Organizer Rules and Requirements

We support thousands of events in countries all around the world, which means we’ve seen nearly every possible scenario, good and bad. While we’re not a rule-oriented organization, these guidelines provide a high level of quality and consistency to ensure that your event provides maximum value to its participants. Organizers are expected to abide by the following:

Organizer Requirements

You must participate in a Startup Weekend prior to organizing one of your own.

Simply put, if you haven’t been at a Startup Weekend, it’s impossible for you to deliver the experience to others. Attending an event beforehand will ensure you understand the full attendee experience and give you a better idea of how to plan.

All Organizers are individuals: you cannot organize a Startup Weekend on behalf of another organization, group, or institution without specific approval from your Regional Manager (Nor can a team solely consist of members of the same Organization.)

Grassroots communities are led by individuals, not organizations. We want Startup Weekend to be run by people who are passionate about building their startups and their local community, not by people who are told to do it as part of their job.

Startup Weekends must be organized by a team (not one individual).

Ideally 2 lead organizers and 3-5 other members of the team. Suggested team size is no less than 3 and no more than 8. It takes a lot of effort to create the Startup Weekend experience. Sharing this workload reduces both the pressure on each Organizer and reduces the risk of things going wrong.

Lead Organizers should be prepared to hand over responsibilities to new Organizers after two or three events.

No city should have to rely on the same one or two people to run their Startup Weekend forever. Part of the role of an Organizer is to help cultivate new leaders to ensure your community thrives.

There’s no formal ownership of any city or region (no organizer or team has exclusive rights to a city or community). 

Anyone in the community who meets the organizer criteria is allowed to put on event. In every case, we make sure that any teams close in proximity are connected with each other or teams are at least aware of the new applications in their area before anything is confirmed or authorized by HQ.

Organizers are expected to live within (or close by) the community in which they plan to organize, unless you have prior approval from your Regional Manager. 

As an organizer, we consider your team the local experts. If you are not local, it can be very difficult to find the right resources and people to contact. Not to mention the perks that come from organizing will come from the local relationships you form within your community.

General Event Requirements

All Startup Weekend events must follow the standard 3 day, weekend-long format.

Well, apart from the fact we are called Startup Weekend, this is the format which works. We’ve tested it, a lot.

All events must be open to the public (exceptions require specific approval from Techstars).

Startup Weekend isn’t an elitist club. Our aim is to inspire anyone to take entrepreneurial action in their life. Blocking people from entry goes against our mission. That being said, we’ve developed some tricks to boost event quality while keeping the event open to the public. Let us know if you have any concerns beforehand.

No legal documentation or contracts of any kind are allowed to be signed at the event. 

Startup Weekend aims to deliver experiential education and inspiration. Legally binding documents are for after the event, and should be handled by the appropriate professionals. If this becomes an issue during your event, your Facilitator is trained to help attendees resolve the issue.

You may not organize a ‘themed’ event without prior authorization from your Regional Manager. 

We’ve tried a lot of different formulas and the weekend long formula doesn’t serve some industries very well, unless it is organized under specific guidelines. For all events, we want our Organizers to be setup for success. If we find your team is capable to host the event, we’ll allow it under some additional guidelines.

All Startup Weekends must have a certified Startup Weekend Facilitator chosen by the Regional Manager, and associated expenses must be included within the event budget.

A Facilitator is someone who has organized at least 2-3 Startup Weekend themselves, and is trained to handle big crowds, sticky situations, and effectively deliver the Startup Weekend experience. This helps our organization ensure all events have a consistent level of quality across the world. You can think of your Facilitator as an extra level of support to make your event a success.

No Startup Weekend should have more than 125 active participants.

We’ve found that event quality starts to decrease once an event reaches more than 125 attendees. Bigger events mean there are less resources available to attendees (and it can be very overwhelming to have everyone sit through 25 presentations on Sunday night).

Only new ideas (no pre-existing work done) are allowed to be pitched and worked on at Startup Weekend events.

More often then not, preformed ideas or companies means that the founder is only looking for people to help build their pre-determined vision. Nobody wants to work on a project for free and at Startup Weekend, all member should be starting with equal ownership and the ability to shape and change the vision.

All Startup Weekends must give proper recognition to global partners and local sponsors.

