Startup Weekend Colombo is happening

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A few months back, we took a trip to Jaffna. It was an interesting adventure. We saw some amazing sights, made new friends and stuffed ourselves with the famous Jaffna cuisine. But why did we take this trip in the first place? To witness Sri Lanka’s first ever Startup Weekend. It’s only been a few months since Startup Weekend Jaffna ended. But in a few weeks, we are going to witness Sri Lanka’s second Startup Weekend. Yes, Startup Weekend Colombo is happening!

Image credits: Startup Weekend Colombo
Image credits: Startup Weekend Colombo

What is Startup Weekend Colombo and how does it work?

In case you’re lost, Startup Weekend is one of the newest global initiatives to support the Sri Lankan startup ecosystem. This is the largest community of passionate entrepreneurs on the planet. There have been over 1,800 events in 190 countries. Not to mention that 190,000+ people across the globe are Startup Weekend alumni. In short, it’s a massive event, and now it’s Colombo.

As the name suggests, it’s an event that happens over the course of a weekend. It all starts on a Friday, which is the Icebreaker. This is where you introduce yourself, an idea you have and form a team. It’s followed by a Saturday spent on building a startup with your team. That means not just sitting down to code. No, it also involves going out and meeting potential customers to see if they like your idea.

Finally, it culminates in a grand finale, which is a competition. This is where you and your team pitch your startup to a panel of judges. The startup with the best pitch will be crowned, the winner of Startup Weekend Colombo. Come Monday morning, you will wake up having built your very own startup.

The first Startup Weekend in Sri Lanka took place in Jaffna a few months ago. So what can we expect from Startup Weekend Colombo?

A bigger salad of crazier ideas

In Jaffna, we saw a wide variety of ideas. From apps to wearables to a full blown tourist camp, it was a salad of entrepreneurship. However, the most memorable startup was from a group of participants who were monkeying around. Go Monkey was a startup that wanted to give a simple, cheap and effective solution to the monkeys harassing the people of Jaffna. To do so, they designed a system utilizing sensors and a series of alarms. Yes, they were literally involved in monkey business.

So what about Startup Weekend Colombo? Chances are we can expect an even bigger salad. Unlike many other startup events, Startup Weekend is open for startups from any industry. So it’s not solely for techies. And knowing Colombo, we are fairly sure that we’ll see another set of crazy entrepreneurs monkeying around to create a memorable startup or two.

More mentors

One of the most important aspects of a Startup Weekend would be the mentors. Back in Jaffna, we saw many of the mentors giving their fullest support to all the participants. With their advice, all the teams irrespective of their ideas had a basic business plan ready at the end of the weekend. But that’s not all. Additionally, we also saw some speakers attend that gave some valuable insight for young entrepreneurs.

The mentors advising the teams at Startup Weekend Jaffna (Image credits: Malshan Gunawardane)
The mentors advising the teams at Startup Weekend Jaffna (Image credits: Malshan Gunawardane)

Startup Weekend Colombo will likely take this to the next level. It’s got a massive pool of mentors that will be attending. It doesn’t matter whether you need tech support, marketing advice or even legal advice. The mentors at Startup Weekend Colombo bring a wide range of expertise to the table. Whatever issues you have during the event, they’re likely to help you in solving them. For a full list of the coaches & mentors that will be at Startup Weekend Colombo, click here.

An interesting journey and the foundation for a great startup.

At the end of the day, a Startup Weekend is an interesting journey. Back in Jaffna, we saw that many of the participants were initially very shy on Day 01. Nobody uttered a word. However, by the end of Day 03, it was the complete opposite. Everyone was working together, cracking jokes and having a lot of fun. At the end of it, friendships were formed and lessons were learned by everyone.

Anurag randomly drops by a team to check on their progress and more importantly take a selfie (Image credits: Malshan Gunawardane)
While building a startup it’s important to take a selfie (Image credits: Malshan Gunawardane)

Additionally, everyone had their own startup company. And they weren’t in the state of post-hackathon projects. This is thanks to a unique trait of a Startup Weekend. That trait is the encouragement for participants to actually speak with potential customers. This helps validate their idea. In turn, this led to all the teams in Jaffna producing solid business plans. Many of which had data supporting the ideas. Needless to say, Startup Weekend Jaffna left a solid foundation for its participants to build a business.

Irrespective of the results Startup Weekend Jaffna was an interesting journey for everyone. We expect Startup Weekend Colombo to be no different.

Great! When is it happening and how do I sign up?

Startup Weekend Colombo will begin at 5pm on the 7th of October and last until the 9th of October. As with many events these days, it’ll be happening at Trace Expert City. To register, simply click here and fill out this form. Meanwhile, tickets are priced at Rs. 3000 for everyone. The organizers do have discounts. However, this is a volunteer run event. So do consider paying the full fee.

In case you can’t make it, don’t worry. As always, we’ll be attending all 3 days of Startup Weekend Colombo. So be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as we bring you the latest news from Startup Weekend Colombo. For more information about Startup Weekend Colombo, check out the official event page here. 

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