- Date: 25 May – 27 May 2012
- Place: Faculty of Economy, Tirana, Albania
- Participants: 54
- Mentors: 9
- Judges: 5
- Idea pitches: 21
- End Presentations: 13
Maybe one of the most successful events in town? Say it out loud!
Everything started just a few months ago, when we, four students of the faculty of economy decided to bring Startup Live to Albania – a first time effort. Having the desire to awake entrepreneurship and leadership between students and Unique Junior Enterprises, we worked hard to organize Startup Live Tirana. At first, things seemed so difficult, but as the time went by, we realized that with some passion and efforts everything could be done.
We decided not to focus on a specific topic in order to gather a lot of students with different backgrounds and ideas. There was only one aim of the Startup Live Tirana: giving young and creative students the chance to present a business idea, develop it, improve on it, and finally presenting it in front of a jury of professionals.
On Friday 25th of May, 54 students checked in to be part of Startup Live Tirana. As the event was new for them, they were eager to know how it worked and in what way Startup Live would help them develop their ideas. To help the participants getting more familiar with the activity, we made a presentation about STARTeurope and how its network is organizing a variety of startup events in Europe. Afterwards, the schedule has been presented and we explained what was going to happen during the weekend. Finally, the idea pitching started: we introduced them to the 90 seconds rule and we expected to have complaints like: I don’t want to pitch because my friends will laugh at me, I have emotions in presenting my idea in front of a lot of people, etc. But nothing of this happened, students were all happy to present their ideas covering various fields from travel agencies to web hosting. Afterwards the team formation started and those who did not present an idea could join a the team of their choice in order to commit a weekend of work to a project. Together they started discussing with each other about Saturday and the amount of hard work they had to face.
After having a morning coffee at the bar in front of the location, productivity began with Can Ertugrul presenting in the name of the STARTeurope organizers. As participants gathered in the class, Can gave a short presentation on how to develop a successful startup. After that, all the mentors arrived and introduced themselves and their various backgrounds like IT, PR, marketing, business development etc. Excited to meet them, students started asking for ideas and improving on the old plans. Mentors suggested different approaches and in this way the ideas improved a lot by iteration. After the break and a delicious lunch, groups and mentors were gathered again. At the end of the day, we realized we had too many ideas that were nearly the same with each other so we had to merge ideas. It was decided that groups with two participants would compete with each other and four out of six teams would have the possibility to continue the competition. It was a long day and the teams were really tired after working hard with their Business Model Canvas.
The big day arrived! Everyone was anxious, even the organizers! The participants joined the class and quickly everyone decided for the best ideas. Finally, 13 ideas were presented in the afternoon. Can prepared a great inspirational talk and a pitching tutorial for the participants and after that the mentoring session have begun and all the teams started working to get ready for the big moment.
After lunch break and some tasty food, at 18:00 the competition started. Thirteen ideas in front of five professional judges. All the participants gave their best. Sure, everyone wanted to know the winners. Anxiety was all around and after discussing with the judges the winning ideas were:
- Innosolve – a website that would provide solutions for local businesses by only entering their needs on the website.
- Eagle Wings – a travel agency that would offer exotic sports for Albanian extreme sport lovers.
- Edesia – a restaurant concept which would include seven different cuisines.
The ideas were very innovative for the Albanian business environment. Apart from the winning team receiving two tickets for the Pioneers festival, the second and the third place were offered internships in Business Albania which is a society gathering hundreds of Albanian businesses.
In a nutshell
Startup Live Tirana was a success in bringing students with innovative business ideas together in three days of coaching, pitching, experience sharing and networking with professionals in the various fields. We noticed from the participants that this activity was very important for them. Albanian students need to get out from theory and start the era of practice where everything is done through “learning by doing”! Startup Live is where they can find this opportunity. Arriving for the first time in Tirana, Startup Live is going to be one of the most important events for students and for them who are interested in the field of leadership and entrepreneurship.
This is the beginning of startups in Albania and we hope it is going to develop every year!
This time it really rocked and it surely will the next!