Making a Zero Waste economy possible at Techstars Startup Weekend Paris

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.








Changing the Ratio: Startup Weekend Women is Coming to Denver, Colorado!

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, ZayoTechnical Integrity, Qwinix, The Commons on Champa, Meyer Law, PitchLab, Women Who Startup, Choozle, All Terrain Yoga, Rocky Mountain Micro Ranch








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 | www.hansvaneijsden.com/








Santiago Shows Startup Muscle with Mega Event for Techstars Global Startup Weekend 2017

Photo from: theweek.co.uk

Santiago de Chile is a city found in South America, in the middle Los Andes, and a busy place for entrepreneurship in Latin America. Chile has the highest rate of Internet users in Latin America and the country ranks 9th in the world for mobile phone use according to the PEW research center.

Last year during the Latin American Techstars Summit, we met a lot of people who help Santiago maintain its position as a hub of innovation and entrepreneurship. One of those leaders is Rocío Fonseca, Director of Startup Chile, a governmental organization created in 2010 to support ideas and entrepreneurs from all over the world.

At the summit, more than 80 Techstars Startup Weekend and Techstars Startup Week community leaders from Latin America came together to meet, share best practices and learn how to grow startup communities. The summit was possible because of Gonzalo Mena, lead organizer of our programs in Santiago. He has helped re-ignite the Techstars community in Chile.

Photo from Techstars archive.

During Techstars Global Startup Weekend 2017, Santiago held its first ever MEGA event including verticals like video games, social innovation, research and a non-themed vertical.

“The idea of doing a MEGA event– 4 themed verticals within a single weekend– was born because we wanted to celebrate the community. After doing a non-themed Techstars Startup Weekend back in April, we wanted to bring attention to topics that have been growing importantly in the city but that do not get much media”, says Gonzalo. The video games and research themes– which are not super popular– were complemented with social innovation and another non-themed vertical.

The participants’ high energy mixed with the facilitators– who knew each other previously– were the perfect match to make the event a success. “More than 150 participants got to live the experience of going from idea to product in those 54 hours, for most of them it was the first event and we saw an amazing change in them between Friday night and Sunday’s final pitch,” according to Gonzalo.

A grand prize of mentorship from the commercial area from the Ministry of External Relations of Chile will help the winning team to get their project ready to launch abroad.

When asked about the upcoming plans for the community in Santiago, Gonzalo says that thanks to the exposure that came with Techstars Startup Weekend MEGA and the participation of high profile Judges, they will start pushing to make more events that support different thematics around tech entrepreneurship in 2018, collaborating with other communities that include Startup Grind, Emprendedores Anónimos, Founderlist and more.

To connect with the Startup Weekend Community in Santiago, you can visit their website or their Facebook Page. To learn more about Techstars Startup Programs or to find an event near you, go to techstars.com/startup-programs








The Amazing Judges Joining us for Techstars Global Startup Weekend

We are honored to support the largest celebration of entrepreneurship in the world, Global Entrepreneurship Week. We will hold over 200 events, in over 60 cities this year over in just two weekends!

As part of the celebration, Techstars Global Startup Weekend comes with a Regional and Global Showcase, with prizes from Google, Amazon, .CO, and more.

Local winners from each event have the opportunity to submit their startup and our regional judges will select the best team regionally. Regional winners go on to the finals where our global judges panel will select the winner. The global winner will get additional exposure and perks, but the other competitors will not be left empty-handed.

The Global Judges

David Cohen

David Cohen is the Founder and co-CEO of Techstars. David has been an entrepreneur and investor for his entire life. He has only had one job interview in his career, successfully got that job but then quit shortly thereafter to start his first company. Since then, he has founded several companies and has invested in hundreds of startups such as Uber, Twilio, SendGrid, FullContact, and Sphero. In total, these investments have gone on to create more than $80B in value.

David is the co-author (with Brad Feld) of Do More Faster; Techstars Lessons to Accelerate Your Startup.

