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Meet Jernej Dekleva, Community Leader in Copenhagen, Denmark but originally from Slovenia

When did you first get involved with Startup Weekend?

I attended my first Startup Weekend in 2012. I just moved from Slovenia to Denmark and I wanted to meet people who are also interested in startups and wanted to work on new projects. I had an amazing experience and after first one, I decided to attend next one as well.
It was a coincidence that I decided to organize my first startup weekend. Startup Weekends were happening quite regular in Copenhagen at that stage. Few months before Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) Denmark in November 2014, Aleksander Bordvik and I noticed that there is no Startup Weekend scheduled in Copenhagen for Fall 2014. We saw a great opportunity for us to contribute to Copenhagen startup scene and with a big help of the previous organizer Monika Luniewska we started planning our very first Startup Weekend.

What do you do when you are not wearing your Community Leader cape?

In the last few months, I asked myself what do I really want to do and what am I good at. I want to stay close to the local startup community, providing a framework for bringing new ideas to the marketplace and create memorable experiences for first-time entrepreneurs. I co-founded Norvai – Nordic Venture and innovation, where together with corporates are bringing new startup projects, services and experiences to the market.

What is your favourite thing about the Startup Weekend community?

I love the fact that people are very open and genuinely determined to make a change through entrepreneurship. Seeing so many passionate people in one place is just mindblowing for me. We are a community with a very diverse backgrounds and each person has it’s own story of how he/she ended up in Startup Weekend community. Next time you see the past attendee, current organizer or facilitator, ask that person why is she part of the community or what motivates him to be part of the global movement. These answers are very powerful in my opinion.

What are your bold plans for the future of your community?

Together with Startup Weekend Copenhagen team, we have quite big plans for this year. We want to create biggest Startup Weekend in Copenhagen so far in Fall 2017 by a number of attendees. Also, we are keeping one on the long term strategy as well: we would like that more Startup Weekend facilitators will emerge from Startup Weekend Copenhagen “school” in the next 2 years. We are very proud to say that the current team, had welcomed 3 new facilitators to the family last year who were helping us since 2014. I am very excited to see what the future brings.

Do you have any funny stories to share from any Startup Weekend event?

In Copenhagen, we created our own “tradition” when we organize Startup Weekends. This March for a third time in a row, all the organizers and a facilitator have to pass “Winter canal jumping” test. Of course, the bravest attendees are also invited. Last year in March, we were approximately 15 startup weekend survivors who few hours before the final presentations jumped into a sea on a snowy day. Proven method to get you pumped before final pitching.  

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Maria-Christina Tsitsopoulos Maria-Christina Tsitsopoulos