How these ‘refugee’ chefs prepared an amazing dinner at Startup Weekend Zwolle

At Startup Weekend Zwolle, we asked two chefs – refugees from Palistina/Syria – to prepare dinner at Saturday evening.

The result was amazing: a great variety of excellent food was served and all attendees enjoyed the rich meal these good guys (and their wifes) have been working on for two days!

To me, it’s no surprise these chefs want to start a new restaurant in The Netherlands – since they’ve had a restaurant in Damascus for 10 years. Maybe some people in your network can help their dream to become reality, I’m sure they will appreciate that! You can contact mr. Mohammed Salameh at +31 6 26098022.

For now, watch the pictures below:

Pictures by Hans van Eijsden Photography |

These Startup Teams go to the finals at Startup Weekend Zwolle 2017

startup weekend zwolle 2017

YES!! Startup Weekend Zwolle 2017 has been kicked off by facilitator Jen Riedel!! At friday night, 25+ attendees pitches their ideas, amazing! So after voting, 6 startup teams go to the finals at Startup Weekend Zwolle 2017.

So here are the demo teams and what they are building this weekend at Startup Weekend Zwolle November 11th 2017. Are you interested in watching theit pitches at November 12th? Get a ticket here at Eventbrite. Hope to see you there! (Only 12 tickets left!)


When you organize a party, you want your guests to hear good music. However, making a playlist takes a lot of time and you’re not sure  whether your guests like it, or don’t. Of course you can hire an DJ, but this costs you a lot of money.

To offer your guests an awasome experience, we’ve developed SONG NOTES. How this works, you’ll see at the finals of Startup Weekend Zwolle 2017!


Companies and potential employees find each other mostly via published job vacancies. Since this is an temporarily match, this is far from perfect. In this way, companies miss out certain needs that potential employees have.

Therefore, we’re building a platform – WRK AROUND – that matches companies and people who really to work at such a company. With our platform, we’ll help companies to build an relationship with potential employees that match much better than the old, traditional way. Not only will the match be much better, companies will also find new employees much faster.


People with autism have a hard time handling too much information. They have trouble reducing and ordening all information. That’s why we come in, with NEURO FILTER. Basicly, this is an virtal assisant for people with autism.

With our idea, we provide solutions in three ways:

  1. We help people with autism make choices much easier
  2. We send out a signal to help them get things done
  3. We increase many other people to be self helpful
  4. We help reduce costs in the health industry


Most companies have a hard time to get in touch with employees of the future – people we call “Youngsters” (13-22 years). With LEVEL 8, we’re building an app to fix this problem. 

Click here to visit the finals at Startup Weekend Zwolle to find out how we do that!


The eco system is in great danger, due to an enormous growing waste of plastic. We believe this is a matter of behaviour, so we come up with ECO WARE. With our idea, people will make eco friendly choices when it comes to plastic products, and both local communities and eco friendly companies will benefit from this. We’re still iterating on our solution, but we’re eager to present the best result at the finals!


Did you know that most startups fail? We believe we can change this. With GOOD GROWTH LAB, we help entrepreneurs reducing failure, especially after the “honeymoon phase” of you idea is over – and the real work entrepreneurial life begins.

GOOD GROWTH LAB provides a customized business road map with in-depth, practical information to operate their business. We also offer access to a community of mentors. In this way, we want to help more people to determine their own entrepreneurial future.

Do you want to attend the finals of Startup Weekend Zwolle?

Click here to claim your ticket (only 12 tickets left!)

CEO TradeCast Yillmaz Schoen: ‘Don’t think too small’

CEO TradeCast Yillmaz Schoen about Startup Weekend Zwolle

A few weeks ago, we interviewed serial entrepreneur Jorrit Baerends about his passion for building new businesses and why he’s startup mentor at Startup Weekend Zwolle.

As part of our series “Humans of Startup“, we also interviewed Yillmaz Schoen, CEO of TradeCast in Zwolle.

