Startup Weekend Amsterdam, an eye-opener to the importance of diversity!


This weekend we were happy to host Startup Weekend Amsterdam at our location in the hart of Amsterdam. The basic premise of the weekend is: Come in, form a team with people you’ve never met before, and learn all about startups, entrepreneurism and collaboration.

The most exciting thing about this weekend is that we get to meet passionate entrepreneurs, the hosts of the event and also many corporate sponsors. My personal recurring point of interest was the cross-over from freelancers to entrepreneurs to corporates, and the lack thereof. In the past couple of years the dutch economy has seen very clear dividers between entrepreneurs, startups, freelancers, small business and corporates. These dividers come in the form of ‘lack of access’. Where corporates still work in buildings with mirroring-windows so you can’t even look inside, freelancers and startups are very good at hosting events where they only speak with other freelancers and entrepreneurs.

Startup weekend forms diverse teams of entrepreneurs and freelancers, where mentors from smaller and larger companies bring in the knowledge from their experiences. All parties drew the same conclusion in the end. Startups, entrepreneurs and freelancers are in desperate need of the resources (knowledge, experience, money, distribution etc.) from smaller and larger companies. In turn, these companies find it extremely hard to innovate, since they’ve grown into complex systems that are often covered in corporate politics. It’s not uncommon for innovation to find a halt internally, at legal and finance departments or with the board of directors.

This growth is apparent in most locations i visit. Attracting all parties mentioned above is step 1, connecting them is step 2. When there’s a startup working on the 2nd floor, a corporate meeting on the 1st, and our lounge is filled with freelancers and entrepreneurs.. how do you build those bridges and connect them? Behold, the serendipity machine:)

This 2 minute recap proves the energy is definitely there, now let’s figure out how to make as many serendipitous encounters as possible!