A winter summer camp for European startups
Summers are gorgeous in Salzburg. The region‘s entrepreneurs can enjoy them to the sound of Mozart’s music (or not) – at Coworking Salzburg, a workspace and a hub created by Romy Sigl for the local startup scene. The idyllic summer atmosphere has its end, though. Even the hardened Austrian startup founders tremble at the thought of the weather here in November and December.
This dire outlook has inspired Matthias Zeitler and Romy Sigl to bring more sunlight into the lives of European startups. That’s how the Coworking Camp was born. Sigl – the main organiser – wants to have 75 early stage startup founders from all fields working together in Egyptian Hurghada between 4 November and 15 December. The idea is simple: a winter outing for startup founders and a broader startup community, taking place in a sunny beach resort. The motto: “together-selfemployed- working-in the sun“ – a combination of coworking, startup events and leisure activities, with some social responsibility factor added.
For a fee (of roughly 2.000 euros for the full six-week participation, or half of that for shorter stays) the participants will get transportation, all-inclusive, and a working space, among others. Sun-bathing, partying, scuba-diving and beach fun are sure to take place, too, but Sigl warns: “We don‘t want to end up with a hipster-startup-party-event. Don’t join the Camp for being cool – join for your own development.“
Choosing Egypt is the news of this week – the decision resulted from an online vote (Hurghada beat Tunisia and Malta). Also, the programme is still in the pipeline – and open to popular demand. Some of its features, however, are already clear. Because not all the participants will stay for the whole duration of the Camp, key formats will be repeated each week for the new arrivals. Part of the agenda will then develop throughout the course of the event. Outside experts, investors and startup big shots will bepresent but the bulk of the programme will be based on presentations, networking and feedback among participants. The formats will include: Show Time (present your business), Food for Feedback (get feedback over lunch), Presentations (by experts), Demo Day (pitching to angels and VCs).
The programme will not fill every minute of those six weeks – the idea is to give participants some room to work. Those interested in building local partnerships might take part in engaging with local startup community – either by participating in a Trade Mission to Cairo or at a Job Fair. The connection with the locals and serving a broader purpose seems fairly important for the organisers. Sigl explains the purpose of their endeavour: “Most important for us is to make things happen that matter – the Camp will be incubation for progressive, good ideas“. When confronted with questions about security, Sigl assures that they’re on top of it, too.
During the two weeks of open registrations, the Camp has received 126 application from the startups in various fields (IT, health, knowledge, product, audio, language, maps), but also from consultants, developers, designers, writers, angels etc. The deadline for application is at the end of August. The organisers will then choose the particpants so they match the planned composition: 40 startup founders from Europe, 10 freelancers, 10 startups from Egypt, 10 brand new Austrian projects, 5 Corporates and 10-15 early stage investors. A few wildcards will be left aside for those not matching any of the groups. Apart from the costs mentioned above, the participation fee can be further brought down (especially in the case of Austrian participants) by requesting reimbursement from the government. Local participants will get special prices, too.
The wave of interest in the Camp has the organisers thinking not whether, but where to go Cowork-Camping next. The destinations we heard mentioned sound promising: Dubai, Bali, and… Salzburg. Yeah, because the summers there are gorgeous.
Apply for the Coworking Camp before end of August here.