How did your journey with Techstars Startup Weekend begin?
Back in 2014 I was ready for a new adventure. The new generation, fresh from school, was active, creative and tech savvy. They inspired me with their thinking, their business ideas and knowledge. A week before the event, I saw a post on Facebook about a Startup Weekend in Utrecht (The Netherlands) and decided to buy a ticket. I was convinced that I would meet those tech savvy people there and was excited to work with them.
Half an hour before the event my best friend called me. We had a nice chat and I told her that I was tired from the week and not really motivated to go to the event. And then she said: why don’t you just go and check it out? Since it’s only 10 minutes away from your home, you can always go home in case you do not like it… And so I did. It turned out to be the BEST weekend of my life. Life changing. True story.
Why did you decide that you wanted to take the step from being an Organiser to becoming a Facilitator?
I became addicted. To the people, the atmosphere and the energies it gave me. At each event you meet amazing like-minded people. As a facilitator you enlarge your network and the opportunity to meet local people. For me being a facilitator is something natural. I love doing it, it doesn’t cost me too much energy, although after a weekend I feel satisfied, and also a bit tired. Straight back to work is sometimes a bit challenging.
What do you enjoy most about being a Facilitator?
I get attached to the people. I understand how exciting it is to pitch on Friday and how nervous people are for the Sunday evening Pitch Night. I feel for them. They worked so hard the whole weekend, and then the moment comes to bring everything to the table. I am nervous too, for them. I am always proud of what I see on Sunday evening. They all went through some learning curves and teams show true team spirit. It is beautiful to see. Startup Weekend is the place to be if you are looking for a transformational experience. And those are the BEST! I cannot get enough :-). I always want MORE.
What is your best memory of facilitating at a Techstars Startup Weekend?
I got a request from a participant to practice his Friday evening pitch with the organising team, a couple of days before the event would kick off. I was impressed by the level of ambition and humbleness of this person. Of course I accepted it and invited him to one of our team meetings. We gave him advice and his idea was chosen on Friday evening. They won the first prize on Sunday evening too. I love the level of ambition of the people coming to Startup Weekends. We have a lot fun and at the same time we are damn serious about setting up a business and creating impact. I love this combination!
Do you have any advice for those thinking of taking the plunge and applying to become Facilitators?
Just do it. It is a great experience. I learned a lot from other facilitators, like Stavros (Greece) and Dwight (Amsterdam). When I felt a bit more confident I found my own way of doing it. I am just me, myself and I. In all the surveys the feedback that I get is that participants see how natural I am by just being myself and how much I am enjoying it too. Participants are not looking for a show, they value authenticity more. In the end, all SW-peeps are part of the same family. So, you can just be yourself and enjoy the ride! So find your own uniqueness in the way you like to facilitate, and it will be great!
Every two weeks one Techstars Startup Weekend event postpones or cancels due to the lack of funding. Many events in different regions face the challenge of attracting sponsorships. Here are the most common mistakes:
1) Setting A High Budget
SOLUTION: If you are planning to raise $10K, ask yourself, can you revise your plan to accomplish the same with $7K? Most of the time, organizers ask for arbitrary round numbers like $10K or $15K instead of the actual amount of money needed to achieve specific milestones.
Think about what can you cut. Work to re-budget. Spend a little bit less on marketing. Cancel your fancy T-shirt and video producing.
Be creative how you can spend the money productively. Spend time polishing your budget forecast, so that you can confidently tell sponsors why you are only looking for $7K, and why you know you can achieve high quality with less capital.
2) Not Having The Sponsorships Mentality
SOLUTION: Put yourself in the sponsors shoes, try to understand what the company actually needs (Job To Be Done) by supporting your event. Are they looking for marketing exposure, engaging with entrepreneurs, hiring people etc.
Raising sponsorships will take more meetings, and more time with every company, especially for first time events. Be prepared, and ask what the steps are, how long the process will take, and what to expect.
Also, be aware that many sponsors will pass, so it is essential to have of list of more companies to approach, this doesn’t mean you need to talk to every company out there. You can only get sponsorship from a qualified company— who is interested in your space and has the resources required.
Check out our Techstars Startup Weekend Sponsorship Deck
3) Relying on Cash Sponsorship Only
SOLUTION: There is a real possibility that you won’t be able to raise any sponsorship from companies or will raise a lot less than you expected
When your fundraising is not going well, it is time to pause and rethink your strategy, try to come back to sponsor with alternative options to provide in-kind sponsorship or provide the food to the event in return of sponsoring (many companies have discounts with food providers so what would cost you $3,000 can cost them $2,000) in this way you can get what you want with less money for them. Win-win.