We talked about how you can be a successful entrepreneur and why he can’t wait to meet new people during Startup Weekend Zwolle:

How did you start?

Yillmaz: “I’ve always had a lot of ideas in my head: I saw things in the broadcasting and publishing industry and thought I could do it better. All those thoughts I’ve combined into one product that would genuinely intrigue people. That’s how I came up with the idea of Tradecast TV. My startup in developing cloud technology that enables people to start their own tv network, both traditional and on-demand.

Right now, we’re quite successful, but we’re striving to grow even bigger! We are a little bit stubborn and we held tight to our initial plan. Off course moving with the flow of the market, but staying close to our fundamental concept created the success. We want to change the traditional industry all from this tiny town Zwolle.”

‘Don’t think too small’

Yillmaz continues: “When it comes to meeting people, I’d love to meet people who have big ambitions. During Startup Weekend I really hope to meet a few! I like to share my knowledge with them and see if I can help them build their startup to a success. Entrepreneurship is a matter of doing: it’s a bit of a gamble, but there’s always a new experience waiting. Don’t think too small – think big! But also think scalable and consider your market potential wisely. That’s how you make it.”

Interview by Annemarijn Kruyswijk and Else Strijbos, staff of Startup Weekend Zwolle 2017

Interview: Meet Startup Weekend Zwolle facilitator Jen Riedel

At November 10th, Startup Weekend is coming to Zwolle. This is quite special, for a number of reasons. First of all, it’s the very first edition in our city. Second, this year is the 10th anniversary of Startup Weekend. And third, our facilitator Jen Riedel is from the USA!

Startup Weekend facilitators have an important role. Basicly they manage and lead local events, so attendees have a great learning experience. However, facilitators do a lot more behind the scenes!

What about our facilitator Jen Riedel?

We decided to ask her some questions to get to know her a little better:

#1 What should we know about you? 

I absolutely love working with brand new teams at the early ideation stages. In the last 5 years, I’ve worked with numerous early-stage companies to help them with conceptualizing and actualizing their business. More generally, I have experience working with Fortune 500 companies, co-working spaces, building communities from the ground up, taking a four person startup team through an acquisition, and working in design consulting. You should also know that I love using design thinking frameworks, I’m trained in leading rapid prototyping workshops, and I drink more coffee than anyone I know.

#2 What brings you to Startup Weekend Zwolle?

Truthfully, one of my incredible colleagues at Techstars spoke so highly of the Zwolle organizing team, I couldn’t resist the invitation! Secondly, I’ve never had the opportunity to facilitate in Europe and I’m thrilled to learn how you approach innovation. I am also keen to share the knowledge I’ve picked up in my 17+ Startup Weekend experiences in the US and Canada.

#3 A lot of people think about attending Startup Weekend Zwolle. Why should they join this event?

This event will no doubt transform your life. There are various and wondrous ways this can happen. A few I can think of off the top of my head are anything from finally getting over your fear of pitching your idea to a room full of people to possibly altering your career path in order to start a company with people you meet during this program. You might meet a new friend, a lifelong mentor, validate your idea, find a new job, and I guarantee you will walk away with an experience like no other.

#4 What do you like to say to the people in Zwolle Area?

If this has sparked your curiosity even slightly, come on out! This event is for you no matter what background, age, or experience level you may have. That is the beauty of Startup Weekend after all.

Interested to attend Startup Weekend Zwolle? Click here to claim your ticket

Image: Flickr/bayerberg

5 Reasons why Zwolle Area is the right place to grow your business

Ready for business in an inspiring environment? Zwolle Area offers the ideal infrastructure for growth thanks to its excellent location from a logistics perspective and strong major sectors, reinforced by a good knowledge infrastructure.

This makes Zwolle Area the place to be for innovative entrepreneurs, successful SMEs and independent professionals. As one of the Netherlands’ fastest growing and most dynamic regions, Zwolle Area offers you plenty opportunities for growth.

