Startup Weekend Skopje for me was the first ‘startup event’ I have attended in my hometown. September 2014 and I remember it like it was yesterday… It was a turning point for many people I have met there, as well for me. What kind of impact it had on me, I have shared in Story about my city… Skopje and since then, I have never missed to attend and support Startup Weekend. But, who knew that there will come a day, when I would be able to meet one of its co-founders…
Through the SECO Entrepreneurship programme that is implemented by Swisscontact, as an eco-system advisor, the #MKstartups community will be able to closely collaborate with StartUp Weekend’s very own- Franck Nouyrigat. We’ve all got the memo that he is coming to Skopje exactly on his Birthday and we did organize a welcoming and Bday celebration for him.
Since he will be spending two weeks here, we’ve agreed to do two blog posts, where for the first we’ll be sharing his story and for the second more about his experience with the #MKstartups community. Excited to have the opportunity to share his story, I have prepared many questions for him. But firstly I was interested to find out more about the story behind Startup Weekend… how it all happened for you?
“Startup weekend as a non profit started out of a small apartment in Seattle. We were 4 people living there, our condo had a view on Washington lake, from where we could see Bill Gates house everyday. Another fun fact, as much as a caricature as it seems we actually raised our first large amount of money by writing a budget on the back of a napkin. When you launch a business, things are usually scrappy and truly these were some of the best time we ever had!
We had the vision from the beginning, startup weekend started as a for profit launched by Andrew Hyde, we saw a larger community potential as a non profit, and acquired it back in 2009. Another fun fact is that we are a big family, startup weekend is now part of Techstars and Andrew is now leading startup week, another great program he created. We had a lot of internal debates with our community about it, ultimately I see a greater potential teaming up with Techstars. Back to our core values, I think of Techstars as the community behind it…people like David Cohen, Brad Feld, David Brown… Mary Grove who runs google for entrepreneurs is still involved to actively bring more diversity / women to entrepreneurship. We want startup weekend to stay independent from corporate sponsors, and building a new economic model that made sense is what motivated the merger. I guess what made me the proudest were startup weekends like the one we had among Israeli and Palestinians, or startup weekend in Favelas or the one during the revolution in Egypt… I believe entrepreneurship is a universal value of freedom and peace.” – says Franck.
We all know that Startup Weekend is in more countries than Starbucks and that’s a fact. I was curious to find out Franck’s opinion on what was the key factors for startup weekend to reach this success?
“The KEY is to empower and trust people who you don’t know, but who naturally come to you to help, it is as simple as that. Passion is key and nothing is more key to success than fostering it at a global level. Success comes from Latin and it means to reach a goal. I never think in terms of success or failure. My framework is the story. Am I building a great story? Am I helping others to build a great story. Stories have failures and success… What you want to avoid is a boring story where nothing happens” – said Franck.
Now, he is focusing on his new startup called ReCorp… but firstly I wanted to hear the most important advise Franck got up to this point and what kind of accomplishment he is aiming for with ReCorp ?
“I never really listened to advise, but I’ve learned a lot from my mentors : Seneca / PT Barnum / Richard Feynman / Ray Croc …I’ll just share the same advice Seneca gave to Lucius in the letters about the shortness of life : “The part of life we really live is small. For all the rest of existence is not life, but merely time.” – unknown poet…
After working for more than 6 years helping entrepreneurs climbing the startup ladder, we ended up structuring a great grassroots ecosystem. Now, more organizations have joined and it has never been easier to start a company. But what about recycling talent? In an industry with more than 90% transition it is important to think of the value we let go. It’s harder to launch a startup than having an MBA from Harvard. On the other hand, large corporations are facing a massive risk of being killed, and I believe this is terrible for the economy. Mixing both worlds will allow us to change the way large companies allocate their capital. Ultimately at ReCorp we want to scale Elon Musk and unleash the power and energy of intrapreneurs.” – adds Franck.
It is a real pleasure having Franck in our country. He is very dedicated in helping the development of the #MKstartups community. Soon, you can read another #StartUpSelfie where he will share his experience from working with all stakeholders and much more…