What I’ve Learned from Winning Startup Weekend – Henk Beijert

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There has never been a better time to start a business… While knowledge, ideas and inspiration have never been this accessible, the biggest barrier for starting a business has become something else: you.

Startup Weekend changed the way I think

When I look at the way I make decisions, the way I approach challenges these days, I can connect them to some of the valuable experiences I had during Startup Weekend. Startup Weekend planted valuable seeds. It influenced the way I think, work and do business now: going for it.

Gaining startup knowledge

I’ve read a lot about startups, entrepreneurship and technology and I’m still deeply fascinated by these themes. When you’re an aspiring startup entrepreneur, the internet is a great source of knowledge. You can learn from the many founders that have shared their inspiring journeys.

Startup knowledge is useless

However, knowledge gives us a false feeling of comfort. Knowledge is useless, unless you can make it relevant to your own situation by experience. Therefore, challenge yourself! This creates real valuable to you. Create your own inspiring journey! Build a team, then feel the pain of “breaking up” with your team. Work long hours on your product and then ditching 80% again of what you’ve done. Maybe start over, but always: go for it.

Starting a company in 54 hours is hard

Don’t get discouraged, Startup Weekend will be great fun!!! But you will have some really tough moments as well. We had discussions on our team, about different ideas and visions, a huge lack of sleep and we made continuous changes in the business model. When we thought we had a solid plan, there were these mentors that gave us a hard time… Don’t get me wrong, these people were great, I really appreciate them. But I hated some of their feedback at the time… Now I see these moments as my most valuable experiences. They still resonate today.

What to do after Startup Weekend?

My team and I won Startup Weekend 2014. But more important: I learned to make a choice: to go for it, 100%. Not as a side project but to give it all I’ve got. Creating my own inspiring startup journey with valuable experiences every day.
No matter what ideas you may have, remember that the biggest barrier is not your lack of knowledge but missing out on the valuable experience by not going for it. So stop reading and start doing. Go for it! Give it all you’ve got!

Written by Henk BeijertFounder of GreenBricks








Teamily brings team power to Startup Weekend Utrecht

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Did you know that 50% of teams are struggling with unclear roles?

During Startup Weekend Utrecht teams are not only put under PRESSURE to set up a startup in 54 hours. They also have to set up an awesome team and get along during the weekend: challenges guaranteed!

Raimo, CEO at Teamily knows how to make teams work together. During Startup Weekend Utrecht you get to know his newest and latest tool TEAM DRIVER SNAPSHOTS. It is the quickest and simplest way to get crucial insights on team roles.

TEAMDRIVER SNAPSHOTS gives team’s breakthrough insights on their strengths and weaknesses. Let the team answer some questions and get immediately an interactive and online representation of the team’s current state.

Take a SNAPSHOT now!

A SNAPSHOT will give you instant:

  • Insight in your preferred roles in projects
  • Mapping of all team members and their preferred project challenge
  • Clarity on where your team needs re-enforcement
  • A score on your team’s current sentiment

About TEAMDRIVER:

Teamily’s TEAMDRIVER is a fresh new way to work better in teams together, increasing team performance. It gets the right person to drive the right challenge in your projects. We call these persons drivers. TEAMDRIVER gives teams the tools to safely hand-over projects to their team members. This way you always have the best person at the wheel at every stage of your project.

Learn more about TEAMDRIVER here.

Learn more about Startup Weekend Utrecht here.

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Written by Cindy Spelt, Lead Organizer at Startup Weekend Utrecht 2016

 








From a Startup Weekend Mentor to an Organizer

In 2015, I had my first experience with Startup Weekend and it was remarkable. I was invited to be one of the mentors at the Startup Weekend Space held in Gdansk, Poland. At the event, I was inspired by many great ideas, met a lot interesting people and had a lot of fun. The Startup Weekend encouraged people to work on and pitch their ideas, have ideas validated and the ability to meet like-minded people. It was a great platform for people with innovative ideas to kick start their entrepreneurial journey.

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So, when I noticed that Startup Weekend Utrecht was to be organized in November 2016, I didn’t hesitate to contact one of the lead organizers, Cindy Spelt, and asked her if I could join the team. With my background organizing similiar events like hackathons for my work, I was sure I could bring value to the team. I was really excited to meet new people who I can learn from and to share my experiences with.

From the moment I started, I can say that I am part of a great team. Our pre-event was a blast, we have great mentors and judges on board, we arranged social activities and I learned a lot. With such pleasant experiences, you can imagine how much I am looking forward to the main event in November.

