Their goal was to find new ways global sponsors can be helpful to local event organizers. Here are the results.
First, they confirmed their suspicions:
- Provide a venue in my local city
- Help me promote my local Startup Weekend
- Provide coaches
- Send an executive to be a judge
- Provide food or drinks
- Provide WiFi hotspots
- Provide supplies for the event
- Free / discounts to your product or service
Then they opened it up to awesome-r ideas:
- Help recruit other sponsors (there was applause for this one)
- Get corporate employees to attend local Startup Weekends
- Host fun experiences in the middle of the event (e.g. photo booth, ice cream bar on Saturday night, etc.)
- Participate. Stay a long time. Really get into it!
- Doing it for the right reasons (altruistically)
- Sponsor with a long-term vision. Sponsor several events in one city for the entire year.
- Offer to pitch real problems that your company is facing
- Let Startup Weekend teams do market validation with your employees
- Let Startup Weekend teams do market validation with your customers
- Give access to your company’s data
- Do something special to recognize the volunteers who run the event
And in the process they also learned what sponsors shouldn’t do:
- Ask for too much branding
- Send too many mentors from one sponsor
- The mentors you send try to sell their own stuff
- Talk too long on stage (We gave you 2 minutes and you took 10)
- Ask for reporting or surveys
- Recruiting too aggressively
- Leading with the brand during conversations instead of leading with the event
What’s missing from these lists?