Got an idea for a social enterprise? Check out Startup Weekend

9 Oct 2019

Grand Canal Dock in Dublin, where Startup Weekend will take place. Image: © spectrumblue/

Techstars is inviting aspiring social entrepreneurs to Startup Weekend, where they can spend 54 hours working on ideas to tackle issues affecting society.

It’s a busy time of year for aspiring entrepreneurs in Ireland, with the annual Techstars Startup Week set to return later this month.

Ahead of the event, Techstars is once again running Startup Weekend Dublin, which gives participants 54 hours to figure out if they have what it takes to build a product, team and, ultimately, a business. This year’s Startup Weekend takes place from Friday 18 October to Sunday 20 October.

The organisers describe it as a space where you can “look for a team, create a prototype of your idea, validate your business idea and receive feedback from experienced entrepreneurs, all in one weekend”.

This year’s event has a particular focus on social innovation. Anyone interested in participating should pitch an idea that they have not previously worked on relating to social, educational, financial or environmental issues, among others.

Social innovation

Daniel Kyne, a previous winner of Startup Weekend, has gone on to become an organiser of the programme, which has been running for eight years.

Kyne began by organising student-specific Startup Weekends in Dublin before going onto facilitate weekend-long events across Europe. He moved away from Ireland for some time, but after returning he led a student social entrepreneurship incubator in DCU, which shifted his focus to social issues.

“Taking place in the new ConsenSys offices at Grand Canal Dock … it will bring together 70 people – some experienced and others completely new to the world of entrepreneurship – all who are interested in creating impact and purpose driven innovation,” Kyne said.

“Whether it’s ideas that tackle climate change and homelessness or one that helps to reduce elderly isolation or improves work experience opportunities for those distant from employment – any pitch big or small that aims to positively change society is welcome.”

Kyne noted that people often feel they aren’t qualified enough to participate in the programme, but Startup Weekend is for everyone – from experienced entrepreneurs to people who have just been toying with ideas.

Tickets to the event include seven full meals over the course of the weekend, benefits and discounts from global partners of Techstars, one-on-one time with mentors, and all of the internet and coffee that can be consumed within the space of three days.

Judges at the event will include Furkan Karayel, founder and CEO of Diversein, as well as Local Enterprise Office business advisor David Connolly.

Coaches and mentors include innovation consultant Serena De Stacpoole; Colin Keogh, a mechanical engineer, designer and innovator; Darya Yegorina, founder of CleverBooks AR for Education; and Olga Filimon-Łęcka, product designer and innovation consultant at Sylon Solutions.

Kelly Earley was a journalist with Silicon Republic