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If people ask me why they should join the Startup Weekend, I would answer them with the same reason why I want to be involved:

“Startup Weekend is the place to meet open, friendly and enthusiastic people who want to share their experiences and are eager to learn from each other.”

The Startup Weekend offers a great opportunity to share and validate your ideas, and to support other ideas. It is the golden opportunity to meet your future co-founder, to be supported by mentors and to receive feedback from judges – all in just 54 hours.

“Startup Weekend lasts way longer than a weekend.”

Oh and another good reason to join is that a Startup Weekend lasts longer than just a weekend. I still have contact with people I met at the Startup Weekend Space in Poland. We stay in touch to share knowledge and visit other events together.

So don’t hesitate join, it is a great and lasting experience. Meet people, have fun & innovate. Hope to see you there!

Martijn Leinweber, Organizer at Startup Weekend Utrecht 2016








Being a refugee is NOT a job title!

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I know from experience that working in and moving to another country can be an hassle. In the beginning it all sounds adventurous and exciting. Lots of new impressions, meeting new people and making friends and lots of exciting information to process…. After some time you start looking around and asking yourself ‘how can I fit in?‘ The most challenging part starts when you want to become ‘one of them’. Learning the language, fitting in the (administrative) system and making a living…

We all want to live up to our full potential. Learning a language requires time, getting used to new manners and a culture also. This is ok. This is part of the deal. What is NOT ok is putting someone at a DISADVANTAGE: calling a person who travelled great distances to find a better life ‘a refugee’. This is not of any help.

The title ‘refugee’ is political and puts you in a BOX. We do not put people in boxes, we work together instead, no matter your background or life story. My suggestion is to start using the term: PROFESSIONALS WTH AN INTERNATIONAL BACKGROUND instead. Imagine the level of creativity, perseverance, humanity and authenticity they can bring in!

To make a DIFFERENCE we invite companies to SPONSOR tickets for Startup Weekend Utrecht. We believe that by getting to know the DUTCH entrepreneurial ECOSYSTEM people have an easier entrance by finding their way in making a living in the Netherlands.

Do you like to help us? Please DONATE tickets!

  • 5 tickets : € 450
  • we will select the people to join the event (designers, programmers, business people)
  • date of the event: 11-12-13 November, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
  • sponsorship: before 30th October 2016

For more information, please call me at +31 (6)1465 1424. We will take it from there. Thank you!

Written by Cindy Spelt – Lead Organizer  at Startup Weekend Utrecht

www.swutrecht.com








Why Do Startup Weekend Logos All Look Different?

Why do Startup Weekend logos all look different but somehow similar?

As of July 2016, Startup Weekend has reached 150 countries with over 1,000 organizers around the world. Yet, if you look at their logos, they all look different, while some elements seem to be preserved. What exactly are different and what are the same?

According to the official brand guidelines from Startup Weekend, every Startup Weekend organizer is allowed freedom to be creative with its logo as long as 2 key elements stay intact: the Beaker image and the text “Powered by Google for Entrepreneurs”. This flexibility allows organizers to differentiate themselves with unique logos, while strengthening the global brand of Startup Weekend.

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So What is the Story Behind Startup Weekend Utrecht 2016 Logo?

Key Image 1: The Palm

Our logo designer, Madelein Ovens, did encounter difficulties as there are already all kinds of variations made. Yet with her involvement in previous Startup Weekend Utrecht events, she experienced a strong sense of collaboration among the participants, mentors, judges and organizing team. This is the key message she wants the logo to convey.

To visualize the abstract concept of collaboration, she used the shape of a palm in the background. The “fingers” of the palm are 5 iconic buildings of Utrecht, which are Dom Tower, St Catherine’s Cathedral, Water Tower Utrecht, Province Utrecht Building and of course, a Dutch Windmill. The Province building was particularly chosen (instead of the City Hall) as the thumb for its most important symbolic meaning: Startup Weekend Utrecht is going beyond the city level to a wider province level.

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Key Image 2: The Beaker

With the palm in place, she put the beaker in the middle. The 3 circles at the side of the beaker not only resemble an ecosystem, but also to represent 3 key activities participants do during the event – Meet People, Have Fun, Innovate.

Miffy (Nijntje in dutch), the famous cute white female rabbit in children’s books, is undoubtedly the perfect representation of the citizens in Utrecht, as she was created by a dutch artist Dick Bruna, who was born in Utrecht. As the heart of the ecosystem, the Miffies situate right inside the beaker.

Every year our logo will be different. Do you have great ideas for our upcoming logos? You are more than welcome to let us know by emailing to utrecht@startupweekend.org or just come check out our upcoming events at www.swutrecht.com!