Interview with Arturo Guizar organizer of SW EDU in Lyon

08/01/2017 | By Martin Andrle

This post originally appeared on

Hey Arturo, thanks for your time. So tell us, how was the startupweekend EDU in Lyon from the organizer point of view.

It was awesome, but also very challenging to organize. It is not like other verticals because there is a special attention on communication about what is the ed-tech ecosystem. In a country where the education is public, it is not easy to say that you can create a business. So, we have to take a special attention on how we promote this event.

(Arturo in action!)

Why did you decide to organize this vertical? What were your expectations?

Actually, we met a group of motivated students from different universities that wanted to organize a startupweekend since a while. They were very active organizing other events for their respective universities, but they wanted something more, something that could mix several profiles (students and professionals) to tackle the education issues.

So, we had a meeting with all of them and we expected to boost the ed-tech community in Lyon through the organization of this event.

(It's a big thanks to organizing team: Tristan, Anthony, Charles, Alex, Julie, Léa, Marilie, Tatiana, Charlotte, Aude and Baptiste because they did the hard work)

What about the projects? Can you share with us the most interesting ones?

I remember one that I really loved because they were addressing a real problem. It is about how students from high school can decide better their future career.

One of the biggest problems in our system is that young students choose their universities depending on what they studied at high schools. Since very early, they have to get specialized in a specific field, e.g. science, art or literature. But, without having the occasion to test or see other professions. And when you have to choose a university, then you choose the one that follows what you have already started. For instance, if you started in science, then, you will probably choose an engineering school. But, the risk of this system is to be disappointed during your first job. Therefore, the number of people converting to other professions is high.

During the SW Edu, a team proposed a service for students (high school and university) interested in trying internships in different jobs and professions. The biggest challenge for them was that they had to validate the fact that there are companies interested in hosting curious students and pay for a service. So, they actually showed some leads interested by the concept, but the business model needed to be reevaluated.

You mentioned in our previous discussion that you focused only on university problems, why? Isn’t it better to have a broad topic so anyone can come and present their idea which is related to ed-tech in general?

The University problems are already big problems: productivity, orientation, knowledge transfer/management are some of them. Moreover, these ed-tech community has a very specific bunch of experts that would not be good for other problems like kinder or college. Before the event, we spent some time talking with other organizers from US and Mexico (that started this vertical) to understand how to propose a good event. Elizabeth Becerril (from SW Mexico) contribute a lot in this because she told us to be careful on how we promote the event. She didn’t make the filter on topics, and she saw a lot of projects that were addressing interesting problems in education but they were not specifically interested in business. So, we did this choice to propose more quality with a good quality of experts.

Are there any ideas/thoughts you would like to share and we forgot to ask you?

I think that the challenging part was the promotion to attract people working in the academic. So, we got this idea of engaging one of the favorite mathematicians in France to support our event. That’s how we visited one of Cedric Villani’s conference about the human brain to present our event and ask for a photo. And it worked!

Merci Arturo!

And this is us with Cedric Villani (Field Medals) showing his support for our event