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The following is a guest post by Ethan Bagley, a Boston Startup Weekend Organizer. It was originally published on his personal blog

It isn’t surprising (especially given the nearly 100 foot tall statue of Jesus that overlooks the city) that Rio is an excellent place to have a religious experience. I was lucky enough to be there for the 2013 Startup Weekend Organizer’s Summit, which provided me the opportunity to meet organizers from around the world, each with their own story and perspective, and each with their own passion for entrepreneurial community.


Beyond just meeting the other organizers, the summit was a chance to really get to know some of them (though not as many as I might have liked) on a deeper level – a little about about what makes them passionate, what they’re working on, what they have done to succeed, and what they need to push further. Despite incredibly diverse backgrounds, it was quickly apparent to me that this was a group of “my people”: they were there because they want to see the world succeed, and because they recognized that in order to make that dream a reality, it will take a level of teamwork and collaboration most people and nations aren’t yet ready to embrace.

But, like pilgrims of another time, we came together in Rio to put our heads together and link up our cities and our countries (and enjoy the weather). This mission to build a global entrepreneurial community isn’t a new one, but by finding and engaging these passionate organizers worldwide,Startup Weekend has created an amazing opportunity for local ideas and local thinkers to branch out on a global level. This means much more than creating market opportunity around the world, it means collaborating and impacting on a global scale.

Over the few days I had to get to know my fellow organizers, I made what I hope are lasting connections with many of them, like Melissa in Philly and Mohsen in Tehran. Though they are each from incredibly different places, they each want for their people, and the world, to succeed. Given the creativity and willpower of those I met, as well as those who aren’t yet involved in Startup Weekend or similar efforts, there’s no doubt we can do it.

eli sosummit
Claire Topalian Claire Topalian
(@clairetopalian) Blog, Professional Writing, Communications and PR Specialist. I craft compelling, mission-driven content for companies and individuals that amplifies brand awareness, fosters community, and drives engagement. My experience includes work with tech startups, major corporations, and international non-profits. @clairetopalian