An overall successful all-Slovenian Start-up Weekend

Day 25. November 2013 posted Stanislava Vabšek

More than 300 students with 82 business ideas spent the entire weekend developing their business ideas and the corresponding business models, thus creating their career future. 

At the national event Start-up Weekend Slovenia, which took place from November 22nd to 24th 2013 in five cities at six different locations across Slovenia, more than 300 students were developing their business ideas and creating their career future. The student teams built a prototype and a business model of their solution in one weekend, under the careful leadership of experienced mentors and skilled entrepreneurs. They also set the foundations for future development of an idea into a company. 
Start-up weekends are intensive interdisciplinary events focused on implementation of business ideas. At the same time, they are fun weekends at which students develop their business ideas following the most modern methodologies, such as, lean start-up and business model generation. These are the methodologies taught by the best business school such as Harvard, Stanford, MIT and others.
More than 50 educational institutions participated
The interdisciplinary teams, consisting of students from 43 different Slovenian faculties and 9 higher education institutes, were competing in who will be able to create the best prototype or business model of the company in an incredibly concentrated amount of time (in two or three days). The prototype or business model were also market tested.    

  You can find the highlights of the Start-up Weekend at:             
Technology park Ljubljana (Ljubljana)
University incubator Ljubljana  (Ljubljana)
Venture Factory (Maribor)
Technology park Primorska  (Nova Gorica)
Business incubator Podbreznik (Novo mesto)
University development centre and incubator Primorska (Koper)

Course of events
First, the participating students were encouraged with motivational addresses by successful and experienced entrepreneurs from individual regions. They revealed their business story to the students and gave them useful first-hand advice on how to start the demanding business work and build a successful company.
The students then had an opportunity to present their business ideas and convince participants that their idea is worth future development. After the presentations, participants voted for the best ideas and based on the number of the participants, a certain number of ideas with the most votes was chosen. The leaders of the groups then had to choose a team of individuals with different profiles and start with work.
Interdisciplinary teams of students from different faculties were formed, wherein each member contributed to the better realization of the idea with his or her knowledge and ideas. Students acquired all the necessary knowledge and instructions for successful development of the company’s business model. On the last day of the competition, they presented the results, which have included the prototype, Business Model Canvas, the draft of the sales website, the survey amongst the potential clients and a PowerPoint presentation.  
Business mentor Lojze Bertoncelj, who spent the entire weekend monitoring the progress of individual teams in Ljubljana, said: “Students are perfect and very modest. They need little space, some pizza slices, some cans of energy and an entire weekend of time. They have all the necessary energy and are ready to learn. It sometimes takes real companies weeks for what students can do in a good two days. I am truly grateful to them for an incredible experience of the weekend gone by.”
Student entrepreneurship winners
On the last day of the competition, the committee – consisting of mentors, entrepreneurs and representatives of risk capital funds – announced the winner at each of the locations. The winning teams were:

  • Ljubljana (Technology Park Ljubljana): team de TENS – application for electro simulation of muscles via smartphones
  • Ljubljana (University incubator Ljubljana): team HerbTank – selfsupplying aquaponic system for home use
  • Maribor: an oven with smart glass
  • Nova Gorica: FOREST SPIRIT – brand of excellent hunting clothes
  • Koper: Prototype S of a multifunctional student desk
  • Novo Mesto: Helth E – application for helping consumer choose healthy foods

 Excited opinions of the participants

Students in Ljubljana said the following about the weekend full of developing entrepreneurial and creative thinking, team work, positive energy and desire for new skills:
“The start-up weekend was an excellent opportunity for learning from the best. I very much value the organisation and support of mentors. And I’m very happy I had such a cool team with which it was really nice to work. I learned once again how important it is that a team goes out on the street and checks the idea, as well as that there is chemistry and friendliness amongst the team members,” said Katarina Jazbec, participant at Start-up Weekend Ljubljana.
“What I like most is that people thought the same and that we really had a great team. The mentors were very good and they make you find the solution yourself. I’ll gladly spread the news amongst my friends to participate at the Start-up Weekend and I’m definitely coming to the next one,” Karmen Koren, participant at Start-up Weekend Ljubljana.
The purpose of this kind of training is to encourage the creation of innovative business ideas, but mostly to give students tools that are crucial for business and innovative activity today. At the same time, this type of approach is important for the development of soft skills, which are crucial for students’ career development.
The unified business activities for youth, which took place at the occasion of the global entrepreneurship week, is organised by members of the consortium: Institute Ypsilon, Technology park Ljubljana Ltd, University Incubator Ljubljana LTd., Venture Factory, business incubator of the University of Maribor, Technology park Primorska Ltd., University Incubator Primorska Ltd. and Development Centre Novo Mesto Ltd., namely within the programmes of the Initiative Start:up Slovenia, as well as 47 higher education institutions, within five university and higher education centres. The implementation of the project was enabled by the public agency SPIRIT Slovenia and the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology.
The national coordinator:
Elvisa Basailovič, Institute Ypsilon and Technology Park Ljubljana
P: +386 1 620 34 01


Communications and PR Start:up Slovenija
Izvedba: Mojdenar IT d.o.o.