You can find David tweeting at @davidcohen and blogging on the web at DavidGCohen.com.


Mary Grove

Mary Grove is the Director of Google for Entrepreneurs, leading Google’s efforts to support startups and entrepreneurs in more than 100 countries around the world. Mary is passionate about building community and has worked with groups of entrepreneurs in Pakistan, Iraq, Gaza, and Afghanistan, and previously led numerous international partnerships for Google.

Mary earned her BA and MA from Stanford University. She is the co-founder of Silicon North Stars, a nonprofit that connects youth from the Midwest to Silicon Valley. She has served on the Board of UP Global, the Techstars Foundation and the Stanford Alumni Association.


Debbie Levi

Debbie Levi is part of the Venture Capital Business Development team at AWS managing relationships with top tier VCs and their portfolio companies on behalf of AWS and broader Amazon. Prior to joining the team in 2016 she was part of the Israeli VC community for about 5 years (most recently at Viola Ventures (FKA Carmel Ventures) and JAL Ventures).

Before becoming a VC Debbie managed marketing teams at a series of start-ups (Mytopia, mySupermarket and Kasamba (acquired by LivePerson) and spent time in corporate America (News America Marketing, a division of News Corp). Debbie holds a MBA from Bar Ilan University and a BA in Psychology and Communications from the University of Michigan. Debbie is a NYC native and an alumna of Stuyvesant High School.


Fadhi Gandhour

Fadi Ghandour is the Executive Chairman of Wamda Group, an organization consisting of a Venture Capital fund that invests in technology-enabled companies in the Arab world. He is also the Founder and a Board Member of Aramex, a global logistics and transportation provider.

Fadi is a member of the Board of Abraaj Capital, the Board of Endeavor Global and the Board of Trustees at the American University of Beirut (AUB). Additionally, he serves on the Advisory Council of the MIT Media Lab. He is also the Founder and Chairman of Ruwwad for Development, an initiative that helps disadvantaged communities across the region overcome marginalization through activism, civic engagement, education and financial inclusion.


Rocío Fonseca

Rocio is the Executive Director at Start-Up Chile, one of the biggest and most diverse startup communities in the world. She has a MS in Management at MIT, is a Master in innovation and entrepreneurship and Biotech Engineer. Her passion is to help people to transform their ideas into business.

 

Regional Judges:

Check out more about our regional judges on global.startupweeend.org/judges

With still one weekend left in Techstars Global Startup Weekend, you have the opportunity to participate and be part of the celebration!








Pangolin takes the 1st place in Techstars Startup Weekend Toronto, powered by INFINITI.

54 hours of action took place during the weekend of October 20-22, in Workhaus Commerce Court in downtown Toronto. Participants from all over the Greater Toronto Area got together to pitch their ideas, form teams and take the first steps to launch their startups. The event was possible thanks to the support of INFINITI Canada, a company that empowers entrepreneurs in different stages, previously with their INFINITI LAB for later stage companies and now through Techstars Startup Weekend, the event where entrepreneurs go to ‘get their start’.  

On Friday night more than 24 ideas were shared in front of the audience, and out of those, 7 were chosen to be worked on by teams during the weekend. On Saturday, the teams were coached by mentors from all over Ontario, including mentors from the Toronto startup community like Oksana Salamaszek from The Working Group, Tariq Haddadin from Techstars Toronto, and Grant Brigden from the startup Rover, which won 1st place in the past edition of Toronto INFINITI LAB. The teams got advice from mentors from the INFINITI Canada team, including Julie Daigle Raphael Huegli and Chris Little. You can see the full list of mentors here.

Some of our Coaches and Jen Riedel, facilitator of the event.

On Sunday the teams presented a 5-minute pitch in front of a panel of 3 judges: Theresa Humphrey, Brand Manager for INFINITI, Angelo Del Duca, Angel Investor, and Sunil Sharma, Managing Director of the Techstars Toronto Accelerator Program.

