Community Building: More is Better—Or Is It?

By Chris Heivly, Entrepreneur in Residence at Techstars

There are many aspects of life where more is better, and as such there are many times we employ strategies to maximize the more. A few examples that many of us live by are:

  • Money
  • Customers
  • Employees
  • Priceless Art
  • Profound experiences
  • Time with loved ones
  • Goals in ice hockey (ok, maybe just me)

In terms of startup community building, there are a plethora of activities that local leaders utilize to create lift. (For clarity, I am using the word “activities” in a very broad sense.) These may include:

  • Hackathons
  • Coffee meetups (1 Million Cups)
  • Grant programs
  • Pitch competitions
  • Learn to code academies
  • Accelerators
  • Networking socials
  • Startup weekends
  • Recruitment events
  • Venture funds
  • Community blogs

The list literally goes on and on. Developing communities are first challenged to convene the various actors across the ecosystem. This has an immediate positive impact as the tribe begins to organize. Participate in this over a few months and some momentum begins to build.

As a community matures, activities naturally increase as newly motivated leaders step up and attempt to fill various voids. In many mature communities, there may be as many as two to three events every week.

I find the number, the diversity, and the cadence of these activities to be one of the critical signals as to the maturity of a community.

But beware. There is a trap that evolves in some minds that if the first handful of activities start to build some very visible momentum, then more activities would have an even larger effect. Unfortunately there is a ceiling to the number of activities and the subsequent impact.

In terms of startup community building, the more is better strategy has a very visible limit to its effectiveness. Once a critical mass of organizing these basic activities is achieved (and there are different trigger points for different communities), then the strategy should shift to building more meaningful activities.

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Looking for a great startup community building event? Find—or organize!—a Techstars Startup Weekend in your community.








Teamwork Makes the Dream Work: Interview with a Techstars Startup Weekend Winner

Last month, Techstars partnered with Levi Strauss & Co. to create a Techstars Startup Weekend exploring the Future of Retail in San Francisco where Levi Strauss is headquartered.

By bringing the fashion and tech world together, entrepreneurs explored a range of ideas from the consumer checkout experience to how retailers manage new pressure to become sustainable. Melissa Moore, one of the organizers of the event, recently sat down with the leader of the winning team from Techstars Startup Weekend Future of Retail to hear about her experience. Pam Belen, co-founder of Second Opinion, hails from a small town in the Philippines and graduated with an accounting degree. She worked as an accountant at Ernst and Young before becoming a consultant for a digital transformation agency. But she’s always had an entrepreneurial mindset.

Always an Entrepreneur

In college, Pam was inspired by meeting other students whose parents were entrepreneurs. Pam started a massage and wellness business with a classmate’s father and then a hot dog eatery when her first company failed. The hot dog business had an untimely end when Pam got scammed by a supposed landlord. She was looking for the next opportunity.

Techstars Startup Weekend

Visiting San Francisco—a.k.a. the land of entrepreneurship and innovation—Pam wanted to maximize her time and get real startup experience, so she decided to sign up for a Techstars Startup Weekend.

Every Techstars Startup Weekend follows the same pattern: participants pitch their ideas on Friday night, and then everyone volunteers to work on the most popular ideas. In just 54 hours (spread over three days), teams experience the highs, lows, fun, and pressure that make up life at a startup: learning from local mentors, finding customers, building the product, and finally presenting their brand new companies and a full-blown MVP to a panel of local startup leaders who select the Techstars Startup Weekend winner.

Pam didn’t have any ideas in mind to pitch when she arrived on Friday night. But as she was lining up, Pam thought about her own recent challenges and needs, and these provided the foundation for her pitch: when she goes out shopping, Pam often can’t decide on which outfits to buy. She’s ready to spend the money and buy clothes, but she wants a second opinion from a trusted source. Hence, the birth of Second Opinion, an app that engages micro-influencers to give real-time feedback and recommendations to customers while they’re shopping.

Success is About Team, Team, and Team

Pam credits her success at Techstars Startup Weekend to finding the right team: Maripily Alvarado, Visooda Kumar, Jeanette Jordan, and Alex Fernandez.

On Friday night, the facilitators emphasized how important it was to find the right team, but Pam didn’t realize how key the team really was until the end of the weekend—when they won first place.

