Startup Weekends are 54hour events designed to provide superior experiential education for technical and nontechnical entrepreneurs. The weekend events are centered on action, innovation, and education. Beginning with Friday night pitches and continuing through testing, business model development, and basic prototype creation, Startup Weekends culminate in Sunday night demos to a panel of potential investors and local entrepreneurs. Participants are challenged with building functional startups during the event and are able to collaborate with likeminded individuals outside of their daily networks.
Who you’ll meet at Startup Weekend:
Startup Weekends attendees’ backgrounds are roughly
● 50% technical (developers, coders, designers)
● 50% business (marketing, finance, law).
Why people come to Startup Weekend:
29% of Startup Weekend participants attend an event to network,
20% attend to develop/build a product
13% attend to learn how to create a new venture.
After the conference is over, roughly 80% of attendees plan on continuing to work on their
startup after the weekend.
What you’ll get out of the event:
1. Education: Startup Weekends are all about learning by doing, whether you’re learning a new skill or a new way of thinking. Don’t just listen to theory, build your own strategy and test it as you go.
2. CoFounder Dating: The people who come to Startup Weekend are serious about learning how to build and launch startups. Create relationships that last long past the weekend.
3. Have fun: During the weekend working alongside awesome people who share your ideas. Startup Weekend is meant to be fun and entertaining so enjoy it.
4. Solve local problems with your ideas. Do you think that one of your idea can change your town or have a positive impact in your group of people? Bring your idea notebook with you and start making a positive change in your local community.
5. Build Your Network: Startup Weekend works hard to recruit high quality, driven entrepreneurs like you!
6. Learn New Skills: With a whole weekend dedicated to letting your creative juices flow, Startup Weekends are perfect opportunities to work on a new platform, learn a new programming language, or give marketing a try. With nothing to lose there’s no reason not to step outside your comfort zone.
7. Learn How to Launch a Business (and Actually Do It!): Startup Weekend is the epitome of Lean Startup Methodology.
8. Mentorship: Local tech and startup leaders participate in Startup Weekends and give feedback to participants. Interact with the movers and shakers in your community.
9. Get Access to Valuable Startup Resources: By participating in Startup Weekend you are given instant access to great products and tools. No one leaves Startup Weekend empty handed! Click here to learn more about some of the offers our Global Sponsors provide during the event.
10. Save Money: Startup Weekends are affordable (typically $99, only $50 for students). Your ticket includes seven meals, snacks, and all the coffee you can drink.
Join our community!
We’re a nonprofit on a mission! Startup Weekend has hosted events in countries all over the world. Join us!
Having done Startup Weekend twice, and even leading a team once, I’m not going to lie – it’s an intense weekend. There’s a lot you can do, a lot of unknowns from hour to hour, and the prizes you could win can make for a lot of additional pressure. I’ve seen people just give up because they couldn’t handle it.
But it’s not actually that hard to handle. You can even get some sleep in the process! In order to do that, you just have to know what you’re getting yourself into. And you need to know what you’re really getting yourself into. No sugar-coating. With two weeks until the big day (okay, days) it’s time to get a bit real.
First things first – if you have the chance, go to the boot camp on Saturday. My experience doing it was simultaneously awkward and educational – and it helped me refine my Friday pitch well enough to get a team together. When I came back in the spring, I skipped it. I’d already been to it once, I should remember everything, right? Nope.
Let’s say you get there on Friday, you pitch, and hooray! You’ve got a team together. Great! Don’t get attached. You’re going to learn a lot, very quickly. Among the things you will learn – your idea needs to change to best meet the market. Or, maybe it’s going to look different from how you imagined because of the time limit. Something is going to happen, like it happens to every business. The best leaders are flexible.
Speaking of flexibility – even if you aren’t leading, you’d better be flexible. Do what you don’t do. Startup Weekend has categories for different skills, but on the ground, they don’t matter. I’ve always signed up as a Developer, but I’ve gone on sales meetings and designed logos. You get so much more pushing out of your comfort zone. It’s hard, but if you do it, your experience (and your team’s) will be much better.
So, hooray! You’ve made it through the weekend, it’s Sunday pitch time! Don’t get your hopes up. Startup Weekend is a competition, so of course many teams won’t walk away with prizes. The prizes are sweet, but they aren’t the point. The point is learning and developing new skills, getting prizes are just a nice bonus. And if your goal is to keep your idea going after the weekend, it doesn’t matter if the judges pick you or not – companies have run for years after “losing” Startup Weekend.
All of which is to say: don’t get discouraged. The first rule of startups is persistence. If your pitch doesn’t get a team, that’s no reason to give up on it. If you find yourself or your team struggling to make progress, shift gears for a little while. Success comes from constantly doing. You can’t build a company without building; you can’t win Startup Weekend if you don’t participate.
(Oh, also: don’t eat all the food you get. You will go into a food coma.)