5 Questions with Kate Kholodilina, Founder of K&K Mindshift and Techstars Community Leader

December 7th, 2020

1110x740Kate-Kholodilina-Community-Leader

I am a passionate entrepreneur and modern education evangelist. For years, I have worked with startups in different ecosystems, organizing events, mentoring, and facilitating. Recently I have launched an educational program for beginning entrepreneurs in Russia. Meanwhile, I am developing my new project K&K mindshift in New Work. We are empowering mindshift in working environments and help individuals to develop new skills and become better versions of themselves. I believe that whatever I do should be coming from the heart and ideally impact the communities as well as people around me.

01. How did you get involved in Techstars Startup Weekend?

I co-organized my first Startup Weekend in 2013 in Munich, and since then I have run different versions of the event for five consecutive years, all while becoming a facilitator and mentor. Since 2018, I have actively supported other cities as a facilitator and helped to grow Techstars Startup Weekend in Russia.

02. How have Techstars Startup Weekends impacted your life?

It helped me to find a path that inspires me and also opened the doors to the global ecosystem of empowering people. I learned a lot in the last years and I love actively sharing my knowledge with other communities for a better, connected, collaborative future.

And as a side story, I met my husband at Startup Weekend five years ago. He was one of the participants. He also met his current cofounder there. We actually married last month, so I can say indeed that TSW changed my life for good :)

03. Why are you passionate about entrepreneurship?

I believe that entrepreneurship drives global change. It brings together bright minds, it brings together enthusiasts, people with ideas, people who want to change this world for better, it helps to support diversity and openness. It also shows that anyone, and this is true, can contribute to this world through their actions. At the same time, entrepreneurship means community, people, conversations, exchange, building on ideas, and supporting each other. Nothing inspires me personally more than seeing people who went through Startup Weekend and managed to execute on their ideas. We are touching lives with our activities, we are supporting the progress and I hope it will become even better through years. And I hope more people will join the entrepreneurial movement with impactful businesses.

04. How else are you involved in your community's startup ecosystem?

I am organizing (organized before COVID) startup ecosystem meetups in Munich for bringing all ecosystem stakeholders together and sharing recent updates. I mentor in accelerators, providing workshops on team-building topics, and I act as a speaker at conferences. Recently, I have been invited by the St. Petersburg (RU) government to support them in building a startup tech cluster.

05. What's next for your community's entrepreneurship ecosystem?

As I am finding myself in between two  worlds, Munich and Russia, I will specify what are the next plans in both areas.

In Munich we are trying to build an ecosystem channel in Slack, since in person events are off limits for now because of COVID. At the same time I am building a community of Mindshifters — people who want to change their approach to work and develop new personal skills.

In Russia, I am pivoting an education project and want to focus on beginning entrepreneurs as the ecosystem lacks support in that area. We will be doing more mentoring sessions, accelerating ideas with an intensive four-week program with partners (hopefully connect it to TSW when in person events are back). At the same time, we are working with local partners to develop a fast ideas testing tool that can be accessed online in the local language and in English.

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