Startup Weekend, a non-profit organisation based in Seattle, is renowned for its 54-hour hackathons in major cities including Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth,
Almost 800 Startup Weekend events have been hosted in more than 350 cities worldwide, educating a staggering 57,000 entrepreneurs who’ve created more than 5,000 start-ups.
The organisers of Startup Weekend have now announced a partnership with Startup America, TechStars and Californian start-up Udacity, which offers university-level courses online.
The group will be led by retired entrepreneur Steve Blank, who now lectures at Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley.
“Today we are announcing the biggest entrepreneurial program ever launched,” Blank wrote on his blog.
“Startup Weekend Next brings four weeks of amazing hands-on training to build your start-up to cities around the world.”
“Our goal – to inspire, educate and empower hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs, and help create 10,000 start-ups.”
Blank said Startup Weekend Next is a four-week version of his Lean LaunchPad course, but with hands-on instructors and mentors.
“We will teach it in hundreds of cities around the world… The class is organised, led and delivered by Startup Weekend,” Blank said.
“They are going to take Startup Weekend to the next level by organising and teaching… the Lean LaunchPad class as their Startup Weekend Next course.”
“Their reach and scale means our goal of helping to create 10,000 start-ups is within our grasp.”
In the United States, Startup America will leverage its network to engage entrepreneurial leaders throughout the country, while TechStars will use its network of mentors to coach the teams.
Udacity will host the Lean LaunchPad online lectures – a prerequisite for participation in Startup Weekend Next, which Blank described as a “pre-accelerator”.
“Like an accelerator there is no physical office space, and start-ups enter and leave as a cohort in a program of a set length,” he said.
“The key difference is that Startup Weekend Next engages you in a formal curriculum. We believe we know what start-ups need to learn, and we focus on teaching you that.”
“Instead of guest lecturers, you get out of the building and you learn by doing. Like the best accelerators, you get experienced mentors, coaching and introductions.”
“Unlike accelerators, there is no funding at the end of the program. But you leave knowing a lot more of what it takes to build a company beyond a PowerPoint deck for a VC presentation.”
Blank is quick to point out the group is looking for other partners worldwide to make the course more successful.
The first Startup Weekend Next classes will start on November 28 in more than 25 cities worldwide, although it’s unknown if any Australian cities are on the list.
But in 2013, the program will be expanded to all of Startup Weekend’s 350 communities, offered up to five times a year in each city.
Startup Weekend co-founder Marc Nager said in order to host a Startup Weekend Next event, the city must provide an organiser, a facilitator, mentors, coaches and a total of 30 entrepreneurs.
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