In addition, It’s important to differentiate between partners vs. sponsors. By changing the language to partners vs. sponsors it makes them feel more connected to the success of the event. A sponsor writes a check, a partner is more likely to contribute human and financial capital
Reach out to some partners with this example in mind “We understand that you’re not in a place to be a cash sponsor, but would you be interested in offering 5 hours of your company’s services to the winning team as part of the prize package. Engaging with your law firm would really help the top team(s) continue their momentum beyond the weekend. By being partner we’ll happily give you exposure on our website and during the event.”
The important thing is to have a clear plan. What can you do with no or little capital? Come up with a plan, discuss it, get feedback, and then go back and execute on it.
4) Failed To Follow-up With Sponsors
SOLUTION: Decision-Making process will take a lot of time for the company to decide whether to sponsor or not. Therefore, if you can, find out how far in advance that company prefers to be pitched. At the very least, allow for a four to six month for the arrangements to be made.
Give the company some time to check your offer and if you didn’t hear back after a 7-10 business days, maybe you should follow-up. Most follow-ups are better than no follow-up at all but keep it short and straightforward especially if you’re on third and final follow-up. There’s a fine line between persistent and annoying. If you haven’t received a response at this point, it’s probably best to move on to another opportunity.
5) Not Setting The Right Ticket Price
SOLUTION: Selling tickets will not only support you with extra cash, but it’s also liberating. When you sell tickets, you no longer depend so much on sponsorship. Events that start selling tickets are more attractive to sponsors, it is less risky, and it is clear that organizing team is very responsible.
The key here is to set good ticket pricing, chances are, your attendees have some events to choose from—so how much do their other options cost? Check out your local listings to see what else is happening in your area around the time of your event and research past ticket prices for similar events. Put yourself in event-goers shoes, and ask how your headliner, your venue, or your host city measure up to the competition.
6) Failing To Understand The Customers Needs
SOLUTION: Before organizing an event, you must spend more time interviewing their customers (attendees) and understand their needs to attend the event. This can help you decide on the event themes, number of attendees expected, prizes, etc.
Another thought if you already start the planning to host a pre-event bootcamp, this is will give you the opportunity to meet your customer and market your event.
El evento binacional realizado el pasado 4, 5, y 6 de mayo en Urcuquí, Imbabura– Ecuador, es reconocido como un escenario de encuentro de dos países latinoamericanos que trabajan en torno al fortalecimiento del emprendimiento en tecnologías y comunicación y la construcción de Paz.
Los protagonistas fueron 112 emprendedores que se sumaron a la comunidad más grande de emprendimiento en el mundo, Startup Weekend, con el apoyo de 30 personas, entre ellos; facilitadores, organizadores, mentores y gracias al patrocinio de 18 aliados de los dos países, fue posible desarrollar la experiencia SW Binacional Ecuador – Colombia.
En las primeras horas, 50 ideas de negocio deslumbraron el potencial que tienen los jóvenes de estos territorios, en el transcurso de 54 horas, las ideas evolucionaron y se fortalecieron. Como resultado del trabajo de acompañamiento en las verticales de AgroTech y Travel, el día domingo se obtuvieron 17 proyectos de emprendimiento que se presentaron ante los paneles de jurados.
Los participantes sustentaron sus proyectos, mostrando iniciativas que le apuestan a fortalecer tecnológicamente al sector Agro, e iniciativas para mejorar las condiciones de la experiencia de los turistas, temas de total interés en la frontera de entre los dos países.
Se acercaban los últimos instantes del evento y dos equipos recibieron menciones de honor por su alta capacidad de resiliencia, y compromiso. Se trata de Caserito compra ya, y Travel Connected. El tercer lugar fue otorgado a: Agro Aquí, y Go Live, el segundo lugar fue para: PiñaFi y City. Es importante destacar que una persona de cada equipo recibirá la Certificación de Comercialización y Transferencia de Tecnología, siendo como único requisito tener altos conocimientos del idioma Inglés.
Finalmente, Fernando Espinola Prieto, y Oscar I. Soto facilitadores del evento por parte de Techstars anunciaron la llegada a la meta, “ABC Travel” y “Almiplast” fueron seleccionadas como las iniciativas que tienen el mayor potencial para tener éxito en el mercado. “Almiplast” recibirán durante cuatro meses en la Empresa Pública Yachay EP, acceso a la zona de coworking y “ABC Travel” recibirán durante seis meses acceso a la zona de coworking de ParqueSoft Pasto, los dos emprendimientos recibirán un plan de acompañamiento virtual por parte de mentores de ambos países, para escalar estas iniciativas al mercado global.
