Group photo! After 54 intense, fun, and exhausting hours of networking and working on the Startup Weekend projects, Startup Weekend Energy & Sustainability was through. But even after working for an entire weekend, we were clearly energised enough for this group photo to happen. Cheers! Photo by: Tavis David

Startup Weekend Energy & Sustainability: — Great, informative, and most of all: Fun!

You’d be hard pressed to find an event which in its fabric is more tuned in towards providing you with a wide range of possible connections – who are just as eager to connect with you.

This weekend, Startup Weekend was upon us. And oh, what an event! As I personally never before have had the opportunity to attend a Startup Weekend, this was a new experience for me (and I might have had this in common with several of our participants). In any case: New or old to the Startup Weekend community, you can be certain that you’ll find people eager to network and build an idea when you join a Startup Weekend.

For November 1st — 3rd 2019, Startup Weekend Energy & Sustainability was filling up the rooms and hallways of the newly opened Startup Campus. And the topic was one set for the future: We need all the good ideas, products, and concepts we can get — if we are to meet a future where climate change is an ever-growing worry. And the Startup Weekend participants who joined us at Startup Campus were certainly ready to make a change for climate.

Lars André Møen from the team Kill the Watts — which was awarded the “Mentor’s prize” and was declared the “Overall Winner” — explains the concept behind the innovation they created: Kill the Watts tackles the problem of household energy consumption. People are becoming more aware there is a climate problem, but how should we engage consumers to actual action? Kill the Watts wants to empower the consumer through a mobile app, to visualise and engage with their energy consumption data to their entire household.

I really liked Startup Weekend Energy and Sustainability. It’s an important task to keep inventing solutions which makes our future as good as it can be. What really made Startup Weekend Energy & Sustainability was the quality of the mentors, they gave me an impression that they would really like us to succeed with our idea/project, and that was really motivating.

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Come for the breakfast, stay for the community

Some might join a Startup Weekend thinking about all the goods they can get if they receive the “Best idea”, “Best Pitch”, “Mentor award”, or succeed in being awarded the “Overall Winner” prize. However, here’s a secret that isn’t so secret after all: The network you get at this event is your actual prize. How many people will you interact with, and what will your takeaway from these meetings be?

Possibly unique to Startup Weekend, there’s the rate of which you can network with people during both the early hours and the late evening of a weekend. Come in to a Startup Weekend on a Saturday morning, and you can eat breakfast with your team members. Eat lunch with your fellow Startup Weekend-attendees, where you might get new connections and friendships you never knew you needed. Stay in late for the Saturday evening, and you might get to try what we amused ourselves with: 3D printing! Quite a lot of cats, dogs, penguins, and logos came into reality through the 3D printer we had on loan from OsloMet’s Makerspace. We were all as excited as only Millennials with a free 3D printer can be, and networked over our shared love for technology and cute figurines.

In short, you’d be hard pressed to find an event which in its fabric is more tuned in towards providing you with a wide range of possible connections — who are just as eager to connect with you. As a volunteering event photographer, I managed to connect with quite a few of the attendees in a way I usually don’t get to at the average weekend party.

One of the other winners, Eqsel, is a team working on Edtech about energy in Norwegian elementary schools. They want to take the educational content and make it interactive, collaborative and have some elements of gamification. And at the end of this Startup Weekend, Eqsel won the prize for “Best Pitch”. Sindre Sjøthun was part of the team, and sums up his experience as “great, informative, and most of all: Fun!”.

I would recommend a Startup Weekend to anyone who has an idea, but lack the idea to market part. This weekend brought me the value of what could be possible during a weekend: From idea, product, marketing, customers, business model, powerpoint, to the pitch. It it all connected. But as a developer full team, my skills was not used in a new way, yet I learned many new skills — such at constructing a one liner!

But with all the networking and socialising, you might sometimes just need a break: Sjøthun suggests adding a “cooldown” period in between the mentors, avoiding a situation where the team would go from one discussion to another.

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The openminded-ness of a Startup Weekend

But not only does Startup Weekend bring in networking opportunities, it also brings in knowledge and skillsets that take years to form. I’m talking about our mentors and judges, who we (literally) had plenty of. They gave of their time, knowledge, and experience — offering their best advice for how to make each team succeed at their Startup Weekend project.

As I got to walk in and out of each team having both intense discussions and peaceful work sessions, I also got a bit of insight on their thinking. When a team member said she had misunderstood a group task, the others would disagree: “You might have seen something we didn’t”. It’s an admirable mindset, and one we all should work towards.

And the winner of the “Best Idea” prize — Marine Charging — saw something the other teams didn’t. The team has a vision of an emission-free maritime industry where they tackle the problem of charging infrastructure for electrical vessels. Kirill Vankov is part of the team, and says the event made him eager to pursue entrepreneurship further.

Startup Weekend was a great opportunity to meet new people and test new ideas. Everyone who wants to try him-/herself in the shoes of entrepreneur should try it. The most value I got from the event was the network from the industry. We are eager to discuss the next steps for how to make our team into a startup.

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Cheering for the ideas of others

Møen from Kill the Watts says the team has yet to decide whether or not they will pursue the project further as a startup, but that this is something they’ll need to discuss. The fact that one of their team members lives in St. Petersburg doesn’t make collaborating easier (but this situation is in fact a rather common one at many Startup Weekends).

Møen says he learned a lot during the weekend — and that people’s willingness to cheer for the Kill the Watts idea was “a real eye-opener”. He suggests adding a brainstorming session to the Startup Weekend program, as not everyone had prepared an idea in advance (and we can all make good use of having an abundance of ideas).

I would recommend a Startup Weekend to anyone who are eager to learn and develop themselves. You have to be openminded, meaning that the idea you have might not work out that well in all scenarios, so you must be willing to accept that some ideas of yours are not feasible.

Now that Startup Weekend is though, you might be missing Startup Campus a little. After all, we are working tirelessly to make sure you get the homey feeling which makes you want to stick around — and so we would of course like to see you again, many times! Click here to read more about our various memberships and office sizes.

Startup Norway

Supporting the startup ecosystem since 2011 with support services like AngelChallenge and Startup Extreme.

Benedicte H. Tandsæther-Andersen

Written by

Content Creator of Startup Norway (Angel Challenge and Startup Extreme). Email: benedicte @ angelchallenge . com

Startup Norway

Supporting the startup ecosystem since 2011 with support services like AngelChallenge and Startup Extreme.

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