Behind the scenes of Startup Weekend Helsinki

01/31/2016 | By Ekaterina Perfilyeva

This post originally appeared on

Part of the global community

Startup Weekend Helsinki was initiated by great enthusiasts from Aalto University in 2013. Since then more than 10 organisers have been involved in running the events in Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa. To date, 6 Startup Weekends have been hosted in the Greater Helsinki area biannually.

At Startup Weekend Helsinki we are part of the global community of over 150 countries and local chapters of volunteers. Currently we are the only team producing Startup Weekend in Finland but we hope there will be more local communities here in the future! If you have attended a Startup Weekend, you are eligible to join an organising team or start your own chapter ;)

What’s so special?

Startup Weekend is a volunteer movement that is run by an organisation headquartered in the US. It takes super excitement when attending a Startup Weekend + willingness to support your local entrepreneurial community to become an organiser. We have an awesome network of managers, facilitators and peer organisers to support our work.

We enjoy spending our free time on organising Startup Weekend immensely. It is fun, it is exciting, we meet lots of wonderful people. You can’t believe how rewarding it is to see people brainstorming and fighting for their ideas, believing in those and putting zealous effort, coming together in teams and working hard in just 54 hours. There hasn’t been a single Startup Weekend where we wouldn’t be overwhelmed with energy levels in the room!

Every time from scratch?

Every other Startup Weekend is different, of course and each time we start again with defining the topic, potential sponsors and supporters and the time frame. However, we never have to create any content from scratch since Startup Weekend gives its organisers an amazing database of resources which is used globally. That one makes our life much easier.

Organisers also communicate via global organisers Facebook group and Slack, any questions are welcome and there is always support from fellow cities.

General or topical?

A Startup Weekend can be general - participants can pitch any ideas - or topical, where the theme is set in advance. We’ve had both general and topical Startup Weekends encouraging participants to pitch ideas in the areas of sustainability, bioeconomy and health, for instance. It is completely up to us whether to have a topic or not. We base such decisions on global and national trends, cize of the city and time of the year.

It’s more than you think

For an attendee Startup Weekend is 54 hours of ultimate hard work and fun, for organisers - much more hours, a lot of stress but also fun :) Since we spend our time outside of work, it takes us around 4-5 months to produce the 3 day event. A Startup Weekend in Helsinki is usually a collective effort of around 50 people - organising team, volunteers, coaches, judges, sponsors, supporters, speakers and community activists who come together to bring the best experience to the attendees.

Community around Startup Weekend is a core thing for any event - without great support we get from Helsinki’s startup and corporate scene and without the help of our volunteers we wouldn’t be able to host any Startup Weekends here so we take this opportunity to say thank you again and again to all people who have been supporting Startup Weekend Helsinki in many ways!

Get involved

If you’ve attended Startup Weekend before we welcome you to join as organiser or volunteer for our future events! Reach out to us at and let’s move! :)