Why Zwolle Area is right for your business

#1 Indisputably GREAT economic region

A spearhead for the Dutch applied knowledge economy, with a strong work ethic and high labour force participation rate.

#2 First class infrastructure

Its centralised location combines with superior accessibility to connect the western and north-eastern Netherlands and act as a gateway to the rest of Europe. A perfect base from which to do business at a national and international level.

#3 Well-developed distribution industry

Plenty of attention for improved mobility and the logistics sector. Entrepreneurs collaborate and combine forces at the Logistics Expertise Centre. Together with the harbour authority Port of Zwolle, they are an active presence on the (inter)national market.

#4 Innovative entrepreneurship

Bringing out the best in ourselves, together. It’s all about Generosity, Growth and Communality. These human aspects of the entrepreneurial spirit are what make our region so successful, with an impact at the national level.

#5 Excellent education

The intermediate and higher vocational education in Zwolle Area is renowned for its quality and innovative capacity, with great relevance to the labour market. The surrounding area features a wide range of universities.

Today’s challenging business environment requires an amazing location to succeed: Zwolle Area. Some well known companies include: DSM, Wavin, Wehkamp, Abbott, Scania, IKEA, Kuehne + Nagel.

Next: Startup Weekend Zwolle 2017

Because the Zwolle Area is growing fast, it’s no surprise the city will also host Startup Weekend at November 10-12th this year. This weekend is the right event to explore ideas, network with peers, learn more about startups and build great products. Whether you are looking for feedback on a idea, a co-founder, specific skill sets, or a team to help you execute, Startup Weekend Zwolle is the perfect environment in which to test your idea and take the first steps towards launching your own startup.

Click here to visit the Startup Weekend Zwolle event page with our program, speakers, mentors, sponsors, team and staff.


Meet the Mentors of Startup Weekend Zwolle (Part 2)

At Startup Weekend Zwolle, Mentors provide actionable advice and valuable insights, help to design the experiments and guide participants in building a strong business foundation. Sharing their competence, knowledge and aspiration, Mentors will bring out the best of your team!

So we’re very pleased to have these Mentors on board at Startup Weekend Zwolle:

Rene Assies

Rene is a Principal of Blackbird. Prior to joining Blackbird, he was Managing Director of SecurityWorks, a complete security systems integrator that provides security solutions and services for the retail market throughout Europe with a specific focus on the leading EU brands like Vodafone, T-Mobile, Orange, Media Markt, Samsung, Belgacom, McGregor, McDonald’s, and many more. SecurityWorks is a division of TKH Group (, a large, publicly listed Dutch Security Conglomerate.

Prior to this role, Rene founded as a startup, SecurityWorks which quickly became the retail security solutions provider of choice throughout the BeNeLux by developing, producing and marketing unique, state of the art and patented retail security systems that allowed mobile phones, digital cameras and camcorders, and similar electronic devices to be displayed in a live yet secure way so that retailers could provide their customers with a realistic and actual ownership experience.

Eelco Bakker

Over the last 5 years he has developed several entrepreneurship programs for Universities and local governments (De Noorderlingen, TopProgramma Drenthe). Within these programs they combine aspects of lean start-up, effectuation and a coaching and expert support program. Next to these programs he supports businesses that are in need of (growth) capital, to find an informal investor or start-up a crowdfunding campaign. Over the years he has seen thousands of ideas, hundreds of start-ups and dozens of succesfull businesses. His goal is to support start-up entrepreneurs in the early stage, get them to search for the right businessmodel, but also develop their personal skillset.

Elmer Bulthuis

After leaving his last company in facility management (Measuremen), Elmer is now working on a game server solution with his new company (Gameye). Together with his girlfriend he has a company (Elmer en Denise) that help startups with their technical challenges and Elmer also has his own software company (LuvDaSun) in wich he works as a freelance developer from time to time. Elmer has a lot of experience as a CTO and thinks technology should be an integral part of a company, just like any other discipline. He’s known for his famous saying: “A problem without a solution is not a problem”.

