When promoting Startup Weekend, it’s important to communicate a consistent vision to potential sponsors, coaches, and the community as a whole. Here are some messages to help you focus your efforts to educate and energize the community, whether verbally or in outbound promotional materials.
Note: Specific information and templates can be found in the Organizer’s Toolkit.
Startup Weekend is a global grassroots movement of active community leaders and entrepreneurs who are learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures. Startup Weekend organizers and facilitators can be found in hundreds of cities around the world. From Mongolia to South Africa to Canada to Brazil, people around the globe come together for 54 hour workshops to pitch ideas, form teams, and start companies to change their lives as well as those around them.
All Startup Weekend events follow the same model:
Anyone is welcome to pitch their startup idea and receive feedback from their peers.
Teams form organically around the ideas and those that have the most popular votes or team members carry on past Friday night. Each team must have at least three people..
What follows is a 54 hour frenzy of business model creation, coding, designing, and market validation.
The event culminates with presentations in front of local entrepreneurial leaders which presents another opportunity for critical feedback.
Whether entrepreneurs found companies, find a cofounder, meet someone new, or simply learn a new skill that stretches them beyond their usual 9-to-5, everyone is guaranteed to leave the event better prepared to navigate the chaotic but fun world of startups.
First and foremost, Startup Weekend is about experiential education. Participants don’t just listen to theory. They get their hands dirty and put theories to the test by collaborating with like-minded, passionate individuals from a variety of backgrounds and points of view. Participants also receive invaluable one-on-one time with the movers and shakers from their community, as local tech and startup leaders who take part in Startup Weekend as mentors and judges.
It’s important to remember that it’s not just about the idea—it’s about the team. Startup Weekend attracts each community’s best makers and doers, and by spending a weekend working to build scalable companies that solve real-world problems, our participants build long-lasting relationships and may even walk away with a job or an investor. Startup Weekend is hands down the best way to find someone with whom you can actually launch a startup! Quite possibly the most valuable aspect is that not only will participants be integrating with their local community, they will be joining a global community of over 100,000 Startup Weekend alumni with a common mission to change their community and world.
Typical Questions and Talking Points
Most of the questions you’ll be asked during the organizing process are addressed here. Always answer in accordance with Startup Weekend’s official messaging, and if you’re not sure of an answer, consult your Regional Manager.
The Startup Weekend FAQ Page is a great resource. Here we’ll highlight a few points to help you keep them top of mind:
Only seed-stage ideas (no concrete work done) are allowed to be pitched and worked on at Startup Weekend.
More often than not, pre-formed ideas mean that the founder is only looking for people to help building their pre-determined vision. Nobody wants to work on someone else’s project for free and at Startup Weekend. All members start with equal ownership and the ability to shape/change the vision. It’s much easier to have a level playing field if little to no work has been done on the idea beforehand. Participants should be looking for co-founders, not employees
Anyone is welcome to attend, regardless of their experience or background.
Keeping the event open to the public sends a strong message. Startup Weekend isn’t an elitist club. Our aim is to inspire anyone to take entrepreneurial action in their life. Blocking people from entry undermines our mission. We’ve also seen that diverse groups have better outcomes. If your event is an exception to this rule, it will require specific approval from Techstars.
It will be a safe environment.
All attendees should feel comfortable at your event. Our ticketing pages include a code of conduct which requires everyone to be mindful of others. If you see any derogatory behavior at the event, work with your facilitator to address the issue and call in the regional manager as needed.
Can I pitch an idea around a sensitive subject (weed, pornography etc.).
First off, if it’s illegal no. If teams want to work on a legal idea around a scandalous industry, we will not prevent them from doing so. However teams have to be very mindful of how they present the information. We want to keep the event environment safe and open to everyone - which means that Teams who present on scandalous subjects need to ensure that they deliver their material in a mature and professional manner.
No legal documentation or contracts of any kind are allowed during the weekend. Startup Weekend is focused on delivering experiential education and inspiration.
Legally binding documents are for after the event, and should be handled by the appropriate professionals. If this becomes an issue during your event, your facilitator is trained to help attendees resolve the issue.
The issue of IP/ownership should be addressed within the team, as with any startup.
Startup Weekend doesn’t support or take part in the signing of any legal documents at the events themselves, and while mentors with legal backgrounds are often present and able to give general advice, they are not permitted to give specific legal counsel. While it doesn’t hurt to be clear about your individual expectations from the start, we’ve found that teams who don’t spend time addressing this issue until it actually matters (i.e., there is a tangible product to have ownership of) are much more productive and successful than those who do. Every person on the team has rights to any IP created over the weekend. The issue of how to move forward as a team or as individuals should be discussed the day after the event or later.