Jennifer Tough is the Media Manager for the Start-up Weekend Glasgow’s 54 hour hackathon. This exciting event will take place over the last weekend of this month, 25-27th October 2013. The theme is Sustainability with Cleantech.

Future City | Glasgow is providing both a judge: Pippa Gardner; and a mentor: Scott Sherwood. Jennifer tells us more.

Improving our world through start-ups

With new means at our disposal many of us are aiming to carve out prosperous and resilient futures. A large part of that future prosperity depends on how we treat our planet. Unfortunately, environmental decision making has mostly been a top down affair. Much like starting a business was, involving the few rather than the many.

That’s where the Cleanweb movement comes in. We believe the democratisation of entrepreneurship, increases in technology and innovation can be applied to drive massive changes in sustainability. You don’t need to be a venture capitalist, the head of an NGO, or a hydrogen fuel cell specialist. Your idea to make the walk to work more fun (and drive business to a cafe along the way) could be in the hands of thousands of people. You can be responsible for reducing greenhouse gases, improving air quality, and perhaps regenerating the local high street while you are at it.

What happens?

If this is your first Start-up Weekend it can be hard to imagine what the experience will be like. Indeed, every Start-up Weekend will be different and every individual experience will be different within that, but here is an overview idea of how the 54 hours should roll out:

On Friday night we will all start arriving at SocietyM from 5:30pm onwards. Networking starts the minute you enter the venue! Bring along some business cards and start meeting people. After dinner, we will hear from the speakers and then move on to the pitches.  This is an exciting start where people from the audience have the opportunity to pitch their Sustainability/Cleantech start-up idea to the room. There can be as few as ten pitches or as many as a hundred, we keep on pitching until everyone is done!  We do a simple vote of everyone’s favourite three to narrow down the ideas to the top 20%. Individuals then gather around the remaining ideas, discuss feasibility, and identify what they need as far as skill sets and resources to get to work and thus form teams.

Once the teams are formed, they get down to work. SocietyM is available for participants to stay and work as late as they like, so it is a great time for the team to get to know one another, talk about what skills each have, and where to start.

Getting down to it: the 5 states at a Start-up Weekend hackathon

Participants are advised to wake up fresh and ready on Saturday morning for the real work to begin! From this point, the experience becomes unique to each individual. This all depends on the idea you are working on and your role within the team but there are typically five states:

  1. Team Meetings – planning, decision making and status updates.
  2. Whiteboarding –  in groups of 2 or 3 to flesh out an idea or solve a problem
  3. In the zone – working solo to deliver your piece of the puzzle on time
  4. Collaborating with mentors – validating your vision, seeking advice
  5. Cruising – getting amongst the other teams to gather more data, opinions, expertise

Get inspired!

In addition to working on your idea, at times you can take a break to listen to insightful and motivating speakers.

Every experience will be different. The only certainty is that for 54 hours the energy level in the room is going to be super high and you’ll be surrounded by intelligent, talented and innovative people just like yourself.

What better way to spend a weekend?

If you are taking part – either in Glasgow or to advise or support remotely – keep an eye on the Start-up Weekend Glasgow blog and join the conversation on Twitter using #SWG13.

Prize categories

  • Best positive environmental impact
    An overall choice for saving the green planet.
  • Best positive local environmental impact
    Impact for Glasgow specifically.
  • Most likely to change behaviour for an environmental good
    Teach a man to fish kind of stuff.
  • Most commercially sustainable
    Is your idea going to get investment and survive in the market?
  • Most technically innovative
    Impressive ideas.
  • Best low carbon innovation
    A footprint-reducing idea.
  • Most learning demonstrated (by the team over the weekend)
    We’re hoping delegates who come along get a lot out of the experience!
  • Community choice (voted for by the delegates via Twitter)
    Potentially the most feel-good prize to win.
  • Best overall
    And the Academy Award goes to…