Para Karla Daniela Malla Calderón, de Loja – Ecuador, integrante de “ABC Travel” puntualiza “esta experiencia fue enriquecedora para conocer más de la cultura de mi país, a su vez familiarizarse con participantes y mentores para fortalecer la idea de negocio”.
“El público objetivo de la propuesta está centrado en estudiantes, y profesores de universidades y colegios quienes a través de una plataforma web podrán organizar salidas a campo o giras de observación, afirma la integrantes, Michelle Guachamín.
En el caso de “Almiplast” Javier Alberto Morán Terán de Ecuador expresa “En Ecuador y Colombia tenemos muchas necesidades, simplemente debemos colocarnos de acuerdo y trabajar en equipo” entre tanto, Nicolás Murcia de Colombia invita a las personas de los dos países a seguir emprendiendo para sacar nuevas ideas que aporten a la sociedad.
El proyecto de Almiplast, busca aportar al medio ambiente mediante la sustitución del material no biodegradable utilizado para la realización de bolsas plásticas, por biopolímero, basado en el almidón de papa para la fabricación de micropellets, garantizando la realización de bolsas que no contaminen.
Sin duda podemos concluir que este evento es uno de los catalizadores para la creación de Startups y la educación en emprendimiento alrededor del mundo. Es momento de agradecer al talento humano que lo hizo posible y las organizaciones que se vincularon, Yachay EP, ParqueSoft Pasto Y Funda TIC.
Equipo de trabajo : Pamela Camacho, Oscar I. Soto, José Acosta, Andrés Cueva, Juan Pablo Espinosa, Gelber Morán, Edilma Rosero, Jonathan Sánchez, Eduardo Cartagena, Rosa Gonzaga, John Jaime Acosta, y Alejandra Cabrera M.
Mentores y Jueces: Andrés Váscones, Diego López, Gabriela Jácome, Evelyn Vélez, Fabián Bermeo, Francisco Cordova, Jhony Villacís, Felipe Enríquez, Juan Londoño, Kako Vera, Roberto Moya, Verónica Gómez, William Villacís, Carlos Molano, Gabriel Bermeo, Juan Adrada, Luis Suárez, y Luis Rojas.
Revive los mejores momentos a través de los hashtag #SWBinacional y #EcuadorColombia, en las redes sociales encuéntranos como: www.facebook.com/swbinacional/ y www.twitter.com/swbinacional y ampliación de la información en la página web: www.swbinacional.co.
Nos vemos en la segunda versión de Startup Weekend Binacional Ecuador – Colombia
Nos dias 10 e 11 de março de 2018 reuniram-se em Curitiba- PR, para o Techstars Community Leader Academy Sul, 45 Community Leaders representantes de diversas cidades dos três estados sul do país. Do Paraná, teve presente cidades como Cascavel, Londrina, Pato Branco, Ponta Grossa, Maringá, União da Vitória, Jacarezinho e Curitiba. De Santa Catarina, CL’s de Palhoça, Balneário, Joinville, Criciúma e Florianópolis também marcaram presença. E do Rio Grande do Sul: Santa Maria, Caxias do Sul, Porto Alegre, Lajeado, São Leopoldo, Bento Gonçalves e Porto Alegre.
Foi um fim de semana imersivo de capacitação, reflexão, troca de experiências, construção e muita CONEXÃO! Leaders e Feeders da região tiveram a oportunidade de discutir e alinhar expectativas para desenvolver melhor o ecossistema empreendedor de Startups.
Se aproximar de outros líderes que estão criando e desenvolvendo ações em seus ecossistemas locais é fundamental para um Community Leader.
No Community Leader Academy, o principal objetivo é aproximar líderes de comunidade para discutir e construir coletivamente ações e estratégias que amadureçam as comunidades. Mas também é o momento de conhecer mais sobre a Techstars, sobre o papel do Startup Weekend no ecossistema e sobre as pessoas que acreditam que as circunstâncias podem se tornar mais sustentáveis a prosperidade. A metodologia proposta em dois dias intensos sugere refletir e trabalhar seus ecossistemas como um todo e não só o Startup Weekend, mas também tornar mais simples a visão de que treinar e reconhecer novas lideranças é fundamental nessa jornada. Aprender como capacitar os próximos organizadores, através de troca de experiências e enxergar o impacto dos programas da Techstars e outras iniciativas no ecossistema, junto de feeders locais, é o maior legado dessa experiência, que já deixou saudades no Sul do Brasil.
