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Techstars MENA and the Startup Weekends

From Q&A session at Startup Istanbul 2015 with Techstars managers and local startup weekends organisers.

If you ask the Techstars Community Chief Officer and other managers in charge of the Startup weekends in their respective countries why they are doing what they do, the reason that keeps coming up is that they enjoy changing people’s lives.

Bringing the Startup weekend events to the MENA region and to Turkey has undoubtedly been an important step in the process of building entrepreneurial ecosystems and learn about them. The aim is to link people together in a sustainable way and the results are there: in Iran 70% of the participants are still in contact and some are working together on ideas they got during the event. For some of the organisers it is also a way to give back to the community. They were lucky enough to have great mentors and went through their own successes, now they want to find and help the next wave of entrepreneurs. They feel that what they are doing has meaning because they are fulfilling real needs. For example 3 years ago, there was a lack of education and networking events in Iran, launching Startup weekends in the country has brought a beginning of solution to this problem.

After each event, which is a 2 and a half day experience, outcome is actually tangible, the trajectory of the attendees’ lives have changed. What drives the mentors is solving problems that governments and big companies fail solving.

Build a world where you would want to be an entrepreneur in, starts by building communities in which you could be an entrepreneur. This is what Techstars is doing in already 130 countries.

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─ March 25, 2016