The top 3 places went to the following teams:

1st Place: Pangolin –  Pangolin helps lower the premium for retailers by mitigating risks for insurance companies using smart IoT devices

2nd Place: Hybernate – Hybernate helps businesses decrease the expenses related to HVAC through IoT

3rd Place: GEM – GEM helps millenials be congruent with how they spend their money and what their values are, using a ‘GEM’ reward system.

Besides taking the top 3 places in the contest, one member of each of the winning teams got a full scholarship to join the January cohort of Founders Institute Toronto, so they can continue developing the skills needed to be great founders.

Techstars Startup Weekend was a great success. Thanks to our signature sponsor INFINITI, Workhaus for being great hosts, and to all the mentors, coaches and judges that helped empower this amazing group of entrepreneurs.

Stay connected to the Techstars Toronto community by following us on our Facebook page here. 








Join Techstars Startup Weekend Latinx in Tech this weekend!

The Latinx community in the United States is the second largest ethnic group in America made up of 52 million people. By 2060, over a quarter of the entire U.S. population will be Latinx – that’s about 119M people and over a trillion dollar market that remains untapped – until now!

The weekend of September 29th – Oct 1st, Oakland, Chicago, New York and LA are bringing 400 Latinxs and allies together for 54 hours to learn how to create their own startup. Participants will be mentored by some of the brightest minds in tech, business, and development.

Techstars Startup Weekend Latinx in Tech is supported by amazing local Community Leaders in the four cities and national partners Kapor Center for Social Impact and Techqueria.

Everybody is welcome to join this special edition! A few tickets are still available in all 4 locations.

More information and tickets:

Oakland

Los Angeles

New York

Chicago

In October, with the support of the Knight Foundation, Techstars Startup Weekend Latinx in Tech will take place in the city that has the most Latinx leading tech ventures in the United States: Miami. Stay tuned for more information!








Buffalo Startup Weekend 2017: How to Start a Business

Buffalo Startup Weekend enters its 7th annual run next weekend, September 29th through October 1st at Dig Buffalo, 640 Ellicott St. The 54-hour crash course on entrepreneurship explains how to grow a simple idea into a full-fledged, successful business.

The event kicks off with networking on Friday night at 6 p.m., where all guests are invited to pitch their startup idea and receive feedback from their peers. Teams organically form around the ideas and from there the coaches mentor the groups on how to create a business model, design their website, and supporting marketing collateral, market validation, and coding basics.

“What we like to see is a lot of people who come to Startup Weekend who maybe don’t necessarily have an idea, but have the energy to put some creativity into it,” said Janae Pitts, Co-Founder OneTen Capital.

Startup Weekend brings together talented people. Each idea and team member brings a unique point of view and skill to the table.  Attendees take their learnings from being able to freely express their thoughts among peers and really launch their entrepreneurial career.

Brendon Dever, co-founder of Heads Up Solution, won the competition in 2013. His takeaways from the event enabled him and his team to raise private and public capital funding, which was used to research the market and develop their technology to fit.

“Startup Weekend is an opportunity to take control over your career and life,” Dever said. “If you have a dream to chase, Startup Weekend is the perfect starting point.”

The event culminates with presentations on Sunday afternoon, when the winning teams are able to present their business plans to local leaders serving as judges.

Tickets are limited. Order today. 








Building the Future of Entrepreneurship with the Girl Scouts

When I was younger, I experienced the Girl Scouts program like many girls have. I made it to the “Juniors” level before retiring my cookie-selling skills. I learned a lot through the program and had a few fun summers at camp. But I also remember begging my way out of the sewing activity, because after many failed attempts at it, I knew it wasn’t what I wanted to learn or what I was good at.

Now, the Girl Scouts are adding new activities and development paths to their programs, creating incredible opportunities for girls with desires and skills of all types. There are four focus areas that form the foundation of the overall program and the Girl Scouts Leadership Experience: STEM, Outdoors, Life Skills, and Entrepreneurship.

