Greetings Startup Weekend Rockstars!
With the recent announcement of UP Global, I’m writing to make myself available to you all, and to express how excited we are to double down on our commitment to foster startup communities and entrepreneurship.
It has been an incredible journey so far. Many of you have helped Startup Weekend grow over the last couple of years, and many of you have stepped up in the last year or months. What’s constant is that each and every one of you has put in long hours and hard work to create value for your community, and the results have truly turned Startup Weekend into what it is today. It is with great humility, appreciation, and enthusiasm that we continue working with you to make some of the biggest impact on entrepreneurship and economies around the globe with UP Global. I cannot emphasize enough that the reason for our existence is to empower and support you.
The big questions on all of your minds naturally should be, “What’s changing, and what’s next?” We’re excited to be expanding our scope to highlight all functional entrepreneurial activity in your communities. Many of you are involved with several programs at a time, so I believe this will organically develop or enhance what is already in motion. The shift will be gradual and truly dependent on what you as a local leader actually need. Our main focus for the rest of 2013 will be rolling this out in the US, and then expanding beyond. Here are some of the shifts you’ll see over time from us:
Beta Launch: I’m sure you’ve noticed that UP Global’s focus seems US based. This is not the case entirely. We’ve decided it’s best to launch in the US and spend the upcoming months testing and validating UP Global prior to rolling it out on a global level. That was the approach with Startup Weekend and we’d like to iron out the kinks before executing further. Our goal is to be ready to begin launching internationally in 2014. Please do give us feedback and suggestions on how we can do our best at implementing UP Global into your communities around the world.
More Support: Starting in the US, we’ll be adding capacity to our Regional Manager team. Each of you will have one single point of contact for anything related to your region, as well as any UP Global product (Startup Weekend, Startup America, NEXT, StartupDigest), or any other effort in your community. They will be in the trenches with you every day helping to make connections, sharing learnings, supporting third party efforts, etc. We have already started the Regional Manager transition so you should all be acquainted.
Connecting Leaders – Integrating with other program leaders in your communities: Many of you are already involved or have people close to you involved with these programs. Our goal is to move in a direction where “Champion” groups are representative of all the impacting startup initiatives going on in each community, starting in the US with but not limited to Startup America communities. As such, we’ll advocate for having the leaders of key programs participate in the larger discussions as well, beginning, logically, with those ‘in-house’ programs. Of course, we’re not dictating anything. The Champions role and leadership of the effort will remain up to existing local groups.
Regional Offices: We are actively working on opening offices in Cairo and Nairobi.
“Vision without execution is hallucination.” One of the collective learnings from both Startup Weekend and what we’ve learned so far with the Startup America community and operations is that all too often communities are ambitious when getting started but there is no follow up. We will help encourage actionable items that will produce incremental results that add up to real change. As efforts progress in regions, we can then start to tackle the much larger and systemic issues.
Regional and National Summits: Startup Weekend has been ramping up its efforts for regional meetups over the past two years. As we’ve proven with our SOSummit event, the single best way to provide value to you, the community leaders, is to forge amazing relationships with people facing similar challenges and opportunities.
Websites: We’re working hard to combine and improve on the many functions of the various existing sites into a new and improved ‘digital front door’ for your communities & regions. We’ll be working with you all 1:1, but the goal is to create a central, customizable hub that showcases all activity and resources in your area.
Corporate Connections: Starting in the US with the NYSE, we’re forging relationships with with many of the world’s top companies by going in at the highest, executive levels and ensuring that each company has a gateway to connect and support startups. Our goal is to provide a gateway that you as organizers control the deal flow to. Aka. We’ll be looking for you to nominate high potential startups from your local community with invested interests in working with the the worlds largest companies. By the end of the year we will be working with other exchanges around the world to replicate!
With all this being said, I assure you this is just the beginning of our double down commitment! I encourage all of you, no matter what country, to start thinking about what these strategic and tactical shifts mean for your communities. Think about next year’s activity in your community and how you would like us to help you make it a reality!