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I heard about Startup Weekend back in 2012 when my friend Tina invited me to be a mentor on first Startup Weekend in Zagreb, Croatia. Before i got involved I liked the concept but was not prepared for how impactful and exciting the weekend really was To cut a long story short, I came to see the pitches on Friday and was due to come for couple of hours to mentor on Saturday, but I ended up staying for the whole 54 hours. And this is where my love for Startup Weekend started.

What struck me the most is the positive entrepreneurial energy the events capture, it’s that energy that gets you so motivated and gives you the push and persistence you need as an entrepreneur. The kind of energy that you are able to live on for the next couple of months and that inspires you not to give up and to start again if you fail.

Most of us need just that to start our own business.


The event was held in Zagreb School of Economics and Management and it was the first event of its  kind in Croatia. People that came were all really diverse. There was a good mix of different ages and backgrounds, youngest entrepreneur was 10 years old and ⅓ of the participants were women.

The idea that won the 1st prize is now a successful business. The co-founders met during Startup Weekend and took the idea forward. One of them left his successful career to start this business. The event helped not just participants but the whole tech and startup community in Zagreb. It helped built the entrepreneurial ecosystem, showed the public that investing in entrepreneurship and supporting startups was crucial and at a time when finding job is not easy provided some  business basic knowledge and an opportunity for people to build their own business.

Since my first Startup Weekend  I helped organise and was a mentor on three more Startup Weekends in Croatia and yes I stayed for the whole 54 hours for each event.   When I came to the UK I attended my first startup weekend as a participant in Sheffield. Which was also amazing experience and would recommend it to anyone.

Weather you have an idea or not, want to be an entrepreneur or you are still not sure is this the road you want to take or don’t have the confidence to start, this is a place to be.

Helena, Community and Portfolio Manager @ Dotforge

Helena Habdija