We are in 2020 and startups have never been so trendy in the past 15-20 years in Switzerland. Despite the fact that concepts like lean startup, value proposition canvas and business model canvas are anything but new – at least for people working in startup environments, many people who have an idea do not know how to start.
I’m facing this problem quite often with my own digital agency, when people come to me with a wonderful project idea, but often no clue on what they should do. Of course, leveraging its own creativity to design a product is often the most attractive and creative task. However, starting with the offering side is always wrong.
First, you need to start with the customer side: what are his/her customer job, pains and potential gains? Once, and only once you’ve defined these assumptions, tested them, iterated and changed them, you should start with the definition of the product. This is a time-intensive task, but at least afterwards, you have reduced the risk of focussing your time and your money on problems that nobody face. Your aim is to invest yourself in offering a “must-have” service/product… instead of trying to sell a “nice-to have” product or service. Which will be expensive to sell and market…
How to accelerate this process?
As you probably know, I’m a huge fan of Startup Weekend. Why? Because In My Humble Opinion, it’s simply the most efficient way to quickly start any project, test it and gather a team.
- complain they cannot find any co-founders. Go to Startup Weekend!
- do not know where to start, as they’ve never done this before… Go to Startup Weekend!
- want to polish their Business Plan (!) before going to potential investors or customers… Go to Startup Weekend!
- dream their project instead of projecting their dream. What is the value of thinking about a project for months/years but never acting? Is there no best allocation of your time / brain power? You’ve understood it by now: Go to Startup Weekend!
I’ve participated to many editions as a jury member (in Lausanne and Neuchâtel) years ago, before organising 5 of them on my own (one in 2012 in Saignelégier, in Biel/Bienne in 2015, 2016, 2018 and 2019).
The new edition of Startup Weekend Biel/Bienne is taking place in June 2020, from 19th to 21st (initial date of March 20th was rescheduled, because of Coronavirus).
Startup Weekend in Biel/Bienne is quite different from the other SW events across Switzerland:
- we limit participation to 50 people
- we have participants from 22 to 60 years old
- higher proportion of people coming from the industry (whatever the industry)
- we do a 3 languages event (Biel/Bienne is the biggest bilingual – German and French – city in Switzerland, to which we add English).
For those who are new here, let me summarise what Startup Weekend is:
48 hours to launch a startup ! Startup Weekend is a hands-on event, where people learn by doing.
I’ve written a small explanation about how it works (below) and here is also a video:
How does it work ?
Startup weekend starts on Friday evening with a pitching session: every participant has the opportunity to present a startup idea in 60 seconds (not more, no slides)!
All the participants receive virtual dollars to invest in 3 projects. After the pitching session, the entrepreneurs do their best to convince people to invest in their startup project (if you’ve never raised money for a project, you’ll learn that you have to fight and be creative, from the beginning!). The 8-10 most funded projects will then be selected, and the project managers / entrepreneurs now have to recruit and motivate a team to work on the project during the weekend.
All over the weekend, participants work on the project, get time to network, learn from entrepreneurs sharing their experience, and are constantly supported and challenged by experimented coaches and entrepreneurs. The goal is to accelerate the development of the startup and to mobilise each people’s energy toward a common goal.
The last hours of the weekend are mostly invested in preparing the presentation to the jury. In less than 50 hours, the ideas are transformed into projects.
Who can attend?
Startup Weekend is open to ANYONE interested by launching a project. It can be a startup, a new business or service, or even launching a new association. There is a focus on entrepreneurship and innovation, but anyone can learn very solid skills in “how to start”. Participants of startup weekend vary from students to top managers, from consultants to housewives or even retired professionals. There is often a focus on web and mobile projects, but it can be really any kind of project.
SW gathers energetic and passionate people, independently from their age, experience or skills.
Startup Weekend is a unique way to bring together people from various horizons with complementary skills and is emulating and boosting creativity, as well fostering synergies and long-term relationships. The weekend is an amazing manner to test its ideas without any risk and have a condensed overview of what the startup journey could look like!
And after Startup Weekend?
Participants are encouraged to participate to the startup & innovation events happening across Switzerland. Many previous participants started their project at Startup Weekend before applying to support initiatives, prizes or attending training workshops to complete their skills.
Around 30% of projects are still alive 6 months after the Startup Weekend and 90% of the participants keep in touch, therefore fostering and developing the startup culture.
REGISTER to Startup Weekend Biel/Bienne on June 19-21, 2020
It's time to act... Register and come to Biel/Bienne to kickstart your project. Or learn how to do for future projects you may have in mind!REGISTER to Startup Weekend Biel/Bienne