“I can’t emphasize enough how well our team worked together. We each brought our individual talents to the table, and we recognized and respected each other for our different skills.” Pam says. “The high for the weekend was seeing the strengths of each team member, and working together to let each other shine.”

Pam attributes her success for recruiting such a terrific team to keeping an open mind. After everyone pitched their ideas and teams started to form, some participants came up to her and asked if she would be open to changing one or two things about the original idea she pitched. She was—and that flexibility helped her rapidly-forming team realize that this group was the right fit for them.

Challenges and Validation

To validate their product, Second Opinion took to the streets of downtown San Francisco and interviewed people on Powell Street, had them fill out surveys, and collected their emails.

They also used a key resource that’s integral to every Techstars Startup Weekend experience: mentors with tremendous startup and industry expertise. “The mentors were very helpful. They challenged our ideas,” Pam says. “They’re the domain expertise, and really helped us hone our plans: Julia Mehra [of Levi’s] was the one who tipped us off to reach influencers. Hudson Liao [of Social Marketing Science] coached us and let us know that micro-influencers have a challenging time making money.”

Not that everything went smoothly for Second Opinion: that wouldn’t be startup life. ”The low point was scrambling to hit the deadline on Sunday.” Pam says. “We were scared we wouldn’t be able to send our pitch deck in time. We pivoted on Sunday morning from focusing solely on the shopper to focusing on both the shopper and influencer.”

Quit Your Day Job

Pam quit her job the day after Techstars Startup Weekend, and four of the five original team members have committed to continue working on Second Opinion.

“Winning the new Levi’s smart jacket [first prize for the weekend] was a nice incentive. But we’re really proud that our idea got validated by industry experts, by Levi’s, and the customers,” Pam says. “We’re serious about solving this problem for customers who can’t decide when they’re shopping. We think real-time crowdsourcing is the future.”

Levi Strauss & Co., which partnered with Techstars on the Techstars Startup Weekend Future of Retail event, has reached out to schedule a meeting with Second Opinion, and the new cofounders are eager to leverage that potential partnership. Their goal is to have a product in the market in just three months.

“I’m proud of how everything came together because of teamwork,” Pam says. “There’s a saying that you attract people like you. Our team gravitated to each other because we have the same attitude and values. Ten years from now, I’ll look back to this and say: that was such a great experience.”








Life After Techstars Startup Weekend

By Margaux Joly, Techstars Customer Experience Coordinator

You’ve just finished your Techstars Startup Weekend, now it’s Monday and you’re back at work. Your backpack is still filled with post-it notes, a lean canvas template, seemingly infinite pens, and wrappers from all  the energy bars you ate last weekend to sustain yourself.

Your head is still spinning with ideas for the project you worked on from the weekend. In between your morning emails, you stand up to make a cup of coffee, and you suddenly realize that maybe you need to pivot again because the market research you did was actually pointing toward another target audience this whole time! Those people would have the purchase power to buy your product, meaning you wouldn’t need to forgo that really cool feature of the app (as you thought you might before, because it was too costly). You immediately text your Techstars Startup Weekend group the idea, they all love it, and then you realize that you’re standing up in the middle your office, completely forgetting what you were doing in the first place (you were getting coffee).

Welcome to the community! This is why we love these events so much. It takes a certain type of person to do just what you did, but the good news is at Techstars, we are those types of people and you are not alone.

Here are some tips to help you collect your thoughts and help find the next logical steps for you:

  1. Take a step back and let your mind rest

During the weekend, there is a lot going on. Your brain has just been flooded with information, criticism, and advice from the mentors and judges. You’re feeling the momentum and excitement to get started, but this can lead you to go around in circles chasing your own tail. Give yourself a couple of nights to sleep on your idea and absorb all of this feedback.

  1. Assess where you are at

If, after you’ve given it some thought, you’re still super excited to work on this, then it’s time to assess where you’re at.

