Have you ever wondered what does it take to change your ideas into a viable business? To be your own boss? What sacrifices are necessary to agree on to live a life of an entrepreneur?
Providing you with these answers is one of the key reasons why Startup Weekend keeps being organized in Malta in the first place. And second of all, there’s also “life after Startup Weekend”! like i.e. pre-acceleration and (seed funded) acceleration programs run by MITA Innovation Hub.
The concept of Startup Weekend events – taking place in +140 countries and +1000 cities every year – is in itself a tried and tested tool to build the motivational and strategic capabilities of to-be entrepreneurs. Within a weekend-long (54-hours) event, the participants are given the opportunity to simulate the pre-startup and early-stage activities of a new entrepreneurial venture, from having to identify a client base through to pitching their projects to prospect investors. The Startup Weekend event can be considered a hybrid cross-breed between a whirlwind startup acceleration program and intense entrepreneurial training. What Startup Weekend achieves for budding entrepreneurs is emulating the leap from bare ideas, through to team building, co-funding, validating, prototyping and finally launching and scaling up. The focus on small teams, building trust and engaging with mentors and potential investors becomes a mini-replication of an entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Being involved in launching all Maltese additions of Startup Weekend (since 2013) I’ve been asked many times “What’s next?” “How do you plan to keep up the momentum?” We’ve experimented with several different approaches but with this years’ opening I can finally say: We’re ready to walk you through – step-by-step – team formation, idea validation, prototyping and (seed) funding. All as one, consistent process! Thanks to collaboration with MITA Innovation HUB, Startup Weekend is in sync with its YouStartIT pre-acceleration (kicking off a few weeks after the SW event) and acceleration programmes. Have a look here to find out what’s out there you!
So no more excuses! Start planning your availability for the second week of November (10-12 March) and let’s start working together on taking your business idea to the next level!
This year’s edition of Malta Startup Weekend has been put in sync with the acceleration program, delivered by MITA. It’s a great opportunity for all Startup Weekend participants to keep up the momentum gained over this event and to carry on with the projects development. Here’s what you can expect to happen after the event:
About the call
The MITA Innovation Hub (MIH) will offer a pre-seed investment and pro bono services of €22,000 to up to FIVE startups with the best business idea based on digital technologies.
We will privilege ideas that leverage areas of strength of the Maltese economy such as Financial Services, Health & Leisure, Tourism, Maritime and Gaming as a testbed or launchpad to global markets, and preferably use emerging technologies or disruptive models such as Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things and BlockChain.
As all our previous calls for startups, rules will apply. These include:
- The need to be a tech startup at an early stage of growth or in business for less than five (5) years. Startups that have not yet formalised into a Malta-registered business undertaking will be expected to do so if selected for funding and acceleration. Startups that are already formalised as a business undertaking must not exceed a headcount of nine (9).
- Each Startup must avail itself of a team composed of a minimum of three named members with complementary technical, design and business skills of relevance to the project and the chosen thematic area. One team member will be assigned the role of a Project Coordinator having specific responsibilities as highlighted in Appendix A of the Letter of Award.
- All the Startup members must have an entrepreneurial vision, be ready to pitch their project and/or business idea at a public event as part of the selection process; and then be prepared to learn and experiment using agile and rapid prototyping approaches while constantly engaging with early adopters of their solution.
Interested candidates are encouraged to follow our pre-acceleration programme to receive guidance on how to validate their business idea and eventually pitch it to our panel of judges.
Below is a timeline of the entire programme – some dates have yet to be confirmed.
Applications open – Tue 28th March 2017
Startup-meets-mentor networking event – Tue 4th April 2017 †
Pre-acceleration & Design Thinking – Wed 5th April to Mon 8th May 2017
Applications close – Tue 9th May 2017 *
Communication of shortlisted startups – Mon 15th May 2017 *
Coaching week – Tue 16th to Fri 19th May 2017 *†
Pitch ideas to panel of judges – Sat 20th May 2017 †
Start of acceleration & project kick-off – Mon 22nd May 2017
Product launch – Thu 20th July 2017 *
Submission of Business Plan & Final Report – Thu 17th August 2017 *
Demo day – pitch to investors – Thu 24th August 2017 *
* Event date and time subject to change.
† Details about the venue will be communicated through our website.
