Startup Weekend Montreal encourages the city to embrace entrepreneurship

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You’re an entrepreneur with a good idea, but you don’t know where to direct your energy. You want to work in tech, but don’t know who to turn to for advice. Want to benefit from the know-how of mentors in the field? Startup Weekend is the event for you.

In no more than 54 hours, it’s possible to develop a project idea, find complementary team members, create a minimum viable product, and maybe even get ready to go to investors. In fact, as well as participating in Startup Weekend to find an idea, you can also test one, find a business partner, or develop your skills. It acts as an informal preliminary step before requesting the services of an incubator or an accelerator.

Startup Weekend is actually the general name of a series of Techstars projects, which work with various organizations to set up activities that benefit young entrepreneurs.

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For instance, this past weekend was the Montreal FinTech Startup Weekend. The week before, Fashion Tech, set up by the entrepreneurial association of HEC Montréal. This encourages networking under a specific theme.

“It’s quite impressive to see how ideas can evolve…Participants are not all confident at first and have a rough idea, and they can complete the weekend with a website and a business plan,” said Nicolas Noyard of the entrepreneurial association of HEC Montréal.

The event brings together people from the entrepreneurial community, as well as professionals, who act as advisors. During the Fashion Tech edition, for example, CEOs, lawyers, tech specialists and financial advisors were included in the list of mentors present.

Although each edition of Startup Weekend, including those in Montreal, is independent of the others, Techstars sometimes suggest partner events. For Fashion Tech, Montreal was linked with the editions in Kuala Lumpur, and Mexico City, in order to strengthen the experience.

“Everyone is encouraged to take an interest in Startup Weekend,” concluded Nicolas Noyard. “Even without any idea, the experience is enriching and exciting.”

Gabrielle Drouin

Gabrielle Drouin

Gabrielle Drouin has completed a master’s degree in Literature specializing in Quebec’s contemporary dramaturgy at the University of Montreal. She worked as a journalist in Toronto, covering the news of its Franco-Ontarian community, and has been reporting on the Montreal startup tech ecosystem since 2016. She is currently the Communications advisor and community relations at HEC Montreal's entrepreneurship hub.