“Fui sem tanta ideia do que seria o CLA, pensei pelo título que seríamos treinados ‘individualmente’, e na verdade a essência era alinhar/desenvolver a liderança de todos, como um todo. Achei sensacional! A equipe de facilitadores apresentaram uma ótima desenvoltura e todos, inclusive participantes demonstraram abertura para conversar com todos e explorar mais insights. Devo reforçar também que a comida estava deliciosa!… Legal também a dedicação de todos os envolvidos em conseguir transporte e estadia por exemplo… Isso prova o quanto nós precisamos ser importantes para o ecossistema.” Jefferson Fernandes, Florianópolis-SC.
Meet Byeonghun Kim from Purdue, USA!
I’m a sophomore in Electrical Engineering at Purdue University and also am a co-founder of Wasta, a non-profit organization that connects entrepreneurs in third-world countries to students as consultants in classroom settings. I have a big passion for social innovation, and my interest lies in redefining the energy industry, electrifying and digitalizing automotive and manufacturing systems, and alleviating global poverty. I also work on a research team to advance the smart grid technology, and I hope to start a company soon in such field!
Why do you do what you do?
I’m a first-generation immigrant, and I haven’t seen my parents in South Korea since the junior year of high school. Since they left the U.S., several families from my church, who have never met my family, have taken me in as their own and pointed me in the right direction. I know that I would not be where I am now without their constant love and support, and I’ve learned to have compassion for people without expecting anything in return. My goal is to go to bed every night thinking that I used my gifts and talents to make a positive impact in people’s lives though social innovation and cutting-edge technology.
What’s new for West Lafayette?
Purdue Startups! There’s a lot going on here with endless innovation that happens on campus, and there’s numerous opportunities for students to start something new. Many of them stay nearby and base their companies in the area.
What’s new at Purdue?
Techstars Startup Weekend and Purdue’s Co-Ed Entrepreneurship Fraternity! Our organization just started last year, and we bring many new entrepreneurial events to Purdue (including Startup Weekend) with a mission to foster the innovative spirit on and off campus. There are endless opportunities for student startups, with a huge center for entrepreneurship and other organizations to support student innovators in all sorts of ways!
I’m a young, student entrepreneur, so I have a lot to learn! If you have specific ways to guide me to become a better startup founder and builder of Purdue’s startup ecosystem, please feel free to reach out to me! I’d love to talk!
Everything went great for the 10th edition of Techstars Startup Weekend Réunion! We welcomed 120 highly motivated participants with some very inspirational projects! 47 ideas were pitched with, as usual, a huge variety of projects – from renewable energy, special pastries, food apps to a new generation of coffins! 12 projects were selected and pitched to our jury. Needless to say, they had a tough time selecting the winners.
Our first Techstars Startup Weekend took place in 2011 in St Denis, the capital of Réunion Island. Right from the off, we built a long term partnership with a local incubator which strongly promoted us, both through their media and notoriety and through financial support. We found 10 coaches who really added value to the first projects. Then we had the chance to quickly welcome successful entrepreneurs who built nice and visible startups. Thus media were attracted, together with new sponsors, including telcos, bank and local authorities. Techstars Startup Weekend events quickly became the flagship event for ‘to be’ startups in Reunion.
We also got early support from the Techstars Startup Weekend team who initially came to help us organise our first events, so it was an instant success. Now, Techstars Startup Weekend is well renowned in Réunion. Our participants get a lot of traction after the event. Students and participants mention it in their resumes and it gives them a very nice story to tell!
We always have amazing sponsors who strongly promote the event, insightful coaches, prestigious jury involving known individuals here in Réunion, we also have good prizes, we fight to get fresh news from our success stories’ startups to keep ‘light’ on them.
One advise: do what you can to have one or two success stories as quickly as possible and media, sponsors and participants will flow. This is a virtuous circle which starts with a reliable sponsor + a quick win ie a successful startup with high visibility.
We are organising two events per year which is already quite a lot of work… and fun of course! Still we have short-term plans to launch a third Techstars Startup Weekend per year, focusing on a particular vertical, probably centring around culture (art, music etc) or social impact. Thanks to everyone who has made the 10th edition of Techstars Startup Weekend Réunion possible! Check out the recap video here.
If you want to organize a Techstars Startup Program, contact us through email@example.com
Zero Waste is a philosophy that encourages the redesign of resource life cycles so that all products are reused. The goal is for no trash to be sent to landfills or incinerators.