Special sessions on the following themes are also being planned. These will be held prior to application closing date:
- Registering your startup as a business undertaking according to Maltese law
- Regulating the relationship between startup founders, and why it is important to do it early
What else you should know about the call
Startups selected for acceleration are expected to sign a Letter of Award appending terms and conditions and startup responsibilities.
A call document explaining more in detail eligibility criteria, how to apply, judging criteria, state aid rules and other details will be uploaded together with the Letter of Award in the coming weeks. As a general guideline you should not expect many changes to these documents with respect to ones used for YouStartIT #1.
Should you have any further queries you can write to us on firstname.lastname@example.org or call +356 2599 2207.
Some events on our timeline may change, so always watch out for any updates about planned activities and related venues on this webpage.
- You attend our Startup-meets-Mentor networking event to understand better what is expected from you and what are the gains and opportunities of the acceleration programme.
- You follow our pre-acceleration programme if you want your idea to gain an edge over your competition. This programme is based on Design Thinking methodology.
If you are an EU national and a non-resident you are eligible to apply as long as you register your startup as a business undertaking in Malta. If you are a third country national (i.e. non-EU, e.g. US, Russia, Ukraine, etc.) you are technically also eligible, but you should first check residency permit requirements as these could hinder your ability to comply with the programme timeline. Check our FAQs for more details.
We hope to see you all over this event. The discount coupons for ZEST will be provided upon purchasing your Startup Weekend tickets.
The job market is continuously evolving. Some skills that were in demand several years ago are today outdated. The skill that is a sure constant is that of entrepreneurialism. This is what startup weekend is all about.
The idea of Startup Weekend is simple, to pass on the basics on how to set up a successful business through action. It not only teaches the path but goes a huge leap forward and inspires creativity and ideas, turning them into concrete opportunities in under 54 hours.
But what is on offer is a lot more than learning skills and creating jobs.
Those that live in the tech world often dream about working in Silicon Valley for some up and coming start up. Thinking big, dreaming bigger, meeting people that inspire and challenge you. Start up weekend is an opportunity that develops similar experiences, exposing those that participate to the excitement of the start-up tech world.
“Startup Weekend in Malta has always received very interesting attention. We have participants all over the world and from most industries. Moreover, the weekend is filled with discussions between people of varying cultures and ambitions that over a weekend challenge themselves and each other,” comments event organiser Simon Azzopardi.“What is great about the weekend is how team members and mentors force each other to think bigger. Not in a naïve way, rather in a manner that removes thoughts self-imposed restrictions. During the weekend, delegates get support from mentors who have been down the startup road.”
Startup weekend is this year being visited by global brands including Cirtix, Amazon AWS, AOL and Seedcamp. The scope of them travelling to Malta is to support local ideas and convert them into business models over the weekend.
“This year’s event is going to be massive because not only is the format ideal for early stage ideas, but we have some of the biggest names in Malta to support these ideas become a reality,” concludes Simon Azzopardi.
Startup Weekend happens on all four corners of the world. From Tokyo to Benghazi, Silicon Valley to Santiago. But why is it such an international success? We look at the key reasons why so many attend! Simon Azzopardi talks about why so many come along to the event.
Ideas do not become real by themselves – So many of us believe that they have a killer idea that would change the world and make buckets of money or fame. How do you kick-start the process of changing the idea into something real? Startup weekend is the first place to do it. It’s a great place to pitch an idea, form a team and get cracking on it.
Improve your average of people around you – You are the average of the seven people you spend the most time with. Want to be better? Than improve those seven people! Startup Weekend is a place full of inspired and inspiring people that want to make a change or difference. It is an experience where everyone is trying to think big and make things happen, and not just talk about it.
Build your connections – Although I despise the word ‘networking’, Startup weekend is a great place to do it. But what is different about startup weekend is that you not only meet and exchange business cards, you actively help each other. So unlike conferences where small talk and quick business card exchange happens, Startup weekend is a place where you can get up close and personal with some great profiles.
Build your startup team – Startups need to start with a team. Any VC or Angel knowing what they are doing will tell you that team is the most important factor for success or failure. Finding the right team however is not easy. You need to find the best people possible, interested in risking a whole lot for a possible huge return. Startup Weekend is where you find these great people. You could meet your future co-founders!
Practice that pitch – You have great ideas but not getting traction with it? Unless you know how to pitch and get people to understand those ideas, nothing will ever happen. Like with anything, practice makes the pitch go fonder! So join us and get pitching!
