StartupWeekend Helsinki

25 Nov


Today’s shining Monday and I should have been remembering my impressions from a StartupWeekend Helsinki event:  But I’m not. To be more specific I was present at the event only during the first day when all participants were familiarizing with each other and forming teams. Among 107 people around 30 persons were presenting their startup ideas in  a form of a 1 min pitch (short oral presentation without any slides or other additional tools). Afterwards everyone had to vote for the idea he or she would like to work on the following Saturday and Sunday days. Those top 15 fellows who got most of the event attendees’ votes were supposed to build up teams and work on creating a minimum viable products of their ideas. It might be a website, application prototype or a thoroughly described ready-to-sell service/item. Sounds good, doesn’t it? But. There’s one aspect, which in my opinion is not fitting such kind of events at all. The voting process was based on a simple number of participants without any judges’ or organizers’ influence. No surprise, that among 15 ideas taken forward for Saturday were “Let’s empower educated Africa” and “Ethiopian Web Portal”. Don’t take my thoughts wrong – I don’t have anything against this, quite opposite – I do support African education and economical growth and integration in the world development (one of my previous office close coworkers in Kyiv was originally from Angola, a great guy!). It’s just that there’s nothing new about these statements: helping people in Africa through educational programs or by creating web sites is kind of a job international development and charity organization do, not business projects! A successful business might/should give some of their revenue to charity, but it cannot be a business idea – supporting others for free. The reason small startups spring into existence is being new, worthy to work on and financially beneficial. Helping people and creating national internet portals worldwide is a great thing, but how will some entrepreneur get clients ready to pay for such more governmental obligations?

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