Find a morning or afternoon where you can take some time by yourself, bring your favorite pens, post-it, whiteboard… and lay everything flat on the table. Where is your idea at right now? Categorize your thoughts in four ways:

  • What is your core purpose? Why are you doing this? It could be as simple as: I want to be my own boss and be in charge of the decision-making of my company. I want to create a company where parents can have a healthy work-life balance. I want to make healthcare accessible to everyone. I want to be the first company to make virtual candies… Don’t ask yourself how you are going to do this; that will come with time. If early on you can understand why you want to do this, you will always be able to hold on to that and it will guide you.
  • What makes sense? List the things you think are really strong about your idea and the things that give your stomach excited butterflies…
  • What doesn’t make sense? This can either be the things that you don’t personally understand about the idea, or the things that just don’t feel right.
  • What needs work? The ideas that have potential but have not yet been addressed.
  1. Touch base with your team

Before you come into another conversation with your team, assess what role you want to take in this project. Do you want to drive the whole thing? Do you want to focus on one area and need others to take ownership of the rest? Do you want to work with a team or would you rather do this alone?

It’s very common for a team to break up after a Techstars Startup Weekend. Sometimes it’s the whole team, sometimes it’s just one person. Whatever happens with your team, it’s okay. People come into this event with their own life story and perhaps they cannot commit to adding more work to their plate afterwards. If you have a good chat with your team, and set the right expectations, you’ll be surprised by how generous people can be with their time and how willing they are to lend a hand.

What you don’t want is to keep working on an idea, thinking you have people you can count on—when in fact you don’t.

  1. Figure out the next steps

Determine a plan of action and start building your business plan. You will constantly be revising some aspects until it is right.

Set yourself big hairy audacious goals (BHAGs), but also small achievable ones, because there is nothing more satisfying than crossing things off your list. Set different timeframes for your different goals.

Don’t be afraid to start asking yourself the hard questions: “What are your finances going to be like? What are the next legal steps you need to take to protect your idea?”

  1. Surround yourself with people who will help you

Know that you are not in this alone. It doesn’t cost anything to sit down over a coffee with someone to ask them some questions about law or money or marketing or anything else.

This is the very beginning: the moment when your startup starts. It’s exciting, scary, and absolutely wonderful. Enjoy it. And ask for lots and lots of help: no one succeeds alone.

***

Find a Techstars Startup Weekend near you, and experience the highs, lows, fun, and pressure that make up life at a startup—in 54 hours.








How To Get The Most Out Of Techstars Startup Weekend

In 2018, Techstars and Community Leaders have already run over 900 Techstars Startup Weekends in cities around the globe—and the year’s not over yet. Over 200 more events will take place during the month of November. Techstars Global Startup Weekend kicked off earlier this month and continues for one more weekend: November 16-18.

During these weekends, around 15,000 entrepreneurs worldwide challenge themselves to build a company in just 54 hours. It’s a truly awesome undertaking, and a massive thrill for everyone involved.

We asked some of our Techstars Community Team; (the people who make Techstars Startup Weekend happen) for their best advice on how to get the most out of the experience. Here’s what they said:

Lalitha WemelBe an open and active participant! Startup Weekend is an experience – so don’t sit on the sidelines during the weekend. Pitch an idea, learn a new skill, talk to as many people as possible, and step out of your comfort zone. It’ll be the best thing you do that weekend!

– Lalitha Wemel, Regional Manager Asia Pacific

Be present. Be respectful. Ask for help. Take charge of your own learning. It’s okay to make mistakes, and learn from it. Surrender yourself to immerse into one of it’s kind of entrepreneurial experience in a safe, secure, risk-free, diverse and inclusive environment.

– Anurag Maloo, Regional Manager South & Central Asia

Test the market and fail hard; over and over again if needs be. And finally, be coachable, always be coachable!

– Emily Skinstad, Operations Manager, Techstars Startup Programs

You get out what you put in. Clear your calendar, remove expectations, and immerse in the process!

– Jordan Rothenberg, Regional Manager Western U.S. & Canada

Stop pitching your idea to mentors, use their expertise and let them push where it hurts.

 – Margaux Joly, Customer Experience Coordinator

Techstars Startup Weekend is a box of entrepreneurship magic. The way you use this magic box is by talking to everyone. You’ll never find the same mix of mentors, judges, organizers and attendees in any other room so unlock the magic by talking to everyone and getting to know as many people you possibly can.

– Luis Rodriguez, Product Manager, Community @ Techstars

It’s crucial that you and your team don’t waste time on minor decisions like the startup name, logo, colors etc. Time management is one of the keys to succeeding at Techstars Startup Weekend. If it’s taking too long to make a decision, do a roman vote and move forward to the next item on your list. You will have plenty of time after the weekend to polish it.