Learn by doing – Starting up a business is a process. You need to know the process in order to minimize risks of starting up a business. At Startup Weekend, we teach you exactly how to do it, and give you the support and mentoring from entrepreneurs who have done it. It is as real as it gets.
Startup Weekend brings together different walks of life, from second time entrepreneurs looking to kick start an idea, to startuppers who love the experience, as well as employees who are testing the startup water! In Malta, we have had participants who were not driving yet (below 18!) as well as retiring soon! We had people fly in from all over the world for the event, and even had two Italians camp at the venue because they wanted to remain close to the action.
Startup Weekend is for everyone because it is what you make it. The promise it that you will not forget the experience and it may be the start of a new you.
Startup Weekend is a global movement that now happens in Malta. It helps to promote entrepreneurship and to teach, help, and empower entrepreneurs all around the world. Startup Weekend brings together software developers, designers, marketers, product managers and startup enthusiasts to share ideas, form teams, build products, and launch web and mobile startups. All in just 54 hours.
With over 100,000 entrepreneurs across more than 400 cities in over 100 countries and over 8190 startups having been created, the event is a resounding success, backed by The Kauffman Foundation, Google and Microsoft are sponsors.
The event is an intense experience focused on action, not talk. Startup Weekend provides an opportunity for entrepreneurs to learn what it takes to launch a company, expand their network, and learn new skills while receiving great feedback from experienced entrepreneurs.
The below are a few side effects you should expect from taking part in this event.
- You will be inspired: There is nothing like creating a business out of an idea in one weekend. This is what you experience first-hand during Startup Weekend. Afterwards, you will start taking ideas more seriously, and more importantly, you will begin to take action more often and follow through on your ideas. Startup Weekend helps you to see that the most important step to reach your dreams is the next step you take. Dreams, as well as ideas, are abundant, but they are nothing without taking that next step.
- You might have a life crisis: Yes that’s right. If you have been doubting your 9 to 5 job, or you have been stuck in the same cubicle doing busy work for years, Startup Weekend might make you go through a midlife or quarter life crisis. During the course of 54 hours you will meet and work alongside some of the most creative, bold, and unique individuals. Many of them have built their own careers and made their own path to success. That’s cool, but what is even cooler is hearing about how much they love what they do. Even if they are going through tough times, you will see and feel their energy, their passion, and their love for what they do. If you aren’t satisfied with where you are right now, this might push you towards a life crisis. But don’t worry, sometimes that is exactly what we need in order to wake up from a life of dissatisfaction.
- You might quit your job: It happens, and quite a bit. The combination of having a career crisis, a life changing experience, and being inspired beyond measure might lead you to quit your job. If that’s the case, then DO IT! Call your boss and quit right now! Just kidding, hopefully you continued reading before making that call! I recommend that you don’t make any irrational decisions over the weekend. Take a week and really think it though. Talk to entrepreneurs and startup founders, and get their opinions. However, if you feel so strong about it, this may be a sign that your current job is not right for you.
- You will make great friends: Startup Weekend is all about sharing your dreams and ideas and working hard with others to accomplish something great. There is something special about allowing yourself to think big and to openly recognize your dreams in front of others. It creates a level of susceptibility that helps people develop stronger friendships.
- You will be exposed to great mentors: The entrepreneurial road is not easy. There are tons of ups and downs and millions of variables to consider when making decisions. The learning curve is tough but the best way to get through it is with great mentors. During Startup Weekend you will be bombarded with knowledge from mentors. Throughout the weekend you will hear great advice that will help you years down the road. However, the real benefit is that you can start building relationships with people that are currently one step ahead of you in the entrepreneurial path. They have been working to accomplish their dreams and they have committed many mistakes along the way. This is your chance to learn from their mistakes and to start building a relationship with them so that they can continue to guide you even outside of startup weekend.
- No other weekend will ever be the same: The amount of work you accomplish during Startup Weekend is unbelievable. Ideally, during the course of the weekend, you will go from an idea to a prototype, racing through all the stages of developing a new company. Knowing how much can be accomplished during a weekend will most certainly impact your future weekends. Just to put it in perspective, there are 52 weekends in a year. That equals to 104 weekend days in a year. How much can you accomplish in 100 days?
Don’t let the side effects scare you away. Join Malta’s Startup Weekend and experience it for yourself!