CELEBRATE | November 19, 2020

Startup Huddles Activates Local Communities To Crowdsource Entrepreneurial Support During #GEW2020

Startup Huddle
Photo Credit: Startup Huddle

The Global Entrepreneurship Network is excited to celebrate Startup Huddle chapters around the world during Global Entrepreneurship Week 2020.

Since its launch in 2016, Startup Huddle has provided a platform for thousands of entrepreneurs to share their challenges with their local communities. It all began as an idea at the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in Medellin, Colombia. Entrepreneurs around the world were eager to connect with one another and share their challenges with one another, but there was a lack of opportunities to meet up and connect on a regular basis.

GEN decided to test out a model and conduct pilots in select cities through 2017. In 2018, we slowly introduced new cities and committed to the model. To date, we have launched more than 50 chapters in 40 countries and counting.  

Startup Huddle educates, engages, and connects entrepreneurs on a regular basis. The format is consistent in each location: on a given morning, one or two early-stage startup founders give a six-minute presentation of their companies to a diverse audience of peers, mentors, educators and advisers. Each presentation is followed by a 20-minute question and answer session.  

As opposed to a traditional “pitch” environment, Startup Huddle was not created to be critical of entrepreneurs, but rather for the presenters to learn from shared experiences and find ways to support one another as a community. The culture surrounding Startup Huddle is that of a supportive, neutral space, welcoming entrepreneurs to be honest and open about their businesses and the challenges they face. It is also a valuable experience for the community, providing a unique opportunity to network with people from backgrounds one might not typically meet.

Startup Huddles are organized by local entrepreneurs and community builders who volunteer their time to secure a venue, vet and select presenters, develop partnerships with private and public sector organizations, and publicize the event. As a part of our onboarding process to train new chapters, we have a group of ambassadors who are committed to sharing their insights with other ecosystem builders around the world. 

In the spirit of GEW, more than 37 existing chapters will be hosting Startup Huddles and 41 cities will host trial Huddles to test out the program during the week. After GEW, some trial organizers will sign on to become official Startup Huddle Organizers who implement the program year-round.

Although the program typically consists of regular in-person gatherings, most chapters have pivoted to a virtual format given the restrictions set forth by the pandemic. 

“I’m very much excited to launch Startup Huddle in my city, because this platform is really necessary for aspiring entrepreneurs and startups especially during these challenging times where we are forced to rethink our business concepts,” said Priscilla Abhilakh Missier, host of Startup Huddle Paramaribo in Suriname.

This week, GEN also announced a new partnership with the US Embassy to launch Startup Huddles across seven Eastern Caribbean islands. Six of the organizers are also alumni of the US government flagship entrepreneurship exchange program, the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI).

“I have been so impressed by the incredible innovation and optimism that entrepreneurs across the Caribbean have shown in the midst of COVID-19,” said U.S. Ambassador Linda Taglialatela. “Startup Huddles demonstrate our commitment to helping entrepreneurs not only survive but thrive in a new economic landscape.”

To learn more about the program, visit: startuphuddle.co.

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Colleen is the Director for Partnerships at the Global Entrepreneurship Network. She works on all of GEN's flagship programs to identify and… About the author