The last two Startup Weekends I took part in had no videos, so it’s great to see an overview video of this year to better explain what Startup Weekend is. Many seem to be confused when I explain what it is, but now you get to see the setting it took place in and how every project was graded. I look forward to see the 3 winning projects flourish to become businesses one day.
It’s news like this that boost up the start-up community in Kuwait and inspires ambitious youth to pursue building a business. Talabat announced they’ve won the Deal of the Year award by CEO Middle East Awards. I’ve personally took part in a startup and it went terrible due to the government not having a proper infrastructure for start-ups to excel and grow. You basically need to have a big chunk of money, if you plan on being a legal business. Hopefully, this is changing.
I love startup weekend, it brings so much value to everyone that participates in it, for free. It’s an event that takes place worldwide where ideas and people who can make them come together. Developers, designers, entrepreneurs all come together in one place. Those with an idea have 60 seconds to explain their idea on stage. From there, teams are formed to make those ideas come to life.
In 2013 I came as a blogger but ended up being part of a team, we got 2nd place. In 2014 I came back to participate and got 1st place. Since I’ve reached my goal, this year I wanted to be an instructor but unfortunately I will be out the country when the event will take place next week.
Thursday, September 17 – 19, 2015
Event starts at 4:30 pm
Al Tijaria Tower, 35th floor
Kuwait City, Kuwait
To register click [here].
This is a concept that I’ve been waiting for to happen in Kuwait for a long time. There basically a place where start-ups can meet, discuss, learn and even rent out an office for a super cheap price there (Incubator). They do seminars and offer a variety of services that can boost a startup’s performance.
There offices a fairly small but they can do the job for a 2 – 5 people start-up. There offices range from KD 60 – KD 150 renting fee and considering the cheapest you get for an office in Kuwait is around KD 300 it’s a good bargain, that’s not mentioning all the free services that come with it like a meeting room.
The down side to their offices are they don’t come with a business licence for your startup, although I heard they now offer that service for a fee. They also rent out offices on a hourly or weekly basis if needed.
You can check their instagram account for upcoming seminars, I think they have one every week or every month. It’s a cool chill out place too, I always want to sit on that hanging chair on the right but it’s too awkward next to people. They have a small kitchen that serves snacks which is nice as well.
If you’ve guys been reading my blog for well over a year you’ll know that I participated in Startup Weekend 2013. I’m not going to explain what Startup Weekend is in detail as I’ve already done that last year but I’ll summarise. Group of people gather up, some people pitch an idea, other people join their team and work endlessly throughout the weekend to get a prototype ready with a presentation.
By Saturday the presentation and prototype should be ready to pitch to a group of judges that will rate you based on different categories including how inclined they are to invest in your project if they were to. Last year my teams concept was to have a Diet App that allows you to pick a restaurant in Kuwait then pick which diet you’re going with and it will tell you what meal to order.
My team managed to get 2nd place last year, this year however I was aiming for 1st place with a new concept. After working day and night with a team of developers and a business developer I was ready to pitch our concept with a functional android app prototype, we got 1st place. Now that I got what I was aiming for I’ll probably be a mentor on the next Startup Weekend to help competing teams.
I won’t get into too much detail on our project because we are currently in the works of financing the whole thing and making an actual business out of it, something I’m excited about. It’s an app that allows you to browse, book and pay for specific locations in Kuwait. I’ll reveal the curtains once the app is launched and ready to be marketed.
I encourage everyone to join the next Startup Weekend, you get a super productive weekend, meet new people and learn a ton of information about financing a business, validating your customers, validating your features as well as pitching a great presentation in less than 5 minutes. These are the type of contests that everyone leaves a winner because everyone gains so much.
It’s also worth noting Startup Weekend is a worldwide event that takes place in over 50 countries including the GCC. It’s powered by Google and sponsored by Coca-Cola and Amazon. I noticed this year their were more ideas (31 pitched ideas in total) and more teams competing for the prizes, I’m expecting the next Startup Weekend to be bigger.
During start up weekend they were offering Malabar Coffee, I never tried it previously and I call it super coffee because of its unique brewing technique. They use a slow filtering method but once the caffeine hits your system your eyes are wide open for a decent amount of hours. It was so strong I ended up rolling in bed for an hour. So I recommend having it before 3pm. To find where they currently have a booth you can check their [instagram account].
I came to Startup Weekend because I liked the concept. It’s an event that takes place worldwide where ideas and people who can make them come together. Developers, designers, entrepeneurs all come together in one place. Those with an idea had 60 seconds to explain their idea on stage. A few took stage to talk about business start ups like Dr.Naif.
Soon after that everyone with an idea stood in a selected area holding a big banner with the name of his idea. He would then be approached by people to join his team. I initially came to take a look but got so excited I was already in a team with an idea I liked before I knew it. Thought I might as well have a productive weekend.
Every group had the weekend to come develop a presentation of the full roll-out of how each group is going to make an idea a business. We kept getting approached by coaches, each giving us advice in a different category be it finance, marketing, design etc. What I loved about this whole concept is it teaches you how to make a business while you make one, not in a classroom where learning is one thing and applying is a whole different scenario.
I was the designer in our group, worked on the logo and layout of the application. The idea is to make an application where it lets you select the diet your on and the restaurant you’re in, then it selects which dishes are best for you based on your diet. MyDiet is the temporarily name of the application while we come up with something else, ideas?
At around 6p.m on Saturday it was time to present the idea with a presentation and preferably a prototype which we worked hard on. The judges rated the ideas on whether they would work or not, make money or not and how well they do against competitors. There were 11 groups in total each with a unique idea hoping to become a business.
We got 2nd place which I’m very happy with (Prize: 1st place: KD 1000, 2nd KD 750, KD 400). MeBlogging was actually part of the team who won 1st place with her concept Cameralized. It’s an online directory of all the photographers in Kuwait and their work, additionally if you like a photographers work you can book him online.
I have learned so much in so little time about starting a small business, how to maintain it and how to market it from this event. I recommend everyone with any skill to take part on their next event, even if you only have an idea. We’re going to continue with MyDiet app and we’re estimating a the launch to the app on Android an iOS in 3 months time.[Website]