So, What is Startup Weekend?

Startup Weekends are 54-hour events were you can share ideas, learn more about startups, expand your network, learn new skills and build great products.

Beginning with Friday night pitches and continuing through brainstorming, business plan development, and basic prototype creation, Startup Weekends culminate in Sunday night demos and presentations.

Participants create working startups during the event and are able to collaborate with like-minded individuals outside of their daily networks. All teams receive valuable feedback from mentors and experts. The weekend is centered around action, innovation, and education.

Whether you are looking for a feedback, a co-founder, specific skill sets, or a team to help you execute, Startup Weekend is the perfect environment in which to test your idea and take the first steps towards launching your own startup.

Why should you join?

Expand your professional network, take your own idea from concept to creation, join / build the team, meet experienced, talented and passionate entrepreneurs, follow the latest startups, learn and practice new skills to take back to your job, find business partners or even clients. And of course have fun!

What do you get?

  • Foods & drinks for the whole weekend
  • Inspiring work places at Hanz & Launchlab
  • Support from mentors and experts
  • Workshops from sponsors/partners
  • Branded Startup Weekend Zwolle t-shirt
  • Good’old Goodie bag
  • Great after party

How to get your ticket?

Please click here to visit our Eventbrite page and get your ticket.

Do you have a question?

Please email us at
Or get in touch via Whatsapp: +31 6 83 86 96 22

Meet the Mentors of Startup Weekend Zwolle (Part 1)

At Startup Weekend Zwolle, Mentors provide actionable advice and valuable insights, help to design the experiments and guide participants in building a strong business foundation. Sharing their competence, knowledge and aspiration, Mentors will bring out the best of your team!

So we’re very pleased to have these mentors on board at Startup Weekend Zwolle:

Sebastiaan Heijne

Signkick Co-founder Sebastiaan Heijne is a London-based Dutch entrepreneur with 15 years of e-commerce experience and a lifetime of passion for technology.

His specialties: Entrepreneurship, Sales strategy, Growth Hacking, Coding, e-commerce, Outdoor advertising

In his spare time, he currently advises & supports the Dutch government, he provides mentoring at numerous accelerators, guides some cool startups, teaches at the HULT university and is quite often a speaker to warn – sorry… inspire budding new entrepreneurs!

Arjan Yspeert

Arjan Yspeert is an Internet marketeer with a broad experience in the use of offline marketing tools as well. Travels up and down between strategy, tactical and operational activities.

Tactics and operations meaning traffic and conversion improvement for websites and apps: seo, sea, linkbuilding, affiliate, e-mailshots, social media campaigning and the likes.

Deeply interested in mentoring internet start-ups (webapps) as they ‘blow his mind’. He loves to see young, bright developers, designers and marketeers come together in an effort to improve software and take the world by storm.

Elmar Weber

Elmar is the CTO and Co-Founder of Cupenya, a company that enables companies to provide better customer support through immediate answers. He works since over 10 years with everything, tech and a focus on big data and machine learning.

Elmar attended multiple Startup Weekends and won the 2014 Startup Weekend Utrecht with the Greenbricks team and is looking forward to share his experience as a mentor this year.

In his spare time he plays golf and works on open source project to sharpen his handicap and coding skills.

20 Reasons why you should attend Startup Weekend Zwolle

You might have heard about Startup Weekend already. Or you would like to attend one, but you’re not sure if Zwolle is the place to go.

So you probably think: why ON EARTH should I attend Startup Weekend in Zwolle?

