Startup Weekend European Summit
Last week I had the pleasure of attending the Techstars Europe Summit, convening leaders from the European entrepreneurship community and its supporting ecosystem.
More than 70 community leaders from all over the world came together in Madrid to celebrate their accomplishments and share learnings. Everyone works in their local community to promote entrepreneurship – through Startup Weekend, Startup NEXT, Startup Digest and very recently Startup Week.
I was invited for my participation in Startup Weekend, a global grassroots movement of active and empowered entrepreneurs encouraging people to “launch a business in 54 hours”. Last year we held the first Startup Weekend Youth Edition in Europe, aimed at young people 16-21 from the borough of Westminster passionate about enterprise. We’re proud to say that over 60 young people registered for the event and one of the teams formed that weekend, Talvin, has continued working on their startup one year after and is pitching at their University’s enterprise competition next week. Needless to say, we’re super impressed by the power of young entrepreneurs!
Just like Impact Hub, Startup Weekend is a massive community of passionate entrepreneurs, with 2.9K+ events under their belt in over 150 countries and 580 cities around the world. We’re also united by a sense of purpose: measuring success through the impact of the entrepreneurs we support. As David Brown, Managing Partner of Techstars said, “Ultimate indicator: Are we creating great companies in the end and are they changing the world – as in, creating sustainable businesses and creating jobs?”.
There was so much happening that weekend it’s hard to know where to start: tracks on how to build local and pan-european communities, workshops on facilitating high energy events, hearing from inspiration journeys of Spanish entrepreneurs and how they’re innovating within their enterprise ecosystem, and a brilliant AMA (Ask Me Anything – my new favourite acronym) with Marc Nager, founder of Up Global and David Brown, Managing Partner at Techstars.
The big news centred around the merger of Up Global, who used to manage the Startup Weekend umbrella, and Techstars, considered one of the best (and largest) startup accelerators in the world. There were concerns from community leaders over what it meant to join a for-profit company whose operations are concentrated in the USA, but at the end of the day, David Brown summed it up pretty well – Techstars isn’t evil, they want to support a holistic entrepreneurial journey and they realise that investing in the early stage, grassroots community is a critical part of that. Impact Hub could learn a lot from how others are collaborating to provide stronger enterprise ecosystems.
And the best part of it? The people! Can’t wait to see all of these crazy people again next year.