Startup Weekend Skopje FAQ Part 1

Do you know what Startup Weekend is? Have you ever participated in one? Do you know how to successfully pitch your idea? Here are some of the questions that most of you ask themselves when it comes to this event.

That is why we would like to explain in details what are the benefits of being part of SW Skopje, throughout a series of questions and answers.

Feel free to contact us on skopje@startupweekend.org for more questions.

What kind of ideas can I pitch at the event?

On most of the events, people pitch ideas regarding web-based or mobile applications. But you can be different. You can pitch ideas about specific physical product or something that has not worked in the past for you, and now you think that is a good idea to make it happened.

Overall, everything that you think is innovative, interesting and worth becoming a business, you can present it at the Startup Weekend Skopje.

How do I pitch the idea, if I don’t have enough experience in presenting?

Well Startup Weekend is here to make that part easier for you. At the event you are going to be mentored by the best specialists in the field of entrepreneurship, marketing experts, members of startup companies that have developed their presentation skills and have experience in pitching their ideas at startup events, skilled presenters, orators and entrepreneurs who will give you the best advises on how you can develop and improve their presentation skills.

A part from the event, we are also organizing boot-camps and meet-ups in different towns in Macedonia, where you will meet our mentors and start working on your idea even before the event.

Can my idea be stolen?

Startup Weekend pitches are done in an open forum and no non-disclosures will be signed. If you are really concerned about your idea being stolen, by all means keep it private. But remember, it`s not just about the idea, but about the team behind it, that counts.








Why Surfers Make Great Entrepreneurs (And Vice Versa)

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Back in November, British surfer Ben Martin entered one of our Startup Weekends. 4 months on, his surf app, Johnny on the Spot, is just about to launch. He got in touch to tell us why the skills he’s learned in the water over the years have proved essential to launching his new business.

It’s all about the Hustle

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Surfing isn’t as mellow and laid back as those picture-perfect images of Malibu sunsets make it look. Out in the water can be a real hustle. Very often you’ve got to paddle out into a line-up of established and hostile faces and stake your claim for a right to be there. Sound familiar?

Think outside the box

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As with business, it’s very often the people who don’t follow the crowd that reap the rewards in surfing. Those people who are prepared to take a chance and go a long way out of their way to search for new spots are the pioneers. Guaranteed they’re surfing perfect waves other people have never heard of right now. And when the bandwagon finds them, they’ll find somewhere new. Always one step ahead of the game.

Surfing teaches you failure

Leap of faith

Like nothing else. (Except maybe business!) When you first start out you’re gonna try, try and try and fail, fail and fail. Cold water will rush through your sinuses. Your arms will feel like someone’s tried to rip them from your body. People will shout at you telling you to get out of their way. And yet, you can see those guys, just beyond the breakers, gliding along the face of the waves like they were raised by a pod of dolphins. Don’t let the failure hurt you. Get back on your board, stick with it, and you’ll get there. Once again – sound familiar?

Live on a shoestring

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Surfers know how to exist with very little. They can make $100 dollars last longer than most people would imagine possible. They don’t go on holidays, they go on expeditions, and they want to stay away for as long as they possibly can. Two months on a remote Indonesian island eating nothing but rice and bananas? If the waves are good it’s all worth it. Surfers make sacrifices for their passion, just like the most successful startups.

See the bigger picture

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When you’re starting a business, it’s so easy to let it become your world. Tunnel vision kicks in and you can’t think of anything except the next list of potential clients you’ve got to email or what a blogger said about you on Twitter. Here’s where surfers have an advantage. A little time spent in the ocean reminds you that there’s a much bigger world out there; that you’re just a tiny part of it. That kind of perspective can be helpful when you’re stressing about how many Facebook likes you got this week.

 

 

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Johnny on the Spot, The Surfer’s Personal Diary, will be available free in the App Store on 30/03/2014. To find out more about the app and what it does, check out their Kickstarter and please…donate!








Recruiting: Find Your Next Employee At Startup Weekend

The traditional hiring process can be long and tedious and provide only a glimpse into a potential employee’s character. Recruiting new employees from Startup Weekend provides an opportunity for employers to locate quality candidates from a self-selected pool of individuals hungry for opportunity and often willing to start from the bottom. Whether you are participating in Startup Weekend as a registrant, coach, or volunteer; you will witness your potential employee’s expert skills in action as well as see how well they work in a group and how productive they are under pressure.

Fargo, North Dakota’s 2013 Startup Weekend gave startup Simply Made Apps the shot in the arm it needed to move to the next level and they wound up hiring two of their Startup Weekend team members into the company. Brooke Allen, a securities industry proprietary trader and hedge fund manager, took his top four candidates for assistant to Startup Weekend to see how they performed under pressure, then hired the best one. Allen advises to, “go beyond thinking of Startup Weekend as a place to launch a project but also a great place to troll for employees and jobs.” Locally, GCS has found an intern as a result of Startup Weekend Missoula 2013. GCS President and Founder, Alex Philp said, “GCS is honored to be a sponsor of Startup Weekend. Based upon our experience with Startup Weekend last year we see this as a great way of identifying Missoula’s best and brightest, supporting the launch of other high tech businesses, and helping to grow Missoula’s big data community.”

By engaging with coaches and teams of varying talents and backgrounds you can compare and calculate the benefits of various potential employees all weekend. Even though many of the participants have a goal of launching their own startup, other attendees go to Startup Weekend for the networking opportunities and to help out their team wherever needed. Whether you are in the market for a talented employee or your future co-founder, you are sure to find an abundance of prospects at Startup Weekend that, in an economy that is saturated with budding startups, have the talent and ambition that will make your company the 1 in 4 to succeed.