– Jose Iglesias, EMEA Director – Startup Programs

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15,000 entrepreneurs at 200+ locations around the globe believe they can build a startup in a weekend. Come to Techstars Global Startup Weekend, November 16-18, 2018. Challenge yourself. Join us.








The Future of Retail – Join our First Ever Techstars Startup Weekend in Partnership with Levi’s®

On Friday November 2, Techstars will be kicking off the very first Techstars Startup Weekend in partnership with Levi’s® in San Francisco. Over the 54 hours, attendees will have the opportunity to work with top industry mentors to build startups in the retail and fashion space.

Whether you are a developer, business person, or just someone interested in the retail and fashion space, this event will give you the chance to work alongside the leaders in the industry and bring your idea to life.

“We want to continue to push the envelope in innovation,” said Julia Mehra of the Global Direct-To Consumer (DTC) team behind the event. “We feel the spirit of entrepreneurship is alive in the Bay Area and we want to continue to host, join, and propel conversations happening around innovation, particularly in technology and retail.”

The event kicks off Friday with opening remarks from Marc Rosen, EVP and president of DTC at Levi Strauss & Co. From there, participants will brainstorm and break off into teams to develop the best concepts.

The teams will be guided and mentored by experts from LS&Co. and Techstars, a worldwide network that gives entrepreneurs the resources and connections to succeed. The weekend culminates with teams pitching their ideas to a panel of judges that includes Rosen and Yulia Groza, LS&Co.’s VP of Ecommerce Technology, as well as executives from Pinterest and other leading Bay Area companies.

Come bring your idea to life and join us as we explore the future of retail!

To register, and learn more about the event visit the event ticketing page here. Use the promo code ‘techstars’ for 30% off your ticket.








Techstars Global Startup Weekend 2018 – Launch Your Startup with These Prizes!

This November we’re celebrating entrepreneurs and startup communities around the world with Techstars Global Startup Weekend! This global showcase of entrepreneurship will feature hundreds of Techstars Startup Weekend events around the world, from Bali to Anchorage.

A global showcase wouldn’t be complete without some prizes to help the winning teams move forward with their new startups. At Techstars we praise our worldwide network as the #1 tool to help you succeed after an event. In addition to the network support, here are the other prizes for this year’s Techstars Global Startup Weekend winners:

Regional Prizes

  • Conference Tickets (by region) (5–8 tickets)
  • Techstars Job Portal Profile Feature
    • Regional winners will be highlighted on our Job Portal website, for a lifetime! Companies will be able to see this highlight & badge of excellence when looking at candidate profiles.
  • Techstars Water Bottles & Techstars T-Shirts
  • Google for Startups Cloud Credits

Global Prizes

  • WeWork Hot desk for six months
  • Google For Startups Cloud Credits
  • ClassPass membership
    • Get an all-access membership to a global network of 10,000 fitness studios, or try their at-home workout videos! Relax after TGSW and try strength training, cycling, and more. Prize covers four $100 gift cards towards memberships.
  • Rocketbook Everlast
    • The Everlast notebook provides a classic pen and paper experience, yet is reusable and connected to the cloud. Add a drop of water and the notebook erases like magic. Prize covers four notebooks for your team.

Want to win these prizes to help launch your startup? Are you ready to be part of the biggest entrepreneurial celebration around the world? Find a Techstars Startup Weekend near you!








Community Leader Spotlight: Tatiana Yate

Tell us a little bit about yourself
I grew up in South Florida and graduated from University of Florida. I landed my first job at an Asset Management firm where I had the opportunity to work for around 3 years. While working, I started to find great interest in the startup community. That was when I become involved in meet-ups and participated in Startup Weekend NYC. I relocated to Miami early this year for family reasons, I currently work for a startup called SquadUP that is located in Santa Monica, where I work remotely.
What or who has gotten you where you are today?
My mom has been my number one supporter. She has always been there to remind me of my capabilities when I doubted myself.
How did you first learn about the LatinX startup weekend? What did you love about it?
I learned about LatinX weekend through facebook. As I was reading the event description all I was hoping was for it not to be a hackathon. As a women who comes from a non-technical background these events can be pretty intimidating. I purchased my ticket two days before the event unaware of what my weekend was going to entail.
What I most enjoyed was presenting the prototype Sunday to a panel of judges. A prototype that was consolidated in three days by a team of 4, it was an accomplishment to see our ideas come together.
Why did you decide to organize? 
A couple of months after moving to Miami I was pretty ecstatic about sharing the same experience I lived at LatinX Startup Weekend with the South-Florida ecosystem.
What does it mean for you? 
Startup Weekend was a life changing event. I don’t believe people understand the value of it,  and how fun and informing it can be.  I still talk to my team members from Startup Weekend in New York City as well as the mentors. They have provided plethora of resources and connections.
What do you find inspirational in general? 
Growing spiritually/personal and professionally are equally as important to me. Communities who have raised awareness of mental health problems are inspiring. There has been an increasing  alertness of anxiety and depression amongst our society. Shine is an example of an app that inspires me to be a better person.
I am aware committing a full weekend to an event can seem exhausting, especially a Friday after work when you are just ready for the weekend. When Sunday came around after LatinX Startup Weekend, I felt on cloud 9 from having such a productive and fulfilling weekend.
Thank you for the opportunity to share my experience.