We got the chance to talk to the team behind Techstars Startup Weekend Paris, about their motivations to host this event with the thematic of Zero Waste. Here’s what they shared:
1. What was your thinking behind doing a Startup Weekend, Zero Waste edition? What did you want to achieve?
I saw a lot of Startup Weekends and love the people, the state of mind and the magic happening there. But despite the fact that we are at the heart of the innovation, I saw few projects and people deeply concerned about sustainable development. I wanted to help changing that, so we formed a team of awesome organizers and we built this edition.
“Zero Waste” is a concept that most people understand immediately, it’s a fast growing movement, and a perfect way to get people concretely interested in sustainable development.
Behind the Zero Waste philosophy there is a new way of consuming and living. This more sustainable way needs a new sector full of initiatives and businesses that starts to flourish : the circular economy sector. We deeply believe that there is a lot of business opportunities coming with the rise of circular economy. We wanted to help people and projects going in this sustainable direction.
2. How did you ensure that the theme of circular economy and zero waste was a philosophy throughout your event?
We started by making this event zero waste itself ! The idea was to show that it is possible to have an entire event hosting more than 100 people without producing almost any waste.
We then tried to involve participants in this, explaining it to them in advance and asking them to take their own pens and their own cloth table-napkin, because we won’t provide disposable ones. We also explained a bit more the concept of circular economy, and made a conference about it a week before the SW.
Finally we looked for sponsors that have real interest in sustainable development, because for now almost all companies practice green washing, but very few started to take the problem seriously.
3. What was your highlight from the weekend? What was most challenging?
We were very happy to see the quality of the ideas on the Friday night’s pitchs. All the ideas proposed by the participants were also totally in the circular economy philosophy.
The participants were very interested about sustainable development and the projects developed during the weekend were highly qualitative. I found it awesome to gather in the same place a lot of people and energies interested in the same goal.
Everything went very well, and we didn’t really had challenging parts at the end, even washing the dishes in team for 100 people was quite fun!
4. Do you have any top tips / best practices for anyone who is keen to host a more environmentally-friendly Startup Weekend?
Of course 🙂 Regardless of the Startup Weekend’s theme, you can organize a Techstars Startup Weekend without generating almost any waste. For us it was actually easier than I thought.
I wrote an article with more information about how we did it, and am available to help or to receive more tips. 2 coming Parisian Techstars Startup Weekends will already adopt a zero waste approach to their organization, and I hope much more will go the same way afterwards.
For sure we’ll organize a second edition of Techstars Startup Weekend Zero Waste in Paris, and I hope that others cities will tackle the same theme full of potential!
If you want to organize a Techstars Startup Weekend event, apply here.
Denver, Boulder & Fort Collins rank within the top ten cities for female entrepreneurship, and yet there is still a struggle to get female founders funded and successfully launching their businesses. Not to mention that entrepreneurship in general can be a lonely and intimidating career choice. So how do we make a difference here and change these statistics? Education, support, resources and working in teams, rather than alone, is where we start!
Startup Weekend Women Denver on February 9th – 11th will ignite some serious change in this arena by bringing women from all backgrounds together for 54 hours…to learn, be mentored and build businesses together. Who should attend? Any women that has a business idea, needs help creating a startup, or those that want to help, support and empower women in this endeavor by working with them for three days in a collaborative team environment. This event is open to anyone in the community, not just women!
The hardest part of starting up is starting out! This 54-hour event at The Commons on Champa in Downtown Denver is designed to create working startups during the event and are able to collaborate with like-minded individuals outside of their daily networks. Teams will hear talks by industry leaders and receive valuable feedback from local mentors and entrepreneurs. Whether you are looking for feedback on a idea, a co-founder, specific skill sets, or a team to help you execute, Startup Weekends are the perfect environment in which to test your idea and take the first steps towards launching your own startup or being part of one.
Plus there’s an added bonus for this special event! This event in Denver is actually part of a larger Global Startup Weekend Women initiative where 23 cities worldwide will hold the same event on the same weekend with the same goal in mind. The winner from Startup Weekend Women Denver…will go to Paris! (And no, we are not talking about Paris, Arkansas) The Sunday night pitch winner from each city (including Denver) will win an all-expense paid trip to Paris to participate in the final global event in March.
We know the power of women-led businesses and the talent women in leadership, marketing, tech, operations, sales and finance bring to the entire team. That’s why we want you to be a part of this weekend and join some of the most talented and entrepreneurial-minded women across our community!
Grab your tickets while they last and we’ll see you there!
And a special thank you to our sponsors for making this event possible and for supporting the future of our startup community: Full Contact, Zayo, Technical Integrity, Qwinix, The Commons on Champa, Meyer Law, PitchLab, Women Who Startup, Choozle, All Terrain Yoga, Rocky Mountain Micro Ranch
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 | www.hansvaneijsden.com/