Our global partners & local sponsors provide a lot of support for our events, and often times it’s more than just money (attendee resources, mentors, marketing, etc). It’s important we give them the recognition they deserve, especially if you want to create a long-lasting relationship.

No cash prizes may be given at a Startup Weekend.

We encourage in-kind prizes (donated co-working space, networking opportunities, product use, etc.) that directly impact the progress and success of Startup Weekend teams. Cash prizes can create legal issues, but more importantly we’ve found attendees end up dividing prizes amongst themselves instead of using it on their startup.

Our goal at Startup Weekend is to create impact, and we want prizes to reward attendees with opportunity instead of physical goods. We recommend finding prizes that help advance the attendees journey into entrepreneurship. Reach out to your Regional Manager if you would like some prize suggestions.

For themed events, at least one-third of the organizing team should represent that theme.

For example, a group of 6 people applying to organize a Startup Weekend Education event should have at least 2 people with a background in education on their team. Themed events should be bringing in the local community and expertise of that theme. We’ve found that this is the best way to ensure that.

Branding Requirements

Startup Weekends are stand-alone events and cannot be co-branded.

Co-branded events rarely add extra value to Startup Weekend and frequently cause additional problems and/or add unnecessary pressure to the local organizers.

All Startup Weekend events must be named according to the following standard:<p\/p>

  • Startup Weekend + [City Name]

This requirement does not apply for University, Themed or Corporate Events. Please contact the Startup Weekend team for alternative naming arrangements. This helps us keep our branding consistent, and will make it much easier for participants to find events in your city.

All event logos, banners, and other marketing materials must include the following:

  • The Startup Weekend Beaker logo and image
  • The text: “Powered by Google for Entrepreneurs”

This helps preserve and strengthen the global brand (which in turn will help organizers locally). In order to cater for localization, minor customization of the beaker image is allowed, but the beaker must remain readily identifiable and intact.

Website Requirements

All Startup Weekend events must have a dedicated website in order to explain the format and purpose of the event to the public, showcase the event’s Coaches, Speaker, Judges, and Organizers, and provide proper recognition to the event partners & sponsors.

All Startup Weekend event websites must contain:

  • A header/logo that adheres to the Branding & Naming Requirements (listed above)
  • The event’s Coaches, Speaker, and Panelists
  • The Startup Weekend Global Partner Bar
  • A page/section dedicated to online ticketing

Unless otherwise agreed, all Organizers must use the Website Template provided by the Startup Weekend team, with the URL of [City] Once your Application has been approved you’ll be given instructions for setting up and managing the site. This ensures that your organizing team has everything you need on the local site. Attendees will be able to find event details, and consistent messaging and branding.

Financial Requirements

Monetary compensation for Organizing or Facilitating an event is prohibited. Startup Weekend event funds can not be used to for personal financial gain.

We recognize that our success is largely due to the work of our Organizers, however we feel there is much more to gain from organizing besides a salary. Financial gain is unfair to sponsors, attendees, and our community who also invest in our mission.

Revenue from ticket sales and sponsorships must be used to cover basic event expenses:

  • Food and Drink
  • Event Supplies
  • Associated Venue costs (wifi, maintenance, security)
  • Facilitator Travel and Accommodation

For a more detailed breakdown of typical event expenses, see the Budgeting Section of the Organizer’s Guide. 

All events must charge for admission.

Experience shows us that a small barrier to entry, in the form of a ticket price, increases the quality of the attendees and significantly decreases the cancellation and drop-out rate.

All Organizing teams must have at least one Organizer specifically dedicated to managing the finances and event budget. 

Delegating someone to watch over finances helps keep your team and HQ on top of all finances and makes communication between everyone much easier.

All ticket sales and sponsorships must go through Techstars. Funds will be advanced prior to or reimbursed after the event. 

In some instances, sponsorships may be received locally with prior authorization from HQ. This removes the liability from our organizers and also allows Sponsors and Attendee to file a tax deduction in certain regions.

50% of all leftover revenue (net profit after the above expenses have been covered) is retained by Startup Weekend, and 50% is reinvested back into the local startup and entrepreneurial ecosystem via the Startup Weekend Community Chest. 

We want to support our local and global community! All funds are used to help grow Startup Weekend around the world and to build tools and resources for our Community Leaders.