Techstars Startup Weekend Facilitator Spotlight: Cindy Spelt

How did your journey with Techstars Startup Weekend begin?

Back in 2014 I was ready for a new adventure. The new generation, fresh from school, was active, creative and tech savvy. They inspired me with their thinking, their business ideas and knowledge. A week before the event, I saw a post on Facebook about a Startup Weekend in Utrecht (The Netherlands) and decided to buy a ticket. I was convinced that I would meet those tech savvy people there and was excited to work with them.

Half an hour before the event my best friend called me. We had a nice chat and I told her that I was tired from the week and not really motivated to go to the event. And then she said: why don’t you just go and check it out? Since it’s only 10 minutes away from your home, you can always go home in case you do not like it… And so I did. It turned out to be the BEST weekend of my life. Life changing. True story.

Why did you decide that you wanted to take the step from being an Organiser to becoming a Facilitator?

I became addicted. To the people, the atmosphere and the energies it gave me. At each event you meet amazing like-minded people. As a facilitator you enlarge your network and the opportunity to meet local people. For me being a facilitator is something natural. I love doing it, it doesn’t cost me too much energy, although after a weekend I feel satisfied, and also a bit tired. Straight back to work is sometimes a bit challenging.

What do you enjoy most about being a Facilitator?

I get attached to the people. I understand how exciting it is to pitch on Friday and how nervous people are for the Sunday evening Pitch Night. I feel for them. They worked so hard the whole weekend, and then the moment comes to bring everything to the table. I am nervous too, for them. I am always proud of what I see on Sunday evening. They all went through some learning curves and teams show true team spirit. It is beautiful to see. Startup Weekend is the place to be if you are looking for a transformational experience. And those are the BEST! I cannot get enough :-). I always want MORE.

What is your best memory of facilitating at a Techstars Startup Weekend?

I got a request from a participant to practice his Friday evening pitch with the organising team, a couple of days before the event would kick off. I was impressed by the level of ambition and humbleness of this person. Of course I accepted it and invited him to one of our team meetings. We gave him advice and his idea was chosen on Friday evening. They won the first prize on Sunday evening too. I love the level of ambition of the people coming to Startup Weekends. We have a lot fun and at the same time we are damn serious about setting up a business and creating impact. I love this combination!

Do you have any advice for those thinking of taking the plunge and applying to become Facilitators?

Just do it. It is a great experience. I learned a lot from other facilitators, like Stavros (Greece) and Dwight (Amsterdam). When I felt a bit more confident I found my own way of doing it. I am just me, myself and I. In all the surveys the feedback that I get is that participants see how natural I am by just being myself and how much I am enjoying it too. Participants are not looking for a show, they value authenticity more. In the end, all SW-peeps are part of the same family. So, you can just be yourself and enjoy the ride! So find your own uniqueness in the way you like to facilitate, and it will be great!








Common Mistakes Why You Fail To Raise Money (And What Can You Do About It)

Every two weeks one Techstars Startup Weekend event postpones or cancels due to the lack of funding. Many events in different regions face the challenge of attracting sponsorships. Here are the most common mistakes:

1) Setting A High Budget

SOLUTION: If you are planning to raise $10K, ask yourself, can you revise your plan to accomplish the same with $7K? Most of the time, organizers ask for arbitrary round numbers like $10K or $15K instead of the actual amount of money needed to achieve specific milestones.

