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Brian is a Biomedical Engineering master’s student from Sault Ste. Marie, Canada. He studies at the University of Oulu and last year participated in Startup Weekend Oulu, where his team won the opportunity to continue on to the UltraHack event in Helsinki.

This year Brian was our first ticket holder to Startup Weekend, so we decided to talk to him and learn more about the reasons he is participating the event again.


Q: So, Brian, do you remember what originally made you sign up for Startup Weekend last time?

B: I wanted to get involved in the entrepreneurial community in Oulu. Because I was new here, and I was looking for stuff to do.


Q: What was your favorite part about participating at Startup Weekend?

B: I really liked pitching an idea. After last Startup Weekend, I certainly got more comfortable coming up with ideas and presenting them to other people at an event. That really helped me over the next few months, as I went to a couple of different hackathons. So, it was nice that I gained some skills that helped me to do well at those hackathons.


Q: What was your biggest takeaway from the experience?

B: Well, at Startup Weekend my team won tickets to a hackathon in Helsinki and there we came in first place. Then from that we got accepted to a Slush side event, where we came in first place as well. So, it was an exciting experience for me.


Q: Are you still continuing on with that project?

B: That’s the thing. The Startup Weekend idea we killed right after the event, but the idea that we came up with at UltraHack with another team – that one actually went a little longer. So, I think that’s the main point I’ve learned about Startup Weekend – it’s not always about the idea you develop or the business you create, it’s the learning experience itself that matters.


Q: I heard that you were the first one to buy your ticket for this year’s SW. So, can you tell me what are you going to do differently this time around?

B: Well this time around I don’t know if I am going to suggest my own idea. I think I’m going to devote myself more to somebody else’s idea. Last year I found that I was going through a lot of my own ideas, but wasn’t following through on any of them. I don’t know if I’m going to be the right person to follow through in the future, but I’d really like to participate in Startup Weekend. So, what I’m going to do is, I’m going to go and help them out as much as I can during that weekend, and then maybe help them out a little bit after the event as well.


Photo credit: Lasse Lehto

Elina Kaihua