants’ mindset.
That is also why a mini-startup weekend with kids is so valuable. It is important to show them that you don’t need to come from a wealthy family or join the highest education to become a successful entrepreneur. In the end, everyone can create their own future.
There are also smaller cities where there is no startup community yet. With Startup Weekend we can create a spark and make a real difference. Our community in the North of the Netherlands will make its next big step by introducing Startup Weekend Friesland. The challenge is to spread the Startup Weekend mentality and grow a community that spans across the several small cities in the province.
We expect that this will be a very different challenge compared to the one in Groningen, but it will be awesome!