Think about what can you cut. Work to re-budget. Spend a little bit less on marketing. Cancel your fancy T-shirt and video producing.

Be creative how you can spend the money productively. Spend time polishing your budget forecast, so that you can confidently tell sponsors why you are only looking for $7K, and why you know you can achieve high quality with less capital.

2) Not Having The Sponsorships Mentality  

SOLUTION: Put yourself in the sponsors shoes, try to understand what the company actually needs (Job To Be Done) by supporting your event. Are they looking for marketing exposure, engaging with entrepreneurs,  hiring people etc.

Raising sponsorships will take more meetings, and more time with every company, especially for first time events. Be prepared, and ask what the steps are, how long the process will take, and what to expect.

Also, be aware that many sponsors will pass, so it is essential to have of list of more companies to approach, this doesn’t mean you need to talk to every company out there. You can only get sponsorship from a qualified company— who is interested in your space and has the resources required.

Check out our Techstars Startup Weekend Sponsorship Deck

3) Relying on Cash Sponsorship Only

SOLUTION: There is a real possibility that you won’t be able to raise any sponsorship from companies or will raise a lot less than you expected

When your fundraising is not going well, it is time to pause and rethink your strategy, try to come back to sponsor with alternative options to provide in-kind sponsorship or provide the food to the event in return of sponsoring (many companies have discounts with food providers so what would cost you $3,000 can cost them $2,000) in this way you can get what you want with less money for them. Win-win.

In addition, It’s important to differentiate between partners vs. sponsors. By changing the language to partners vs. sponsors it makes them feel more connected to the success of the event. A sponsor writes a check, a partner is more likely to contribute human and financial capital

Reach out to some partners with this example in mind “We understand that you’re not in a place to be a cash sponsor, but would you be interested in offering 5 hours of your company’s services to the winning team as part of the prize package. Engaging with your law firm would really help the top team(s) continue their momentum beyond the weekend. By being  partner we’ll happily give you exposure on our website and during the event.

The important thing is to have a clear plan. What can you do with no or little capital? Come up with a plan, discuss it, get feedback, and then go back and execute on it.

4) Failed To Follow-up With Sponsors

SOLUTION: Decision-Making process will take a lot of time for the company to decide whether to sponsor or not. Therefore, if you can, find out how far in advance that company prefers to be pitched. At the very least, allow for a four to six month for the arrangements to be made.

Give the company some time to check your offer and if you didn’t hear back after a 7-10 business days, maybe you should follow-up. Most follow-ups are better than no follow-up at all but keep it short and straightforward especially if you’re on third and final follow-up. There’s a fine line between persistent and annoying. If you haven’t received a response at this point, it’s probably best to move on to another opportunity.

5) Not Setting The Right Ticket Price

SOLUTION: Selling tickets will not only support you with extra cash, but it’s also liberating. When you sell tickets, you no longer depend so much on sponsorship. Events that start selling tickets are more attractive to sponsors, it is less risky, and it is clear that organizing team is very responsible.

The key here is to set good ticket pricing, chances are, your attendees have some events to choose from—so how much do their other options cost? Check out your local listings to see what else is happening in your area around the time of your event and research past ticket prices for similar events. Put yourself in event-goers shoes, and ask how your headliner, your venue, or your host city measure up to the competition.  

6) Failing To Understand The Customers Needs

SOLUTION: Before organizing an event, you must spend more time interviewing their customers (attendees) and understand their needs to attend the event. This can help you decide on the event themes, number of attendees expected, prizes, etc.

Another thought if you already start the planning to host a pre-event bootcamp, this is will give you the opportunity to meet your customer and market your event.








El emprendimiento une las fronteras de Ecuador y Colombia como territorios generadores de oportunidades para Jóvenes

El evento binacional realizado el pasado 4, 5, y 6 de mayo en Urcuquí, Imbabura– Ecuador, es reconocido como un escenario de encuentro de dos países latinoamericanos que trabajan en torno al fortalecimiento del emprendimiento en tecnologías y comunicación y la construcción de Paz.

Los protagonistas fueron 112 emprendedores que se sumaron a la comunidad más grande de emprendimiento en el mundo, Startup Weekend, con el apoyo de 30 personas, entre ellos; facilitadores, organizadores, mentores y gracias al patrocinio de 18 aliados de los dos países, fue posible desarrollar la experiencia SW Binacional Ecuador – Colombia.