Well, we’ve been thinking about this too 🙂 That’s why we’re pleased to share 20 great reasons to attend Startup Weekend Zwolle 2017:

  1. Meet the right people: Organizers, mentors and participants at Startup Weekends are people willing to give up an entire weekend to aim for a higher purpose, sharing their ideas & know-how and collaborate with others. This is just great if you’re looking for people who can help you building a new business.
  2. Education on the go: 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. These are 21st skills, baby!
  3. Join a global community: If you attend Startup Weekend Zwolle, you will automatically join the global Startup Weekend community. You can hardly imagine how incredible valuable this will be: you’ll be able to connect with community leaders and subject matter experts all over the world. Basicly you will feel as joining an new startup family with people willing to “give first”.
  4. Access to great resources: By participating in Startup Weekend Zwolle 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.
  5. Great mentors: Local tech and startup leaders participate in Startup Weekends and give feedback to participants. Interact with the movers and shakers in your community.
  6. Be the first: This year, Startup Weekend celebrates its 10th year anniversary. Many cities have held a Startup Weekend already – but this year is the very first edition of Startup Weekend Zwolle. So, this might sound a little weird, you’ll have bragging rights if join us 🙂
  7. Kick your own ass: Are you thinking about your idea for a very long time? Startup Weekend gives you a real kick up the ass. You’ll leave Startup Weekend Zwolle buzzing with creative energy. In fact, on average 80% of attendees wants to continue with their startups after the weekend. So after 2 days you realise you can really achieve a lot if you just put your mind to it.
  8. Validate your ideas: A startup Weekend offers your various levels of validation. First up it is the attendees as a whole that choose which ideas make it through to the “finals”, so right off the bat you are getting a good poll of smart people as to whether your idea is any good or not! At Startup Weekend Cologne for example, about 30 ideas have been pitched and 12 are selected to be worked on, so right away you know whether your idea resonates with people. If your idea does make it through, then you will be pitching on the Sunday to a panel of judges, typically the judges award 1st 2nd and 3rd placings, so if you were to finish in the top 3 you’d really know you were on to something!
  9. Meet your co-founder: Most people who attend a Startup Weekend are serious about learning how to build and launch startups. So you can create relationships that last long past the weekend – and you might meet your co-founder here.
  10. 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.
  11. Solve local problems: Do you think that one of your idea can change Zwolle 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. Besides this, most local challenges also apply to other places, so keep in mind you can scale up as well.
  12. Recruit new people: Startup Weekend usually attracts highly educated (young) professionals, great designers, IT specialists such as developers and people with entrepreneurial minds. So if you’re eager to get in touch with them, Startup Weekend is the place to be.
  13. Learn new skills: Startup Weekends are perfect opportunities to work on a new platform, learn a new programming language, or give guerrilla marketing a try. With nothing to lose there’s no reason not to step outside your comfort zone.
  14. Learn how to launch a business: Startup Weekend is the epitome of Lean Startup Methodology. In just 2 days, you’ll learn the essentials about launching a new business.
  15. Try a new cider: Perhaps you already know that Startup Weekend Zwolle is sponsored by Heineken. But I guess you don’t know you can try their new cider as well.
  16. Save a lot of money: Startup Weekends are very, very affordable (about € 85 for a regular ticket). Your ticket includes seven meals, snacks, and all the coffee you can drink. Compare this to any typical business event and you know what I’m talking about. Startup Weekend gives you a lot more value for your money!
  17. Enjoy gadgets & tech stuff: At Startup Weekend Cologne, I met a Dutch entrepreneur wearing a new pair of Spectacles. So you can expect attendees to bring all kind of gadgets and new stuff they use for business – of just for fun. Although this should not be your primairy reason to attend a Startup Week, it’s pretty cool, especially if you like new stuff.
  18. Prizes: Winners of Startup Weekend Zwolle will get great prices. We understand you’re curious about it, but we can assure these prices will help the winning team to take their ideas to the NEXT LEVEL!
  19. Great facilitator: At Startup Weekend Cologne, some greek guy called Stavros Messinis was facilitating the event. And he did an amazing job, so we asked him to join in Zwolle. And we’re very happy to share he will be our facilitator.
  20. The city: Of course, there’s no way to compare Zwolle to New York, London, Paris, Amsterdam or even Cologne 🙂 Nonetheless, our city has a lot to offer: nice working places, excellent public transport, great sporting facilities, plenty educationial possibilities, social initiatives, great events all year long, a beautiful city centre, an healthy environment and nice people. The region of Zwolle also performs at the top-3 economic regions in the Netherlands.

