Board a cruise ship in Helsingør and step off two days later with your own business plan to take over the world. That's the basic concept behind Startup Weekend Oresund, which will set off on Friday October 23rd and sail between northern Denmark and the southern Swedish city of Helsingborg.
The main goal of the meeting is to empower new entrepreneurs, so the weekend boat trip is tailored to kick-start ideas and develop businesses.
“This is the second edition; the first one took place in 2014. We expect around 80 to 100 attendees this year,” Jakub Kowalczyk, one of the organizers of Startup Weekend, told The Local.
Startup Weekend Oresund is designed to create a unusual space in which to grow business ideas. On the ship, participants will pitch their concepts and then assemble teams to bring them to life. A panel of experts will then judge the competing ideas and crown a winner.
“A boat provides a different atmosphere than the office space we are all too used to. You can't just leave whenever you want you, but you can take walks out on the deck and use the sea air to freshen up your tired mind,” Kowalczyk explained.
“It is an extremely unique working environment, which facilitates what we want to achieve: providing lifetime experiences,” he added.
The event is part of growing efforts to boost the startup scene in what is known as the Öresund region in Sweden and Øresund in Denmark, which encompasses parts of both countries divided by the Öresund strait.
On the Swedish side, the area already boats a strong gaming industry. It is the birthplace of games including The Division and World in Conflict and companies such as Ubisoft Massive are inspiring the development of smaller creative startups. The first milk carton, the first artificial kidney, and even the first portable phone also trace their roots back to the region.
However the startup scene in Öresund remains much less developed than that in the Swedish capital, which is now second only to Silicon Valley in terms of billion dollar companies per capita, according to a recent report from investment firm Atomico.
Startup Weekend Oresund will gather both technical and non-technical entrepreneurs, and in addition to the idea contest, participants will be able to benefit from brainstorming sessions, business plan development advice, and feedback and talks from industry leaders.
The winning team of Startup Weekend Oresund will be rewarded with a 12-week global startup programme at THINK Accelerate in Helsingborg. They will score access to an international network of mentors, business coaches, and top investors – not to mention free services worth an estimated $270,000 (1.75m kroner) from Microsoft, IBM and Amazon.
However organisers say that the core achievement will be the chance to turn idea into a viable and real business plan.
“The most important thing is the motivation needed to take action and to have a team and the means to make your actions worth taking. Participants provide the ideas and we provide excellent teams and the possibility to make their ideas become reality,” Kowalczyk said.