Role of the Facilitator

Facilitators are members of the Startup Weekend community who are past or current Startup Weekend organizers. They are Startup Weekend experts and have undergone training to properly manage the tone, flow, feel, and logistics of Startup Weekend. Their role is to support your team and make sure everything goes smoothly during your event. They’ll bring the energy, help with crowd management, represent our global partners, and emcee the event. They help our organization ensure all events have a consistent level of quality across the world and they’re an extra level of support to help make your event a success.

Once you’ve successfully organized two Startup Weekends, you are eligible to apply to become a Startup Weekend facilitator. If you are eligible and interested, head over to Become a Facilitator to learn more.

Facilitator Assignment

Your regional manager is responsible for assigning a certified Facilitator to your event (usually 1-2 months prior your event date). When selecting from our database of facilitators, our key priority is finding somebody within your region in order to minimize travel costs. Once we’ve found a good candidate who’s willing to come out to the event, we’ll introduce him/her to you so you can begin communicating well in advance. The facilitator should serve as an extension of the Startup Weekend core team—use them as a resource for advice and assistance! Remember, facilitators are event organizers themselves.

Your team is responsible for fundraising to cover the travel and housing of your Facilitator. While this might sound like added stress, it’s one of the most important opportunities you bring to your participants: exposure to a fellow organizer and entrepreneur from another community who can help your teams build their dream business! All travel itineraries and budgeting should be worked out between you and the facilitator, not Startup Weekend core team. Be clear with the facilitator what kind of budget you’ve allocated, and help him/her try to minimize costs by finding cheap accommodation. For more information on reimbursement, see the Reimbursement/Expense Submission Form in the Organizer’s Toolkit.

Facilitator Responsibilities

The facilitator is first and foremost at the event to support the local organizing team, ensure that all attendees have a rich, positive experience, and uphold the tried-and-true Startup Weekend experience. In a nutshell, the facilitator is responsible for:

  • Addressing attendees and managing key event processes (pitches, voting and team-forming, games, etc.)

  • Representing Startup Weekend to the community

  • Representing global and regional sponsors

  • Interfacing with speaker/judges/coaches/sponsors

  • Ensuring event information is clearly communicated

  • Managing the weekend’s tone

  • Keeping the event on schedule

  • Supporting the organizer(s) prior to and during the event. This can range from sharing their wisdom from past event experience, cleaning the venue, or dealing with disgruntled attendees. While they do have some well-defined tasks and responsibilities, Facilitators provide general ancillary support to ensure that the responsibilities of the organizing team are met.

Keep in mind that the facilitator is not trying to “steal the show” from you, but rather trying to ensure that your event exceeds all expectations. It’s common for facilitators and organizers to take turns on the microphone. If there are specific things you’d like to present yourself, communicate this to the facilitator beforehand so you can work out a joint speaking agenda.

Facilitator Tasks 

Pre-Event: Preparation

  • Helping the local organizing team arrange and prepare the venue

  • Arranging any travel and accommodation as soon as possible

Friday: Kick-Off

  • Coordinating/presenting the introduction and Friday slide deck

  • Leading ice-breaking games (if applicable)

  • Managing the pitch process

  • Managing the voting process

  • Managing the team formation process

Saturday: Building

  • Working with teams

  • Managing the coach-team matching process

  • Keeping up the energy—playing music, scheduling team status updates, etc.

Sunday: Presenting

  • Welcoming and briefing judges

  • Leading the presentation kick-off speech

  • Managing awards and prizes