I got to experience this entrepreneurship focus firsthand helping out as Facilitator at the first Startup Weekend with the Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles earlier this year. This event in Los Angeles had 26 girls come together over a weekend to build companies. The girls formed six teams to work on products in all types of industries, work with mentors, and pitch to judges at the end.

When I told people about Startup Weekend joining forces with the Girl Scouts for this event, everyone had the same reaction: It makes so much sense. What other group is able to sell cookies to anyone, anywhere? To have a country waiting and counting down to when their product is available? The hustle of selling all those boxes, tracking orders, working with others, and delivering to customers is essential block building for a future in entrepreneurship.

By the end of the Startup Weekend event in Los Angeles, the judges were floored with the progress the girls had made. They perfected the pitches, worked strongly together as teams, and some even had app mock-ups with branding, logo color guides, and more (thanks to local sponsor Marvel App!) They understood the need for having a real, paying customer, not just the idea of one, the cost to run a company, and what revenue looks like.

These are the type of events we need to help ensure plenty of young women are ready for roles where it seems to be tough to find them currently: engineering, tech leadership, CEOs and founder roles.

It’s this type of event and opportunity I wish I had when I was younger. While our weekends were filled with many activities, this type of learning and creating didn’t exist. Our closest form of this activity was our self-taught lemonade stand in the yard and balancing town hall budgets in SimCity.

Now is the time to ensure our schools, after-school groups, weekend activities, and programs like the Girl Scouts have these types of activities. During my day to day, I get discouraged witnessing the conversations and struggles with finding female founders or women in engineering roles. But every time I help with one of these youth events, I walk away inspired and excited knowing that the future is bright, and that future is filled with amazing young women ready to take on technology and entrepreneurship.

Let’s build a future filled to the brim with strong female entrepreneurs.

These events are essential for building a stronger future filled with women as founders, engineers, and developing our most important industries. Do your local schools and youth groups have activities building skills in these areas? Are you involved with a Girl Scouts chapter in your area? Let’s connect to see how we can create more events like this everywhere.

For more information about Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles and full photos from the event, check out their Facebook page








Announcing the Startup Weekend Canada Competition

Techstars believes in the ability to start a successful company anywhere, beyond borders, and beyond large metro areas.

In Canada we have seen a growth in startup activity, the introduction of the startup visa, and we are expanding with Techstars Toronto, our first Canadian Accelerator program. The time is ripe to drive momentum and to ignite the startup community nationwide.

What better way to do this than through a friendly competition? From September 1st through October 1st, we are excited to launch the Startup Weekend Canada competition! In this inaugural year we will see seven cities compete through Startup Weekend programs happening all over Canada.

From the far port city of Saint John to the beautiful lakes of Kamloops, startup ideas will be spurred into action and the winning team from each city will be given the opportunity to compete for a grand prize.

“This first Startup Weekend Canadian competition is the tipping point to inspire and educate Canadians, no matter where they are, to launch tech ecosystems like we did in Montreal, as well as to help each other.” -Sergio Escobar, Startup Weekend Montreal Community Leader

On October 3rd, a panel of esteemed judges, including our Managing Director for the Techstars Toronto program, will crown a grand prize winner.

Are you ready to kick start your entrepreneurial journey? Save the date (or dates!) and venture out to a Startup Weekend near you.

If you have an idea that you are ready to take to the next level, curious to learn the foundations of becoming a successful entrepreneur, or simply want to network with the brightest people from your city, sign up for an event near you.

City

Date

Register Now

Kamloops, BC

September 8-10, 2017

Register

Belleville, ON

September 15-17, 2017

Register

Calgary, AB

September 22-24, 2017

Coming soon!

Montreal, QC

September 22-24, 2017

Register

Brampton, ON

September 29-Oct 1, 2017

Coming soon!

London, ON

September 29-Oct 1, 2017

Coming soon!

Saint John, NB

September 29-Oct 1, 2017

Coming soon!