En las primeras horas, 50 ideas de negocio deslumbraron el potencial que tienen los jóvenes de estos territorios, en el transcurso de 54 horas, las ideas evolucionaron y se fortalecieron. Como resultado del trabajo de acompañamiento en las verticales de AgroTech y Travel, el día domingo se obtuvieron 17 proyectos de emprendimiento que se presentaron ante los paneles de jurados.

Los participantes sustentaron sus proyectos, mostrando iniciativas que le apuestan a fortalecer tecnológicamente al sector Agro, e iniciativas para mejorar las condiciones de la experiencia de los turistas, temas de total interés en la frontera de entre los dos países.

Se acercaban los últimos instantes del evento y dos equipos recibieron menciones de honor por su alta capacidad de resiliencia, y compromiso. Se trata de Caserito compra ya, y Travel Connected. El tercer lugar fue otorgado a: Agro Aquí, y Go Live, el segundo lugar fue para: PiñaFi y City. Es importante destacar que una persona de cada equipo recibirá la Certificación de  Comercialización y Transferencia de Tecnología, siendo como único requisito tener altos conocimientos del idioma Inglés.

Finalmente, Fernando Espinola Prieto, y Oscar I. Soto facilitadores del evento por parte de Techstars anunciaron la llegada a la meta, “ABC Travel” y “Almiplast” fueron seleccionadas como las iniciativas que tienen el mayor potencial para tener éxito en el mercado. “Almiplast” recibirán durante cuatro meses en la Empresa Pública Yachay EP, acceso a la zona de coworking y “ABC Travel” recibirán durante seis meses acceso a la zona de coworking de ParqueSoft Pasto, los dos emprendimientos recibirán un plan de acompañamiento virtual por parte de mentores de ambos países, para escalar estas iniciativas al mercado global.

Para Karla Daniela Malla Calderón, de Loja – Ecuador, integrante de “ABC Travel” puntualiza “esta experiencia fue enriquecedora para conocer más de la cultura de mi país, a su vez familiarizarse con participantes y mentores para fortalecer la idea de negocio”.

“El público objetivo de la propuesta está centrado en estudiantes, y profesores de universidades y colegios quienes a través de una plataforma web podrán organizar salidas a campo o giras de observación, afirma la integrantes, Michelle Guachamín.

En el caso de “Almiplast” Javier Alberto Morán Terán de Ecuador expresa “En Ecuador y Colombia tenemos muchas necesidades, simplemente debemos colocarnos de acuerdo y trabajar en equipo” entre tanto, Nicolás Murcia de Colombia invita a las personas de los dos países a seguir emprendiendo para sacar nuevas ideas que aporten a la sociedad.

El proyecto de Almiplast, busca aportar al medio ambiente mediante la sustitución del material no biodegradable utilizado para la realización de bolsas plásticas, por biopolímero, basado en el almidón de papa para la fabricación de micropellets, garantizando la realización de bolsas que no contaminen.

Sin duda podemos concluir que este evento es uno de los catalizadores para la creación de Startups y la educación en emprendimiento alrededor del mundo. Es momento de agradecer al talento humano que lo hizo posible y las organizaciones que se vincularon, Yachay EP, ParqueSoft Pasto Y Funda TIC.

Equipo de trabajo : Pamela Camacho, Oscar I. Soto, José Acosta, Andrés Cueva, Juan Pablo Espinosa, Gelber Morán, Edilma Rosero, Jonathan Sánchez, Eduardo Cartagena, Rosa Gonzaga, John Jaime Acosta, y Alejandra Cabrera M.

Mentores y Jueces: Andrés Váscones, Diego López, Gabriela Jácome, Evelyn Vélez, Fabián Bermeo, Francisco Cordova, Jhony Villacís, Felipe Enríquez, Juan Londoño, Kako Vera, Roberto Moya, Verónica Gómez, William Villacís, Carlos Molano, Gabriel Bermeo, Juan Adrada, Luis Suárez, y Luis Rojas.

Revive los mejores momentos a través de los hashtag #SWBinacional y #EcuadorColombia, en las redes sociales encuéntranos como: www.facebook.com/swbinacional/ y www.twitter.com/swbinacional y ampliación de la información en la página web: www.swbinacional.co.

Nos vemos en la segunda versión de Startup Weekend Binacional Ecuador – Colombia