Startup Weekend: Backed by Google and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Is it possible to launch a successful startup from scratch in only 54 hours? With the logo, “no talk, all action” Startup Weekend events bring entrepreneurs and supporters together and teaches them how to share ideas, form teams, build products and launch companies, all during a 54-hour crash-course weekend.

Sounds too good to be true? Well, but it is possible and the most innovative companies in the world are backing the idea. Google is the main sponsor of Startup Weekend . According to Techcrunch, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged $250,000 to the Startup Weekend EDU series of events, the dedicated education-focused vertical within the non-profit. Finally, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, turned Startup Weekend into the one of its affiliates.

Startup Weekend was founded by Sylicon Valley legend Andrew Hyde in July of 2007 in Boulder, Colorado. By the end of 2010, Startup Weekend had built a network of over 25,000 alumni, 150 volunteer organizers and 60 trained facilitators spread across more than 100 cities in 30 countries.

Last weekend, I attended a startup weekend in Paris hosted by ESCP Europe Business School and focused in Social Business. Basically, participants had 54 hours to launch a startup in the domain of Social Business; around 100 participants (mostly students of France’s oldest business school), 35 ideas pitched and 12 teams formed with the best projects. To pull off the event, Startup Weekend teamed up with two actors of social innovation based mainly in France: NOISE, a european association that empowers students to become changemakers and MAKESENSE, a movement created to help social entrepreneurs with more than 170 « gangsters » around the world.

I had the chance to interview two coordinators of the event: Maeva Tordo and Paulo Monteiro, members of NOISE and MAKESENSE. Find out what they told me in the DECOUPLING blog.

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About Ricardo Geromel

Ricardo was born and raised in Brazil but also has Italian citizenship. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business management from Fairleigh Dickinson University. This erratic blogger is a master candidate in Paris at ESCP-Europe, but presently in a gap semester. He speaks five languages and has worked as project manager for Bolloré Group in Guinea Conakry, West Africa and as agricultural commodities trader for Noble Group in Switzerland, Hong Kong, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and Brazil.
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