The following is a guest post by Maxime Grandjean, one of our amazing Global Facilitators.
A few weeks ago I went to Algiers (Algeria) to facilitate Startup Weekend Algiers #3. The weekend was part of a global web event called Algeria2.0 and the venue was amazing: a brand new incubator “Cyber-Parc Sidi Abdellah” in Rahmania (20 miles away from Algiers). (+more on http://www.algeria20.com/)
Algeria2.0 held a lot of conferences and workshops (SWAlgiers, Joomla!Day Alger, Install party, Web security day, E-journalism, Windows Phone DevCamp 5, OpenData, OpenGov…) and 1000+ people came. Even the Algerian minister of Technology went to the event! Great success.
The masterpiece of the event was obviously the StartupWeekend (am I obvious? ;-)) with its 120 attendees coming from all over the country! A lot of students attended, about 75+%. Compared to my experiences in Montreal and France, people in Algeria are rather more technical than business addict. Why ? Mostly cultural reasons: Social success in Algeria is much more linked with high technical skills rather than business skills. However, a good pitch ratio (40% attendees pitched) but few of them were really innovative. Many teams were working on ideas/services widespread in the US or Europe but not existing in Algeria. There is so much to do in this country before thinking about innovation. No e-commerce there! So most of the classic SW ideas won’t fit there (freemium ? hahaha). Algerian will have to wait until the end of 2013 for that…
Algeria is definitely on the good way to build startup communities and web entrepreneurs. I could feel the enthusiasm in Algiers, even more than in the US or West-Europe. Awesome. And StartupWeekend is definitely part of this movement (-: