On October 25th 2013, Glasgow welcomed the Start-up Weekend for the second time (the first time being back in May 2013). This global network is made up of passionate leaders and entrepreneurs on a mission to inspire the next generation of innovators. For the first time ever, the event was themed, placing sustainability and Cleantech at the heart of the innovation.

The 54-hour marathon took place at SocietyM in Glasgow’s city centre. The stunningly imaginative, comfortable and relaxing setting welcomed 64 hackers, 15 mentors, 6 judges and 6 organisers. A lot of hard work, little sleep and perhaps too much caffeine powered everyone through.

SocietyM opened its doors at 5.30pm to the delegates who would be calling this place home for the next 48 hours. Everyone checked in and received their goody bags. Wessel Kooymen, the Start-up Weekend Facilitator, introduced the first guest speaker: Chris Adams from Cleanweb. His inspiring talk was very well received by the attendees.

The best ideas

Delegates then pitched their business ideas to convince other hackers to work with them. Each delegate only had a minute to make his or her case. There were 30 pitches in total ranging from turning rainfall into energy, food wastage, eco-friendly transport, sensors, electric vehicles and many more.

Networking started to seek votes from the fellow delegates. It felt like a last-minute dash at a general election. Attendees used a very techy solution to vote: post-it notes. Eleven teams emerged and carved out a space for themselves in the beautiful surroundings of SocietyM. The countdown had started: 48 hours to come up with something awe-inspiring.

Working together

Although the event was a competition with prizes at stake, I was pleasantly surprised by the cooperative spirit and collaboration on Friday evening: hackers were networking and getting to know each other. The mentors took turns to support them, asking questions and sharing their business and technical experience.

Our Future City Glasgow Innovation Lead Scott Sherwood was there offering his entrepreneurial expertise. Some of the judges also spent time with the teams over the weekend. Pippa Gardner, Programme Manager for OPEN Glasgow, was on hand to offer advice relating to open data and behaviour change, looking smart in her prototype hoodie.

It’s all about users

All successful business owners, the skilled mentors reminded the budding entrepreneurs: a business needs customers. To be sure their idea actually had a market; one team ‘Know Your Food‘ hit the streets of Glasgow and the farmers’ market to do some research. They went on to win the award for Best Positive Local Impact.

Attending the Glasgow Start-up Weekend on behalf of Open Glasgow was an exciting opportunity. Look out for Lucy’s impressions on the rest of the weekend and keep an eye out for forthcoming announcements about Glasgow Hackathons coming up in 2014.

Were you there? Did you enjoy it? Are you ready to get your start-up off the ground? Open Glasgow would love to hear from you.