Startup Huddle is a program designed to educate, engage and connect entrepreneurs. As an experiential learning opportunity, the Startup Huddle 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 and feedback via an audience survey. Istanbul held their first Startup Huddle meetup on October 4.
“I think Startup Huddle has a bottom up approach to ecosystem development. It is an amazing way to build and grow a culture of peer entrepreneurial support,” said Elif Çelik, Startup Huddle organizer with Istanbul Teknik Üniversitesi. “It ensures that early stage startups can access an open discussion platform to help them grow themselves and their businesses with support from fellow entrepreneurs, wanna-preneurs, potential customers as well as mentors and experts. The Startup Huddle community provides young startups constructive feedback and a chance to find solutions to the challenges they face as early as possible in their entrepreneurial journeys.”
The culture surrounding Startup Huddle is that of a supportive, neutral space, welcoming entrepreneurs to be open and honest about their businesses and the challenges they face. Each event is organized by local entrepreneurs and community builders who volunteer their time to secure a venue, vet and select presenters and publicize the event.
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.
“Startup Huddle is an important interactive platform because it helps entrepreneurs realize their positive and negative aspects. In addition, it’s a network between local the community and entrepreneurs,” said Basak Saral, with Habitat Association, one of the hosts for Global Entrepreneurship Week in Turkey. “Therefore, in the scope of GEW Turkey, Startup Huddle’s launch in Istanbul is exciting for us.”
Startup Huddle is an educational experience for both the audience and the presenters. Presenters are given resources and support to prepare for their presentation and surveyed after their presentation to see what they’ve learned.
“Through Startup Huddle program, we aim to build a community of cross learning environment fruitful for both startups and other members in the university ecosystem,” said Çelik. “We hope to create a collaborative environment where like-minded people with entrepreneurship passion get together, feel supported, inspired, and encouraged.”