This weekend 125 people from more than 30 countries spent a few days discussing how Startup Weekend could have a positive impact on our global economy. Sounds crazy? The Kauffman Foundation is willing to bet $400,000 we are not. They have provided a three year grant which allowed the StartUp Weekend team to expand to 8 full time staff members.
This small team, will in turn provide support for hundreds of StartUp Weekend events around the world. How? That was what the summit in Kansas City this weekend was about. The group was a mix of start up weekend junkies and rookies, each of whom had committed to be an event organizer or curator of the startup digest in their community.
As a local organizer, I had a chance to exchange ideas with my counterparts from places like Singapore, Prague, Spain, Japan, Canada, and Austraila. Despite differences in age and culture, the unifying theme was clearly a common passion for expanding the world wide entrepreneurial community. We each believe that is where true job creation will be in the years to come.
One of the most amazing stories was the recap of the first Israel/Palestinian joint StartUp Weekend. Despite a daunting list of obstacles and serious security concerns more than 100 Israelis and 30 Palestinians spent 54 hours together. The conversations were not about politics, they were about technology.
With the new funding from the Kauffman Foundation, StartUp Weekend can expand it’s mission of bringing Experiential Eduction to Entrepreneurs. While real businesses do emerge from the weekend, Start Up Weekend is not a StartUp Factory, it is an Entrepreneur Factory. And we need more entrepreneurs.
I am excited about the possibilities world wide and I am looking forward to going back to Kansas City a year from now, to reconnect with friend, and meet hundreds of others, as the event grows from 100 to 1,000 . Until then, I am focused on StartUp here in Indiana. Want to learn more? Go to: http://www.startupweekend.org and http://www.indianapolis.startupweekend.org