Having a Techstars-certified Facilitator at your event is one of the rules of organizing a Techstars Startup Weekend. 

What is the role of a Startup Weekend Facilitator?

A facilitator is a member of the Techstars Startup Weekend community who has organized at least two Startup Weekends. Many continue to organize Startup Weekends even after they become a facilitator. They are considered resident Startup Weekend experts and are there to support your team, help everything go smoothly during your event, and make sure that all attendees have a rich, positive experience. 

Facilitator responsibilities during the event include:

  • Emceeing the event and managing key event processes like pitches, voting, icebreaker games and team-formation

  • Skillfully managing the tone, flow, feel, and logistics of the weekend 

  • Educating participants on the key principles entrepreneurship

  • Helping the organizing team to stay on schedule

  • Educating participants on the methodology and impact of Techstars Startup Weekend

  • Ensuring that Organizing teams maintain the Techstars standard of excellence across the world

  • Representing global and local sponsors

  • Helping the organizing team coordinate the speaker, judges, mentors and sponsors.

Being paired with a facilitator

We aim to pair a facilitator to an event two months prior to the event. There is no action required from the organizing team to be paired with a facilitator. Techstars will introduce you to your facilitator as soon as you have been paired.

For online events, you may be assigned with more than one facilitator, due to the virtual format’s time intensive requirements of facilitators. Being assigned more than one facilitator will be especially relevant if:

  • The event is expecting more than 60 participants

  • This is your first time organizing an online event.

There are several factors we consider when pairing a facilitator to a Startup Weekend: 

  • The facilitator’s availability

  • Their proximity to the event city

  • The language that will be spoken at the event

  • The facilitator’s experience in the vertical, if the weekend is vertical-focused

  • The experience of the facilitator and the organizing team. 

If it’s your first time organizing an event, we might consider pairing you with a more experienced facilitator.

How to work with your facilitator

Facilitators are there to support the success of your event, and they are definitely not there to take all the credit for the hard work that you had put into organizing the event. If there are specific things you’d like to present yourself, please communicate this to the Facilitator beforehand so you can work out a joint speaking agenda.

Once paired with a Facilitator, set up a team meeting as soon as possible to share event details. Remember to share any key cultural facts as your facilitator may not be familiar with the city's local culture.

Please note that part of your budget needs to be dedicated to the Facilitator’s travel and accommodation if needed. The sooner you discuss the cost, the better you can work that into your event budget. 

Facilitators use a Facilitator Deck for their presentation throughout the event. Techstars provides the deck template, but they will need the following information at least a week prior to the event to complete the deck:

  • Information about the venue

  • Local sponsorship information and logos

  • Information about prizes, if applicable 

  • Pictures and bios of the speaker, the organizing team, mentors and judges 

  • Information about workshops and other activities or logistical information

  • The event schedule.

For reference, please review the Facilitator Deck so that you know exactly what information the Facilitator will cover, and where you would like for the Facilitator to add additional information. 

Meet with your Facilitator at least twice before your event. We’ve found that a successful Organizer-Facilitator relationship includes over-communication of event information and leaning on them for support.

Please don’t be afraid to ask your Facilitator to be more involved or to brainstorm ideas. They appreciate feeling part of the team and want to collaborate to make the event a success for the community.

Startup Weekend Online facilitator

For more details on Startup Weekend Online facilitator see here.

Interested in Becoming a Techstars Startup Weekend Facilitator?

If you're interested in becoming a Techstars Startup Weekend Facilitator, please review the Facilitator Requirements page for more information.