Last weekend I took part in Startup Weekend Glasgow. There are hundreds of Startup Weekend events across the globe and if you get the chance.. do it! I have zero background as an entrepreneur or a computer programmer, but the event seemed keen to take on designers and despite my uncertainty I went for it.
First night, networking. The event was based in CitizenM, so pretty much everyone I spoke to that evening naturally got an earful from me about the hotel’s design concept – in a nutshell: affordable, luxury hotels made possible by a clever system where the modular rooms are built off-site and actually slotted into the main architectural frame.
After breaking the ice with a few drinks and pizza (free food all weekend – every student’s dream), the organisers introduced themselves and the purpose of the event. This year the event teamed up with Cleanweb Scotland and ran a sustainability theme, ‘using information technology to drive massive improvements in global sustainability, economic prosperity, and human well-being’. Afterwards, 30 people – around half of the participants – went to the front and pitched their ideas in 1 minute.
After a technical system involving post-it notes, the top pitchers were chosen and teams were formed. The pitch that struck a chord most for me was about directly connecting farmers with their customers. I casually name-dropped that my Grandad is a farmer and so managed to make the cut.
What followed was an intense weekend of little sleep and a lot of hard work, all alongside a fantastic team of very talented people. Lots of red bull and tea was drunk, and half the team even spent the night in the office. It was great to see the startup develop and how the problems were overcome – largely thanks to the mentors who were a great help throughout.
By Sunday, after some very last minute work, we had a slideshow ready for the presentations at another great venue – The Lighthouse. It was great to see all the presentations from the different teams, there were some really interesting and innovative ideas. Once the judges had deliberated the prizes were awarded – and our team won the award for Best Positive Local Impact! It was the penultimate prize to be announced, not sure if that means we won 2nd place but that’s how I’ve been telling it!
So, to summarise, Startup Weekend Glasgow was really great and I highly recommend it. I learnt how a business is started, I had a go at applying my skills as a designer in a way I’m not very familiar with and I met some lovely people. Anyone interested can follow us on twitter @knowyourfooduk.