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  1. http://www.prairiebizmag.com/event/article/id/18051/
  2. http://qz.com/173080/why-i-forced-my-staff-to-attend-startup-weekend-instead-of-watching-the-super-bowl/

Guest Post by

Alex PhilpAlex Philp

Founder and VP of Business Development, Adelos Inc.

Alex Philp, Ph.D. is the founder of various advanced technology companies in Missoula, Montana, including GCS, Adelos and, most recently, TerraEchos. Currently serving as the Founder and President of GCS, Alex launched GCS as a spinout from NASA funded research and development in advanced geospatial information technology at The University of Montana. Dr. Philp received his Masters and Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Montana, combining interests in history, geography, ecology, and geospatial IT into comprehensive examinations of historical landscapes and how and why they change over time. Prior to attending the University of Montana where Alex currently serves as a Faculty Affiliate in the Dept. of Geography and the School of Business, he worked for the Lewis and Clark National Forest and as a Park Ranger in Glacier National Park. Alex’s undergraduate degrees were in Philosophy and History from Seattle University, graduating as a life long member of the National Jesuit Honor Society with a public commitment to scholarship, loyalty, and service. In addition to his service work in recognizing and rewarding excellence in student scholarship, Alex serves as a board member at Providence Western Montana Health Care System, The University of Montana School of Business Administration Advisory Board, and as an IBM Champion, evangelizing, lecturing, and speaking about advanced technology and interdisciplinary topics. Alex and his family reside in Missoula, Montana.








Educator to Entrepreneur: Using Entrepreneurial Skills to Impact Learning

This post was written by Maggie Croushore, Founder of KidFit Academy and Co-Organizer of SWEDU San Francisco Nov 22nd.

We have an amazing organizing team filled with former teachers, entrepreneurs, startup weekend graduates, and people 100% dedicated to finding solutions to education’s most persistent challenges.

Startup Weekend Education (SWEDU) San Francisco Team

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A Life-Changing Experience

Early on in our planning conversations, my Co-Organizers and I knew that we wanted to do a special workshop just for teachers leading up to our SWEDU San Francisco on Nov 22nd.  Three out of five of us are former classroom teachers, so it made sense for us to hold an event specifically for educators to prepare them for the weekend. And for me, in particular, this idea hit close to home.

I remember when I attended my first SWEDU as a teacher last year. I was incredibly nervous, as I had never before been exposed to entrepreneurship and had no idea what to expect.  However, as I drove to the event, I gained the courage to step out of my comfort zone in a room full of complete strangers and pitch an idea that had been ruminating in my mind for some time.  And I am so glad I did! I ended up creating KidFit Academy, and I can honestly say that SWEDU changed my career path. I would not be where I am today without it. And so my Co-Organizers and I wanted to make sure other teachers get the same opportunity to play a leadership role in creating great solutions to their own problems in the classroom.

From the beginning, we knew that we not only wanted to recruit some amazing teachers for our event, but we also wanted to connect teachers to the growing education technology sector in a real and meaningful way.  After some conversation, we decided on the following overarching goals for the workshop.

  • Introduce educators to the concepts and skills needed for startup weekend
  • Begin cultivating a community of educators dedicated to entrepreneurship
  • Empower educators to use entrepreneurial skills to problem solve pressing educational issues
  • Provide a safe and supportive learning space for educators to brainstorm and practice pitching business ideas for upcoming SWEDU

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A Big Success

Through our event, we were able to accomplish several of our key goals.  First, we were able to recruit some amazing teachers for our event. After participating in our dynamic workshop, these teachers will be even more prepared for an amazing SWEDU experience. Also, by exposing teachers to the power of their voice in the education innovation movement, we were able to open the dialogue for future conversations bringing together education startups and teachers.

It is important to communicate to teachers that SWEDU is not just for those that might be thinking of joining or founding a startup. Classroom teachers do not have to leave the setting of a school, in order to make an impact in the edtech world.  I know that as a teacher, I was intimidated by these type of events; however, throughout the weekend, I quickly realized that I not only had a lot to add to the conversation, but I also was an asset to my team. Only us teachers have the experience of seeing many problems up front, on a daily basis, and that experience is a value-add to anyone interested in solving those problems.

At the end of our workshop, it was inspiring to see some attendees share their problems and proposed solutions. Just imagine! If they can come up with such great ideas in less than hour, what could they come up with over the course of a 54-hour weekend?

Replicating the Model

After a while, those of us in the startup scene sometimes forget that not everyone speaks the language of entrepreneurship and that can be incredibly intimidating. Having a teacher-centric event not only shows teachers how important they are, it acts as preparation for the weekend.  By hearing from former educators-turned-entrepreneurs and participating in a startup weekend mini-simulation, teachers walked away from the event with a better understanding of entrepreneurship, as well as a strong pitch for the weekend or beyond.  Teachers already engage in the thinking behind entrepreneurship; they just might not realize it, because they call it something different—good teaching.

I would absolutely recommend that future SWEDU Organizers implement this type of workshop prior to their event. Teachers need to be in the dialogue when it comes to education products and startups, as they always think of their students and have the ability to see things that others may not. Teachers are an essential part of the SWEDU puzzle, and the better you prepare them for the weekend ahead, the more empowered they will be to contribute their experience and skill-set to the development of solutions to some of education’s biggest problems.

Join us this weekend at SWEDU San Francisco, Nov 22-24