Last weekend I attended the first Startup Weekend in Switzerland focused exclusively on the creative industry. The purpose of this event was to explore and promote art and cultural ideas that are commercially viable and promise to become successful.

As a photographer and engineer I think that events like this are priority and necessary because high quality art can find more ways to be sustained if it is integrated into successful value chains. Moreover, creative people can offer a different perspective into businesses, providing unique solutions otherwise never imagined.

It was very rewarding to see many different ideas pitched during the first day –40 in total– and specially the fact that 50% of the ideas were proposed by enthusiastic women wanting to make a difference.

The ideas ranged from fashion design and its commercialisation via Internet to a compost manufacturing device using worms to decompose the organic waste. I personally worked for a project seeking to promote young industrial designers by creating an e-platform, which facilitates their interaction with manufacturers and consumers and promotes their ideas.

Something to remark is that the atmosphere during the whole time was of camaraderie within the group and with the other teams, and I mention this because my experience in this type of events, where a prize is involved, is that the atmosphere becomes very competitive and teams hardly communicate each other. Indeed at the end the winners were not announced as first, second or third place, instead the rewards were distributed considering the prize that would help more each winner.

In this way, the best ideas according to the jury were: the compost system mentioned above, a business dedicated to produce and commercialise food marinates, an initiative to design and sell fashion for people with sclerosis and a media company dedicated to create and distribute animated films.

All in all this was a great experience, where I had the opportunity to meet very interesting people and spend a creative weekend. I hope that this event is repeated in the future as many talents out there are waiting for an opportunity like this.