So, what are you waiting for?

Click here to claim your ticket.

Got any questions? Please contact us at or text us at Whatsapp: +31 6 83 86 96 22.

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Dutch Startup Founder about international growth: “Are your customers willing to pay?”

Dutch Startup Founder about international growth

A lot of Startup entrepreneurs dream about conquering the world with their product. But competition is everywere – so what should you do in order to grow? What challenges will you face? I think it’s a good idea to ask Jorrit Baerends, Startup Founder of Adpiler, serial entrepreneur and member of the Launchlab community.

#1 What is Adpiler?

Adpiler is the world’s first platform that not only shows banners to customers, but also manages the feedback processs. Banner designers and creative agences use Adpiler to display ads in a professional way to their customers. They present banners within the context of real websites – such as New York Times. Within this context, customers can give direct feedback. This prevents a lot of email messages between designers and customers. So Adpiler users save a lot of time, on average 3 hours per banner set.

#2 Why did you start with Adpiler?

Via Adcrowd, a self-service retargeting platform I founded years ago, I am connected to a lot of online marketing agencies. I noticed how much time designer spend to agree with customers about a set of online ads. Both designers and accountmanagers spend a lot of time collecting customer feedback. I was very surprised there wasn’t any tool to improve this process. So I came up with the idea to create one myself and therefore I developed a new platform. With Adpiler, the design process is more streamlined and a lot shorter.

#3 What challenges did you face?

My biggest challenge in development was usability for all kind of online banners. Customer are using different advertentising networks – such as Doubleclick or Sizmek. Every network has its own features for banners. I was a real challenge to make Adpiler suitable for all these different banners, regardless which network they’re made for. I’m very happy we found a solution for this problem.

Biggest challenge in marketing and sales is reaching the right audience. Customer who found us, are very satisfied and enthusiastic. However it’s pretty hard to get in touch with banner designers and creative directors. After testing different marketing strategies, we choose Google Adwords, Facebook Ads and Content Marketing to fuel growth.

#4 What should Startup Founders do to grow their business?

My best advice would be: think global, act global. If you have a true startup, your business is scalable. So it makes no sence to limit your scope just to The Netherlands or just to Europe. Take a close look at countries were your customers come from. Try to understand what customers are willing to pay for your product. At Adpiler, we focus on Western countries, because we know they are more willing to pay for using our platform.

This interview was first published in Dutch at Launchlab – The Techstart Community

Have a look at our 1st Sponsor of Startup Weekend Zwolle!

hanz sponsor startup weekend zwolle

Finding a great location is one of the most important things you want to do when organizing a Startup Weekend. And we have succeeded to do just that! The 1st Edition of Startup Weekend Zwolle will be organized at Hanz, an inspiring place where innovation and connection go hand in hand.

The Hanz’ building is located in ‘Hanzeland’. Its location is almost perfect because of the nearby train station and connection to the highway. Besides that, the facilities are also pretty great.

sponsor startup weekend zwolle

However, these are certainly not the only things we took into consideration. We are also delighted by the mission and vision of Thijs van Dieren and Johan Neerhof, the men behind the realization and success of Hanz.

Putting their ideas into action, Thijs and Johan wanted to create the perfect playground for innovation: an inspiring place where entrepreneurs, government and education would meet eachother and connect with their environment. As you can imagine, this matches pretty well with Startup Weekend.

We’re thankfull and very proud of Hanz to be our very first sponsor. And we’re convinced that it will be the right place of organizing the 1st edition of Startup Weekend Zwolle!