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Check-in: Elise on Founderbus Germany

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So how’s life on the road? We checked in on the German Founderbus and got in touch with Elise Nardin, one of the 3 girls and 24 participants in total on board. She’s in the inspiring company of Buspreneurs from Germany, Canada, India, Czech Republic, Switzerland and France. Elise herself is from Zürich, Switzerland.

“Yesterday, our kick-off event started with each participant pitching her-/himself and their idea. This was followed by some kind of value sharing and team building. After all participants met and introduced themselves and their idea, we met the rest of the audience at the YOU IS NOW building right off Ostbahnhof station in Berlin.

Here, the CTO of Prezi gave a presentation about the lean startup, explaining how you start building a start up, reading business model books (or not), and making sure to integrate the human factor in your startup idea. You have to make sure to hire people who can work at a startup.”

After the presentation, they had beers and pizza and sat to watch a 10min footage of last year GründerBus movie. We they all headed to the Pegasus Hostel where we formed teams. “There is one team who has one of their team members – actually the originator of the idea of their startup – who misunderstood from where the StartupBus was leaving and is in Cologne and his team will meet him on Saturday!” Elise tells us.

These are the projects that were conceived on the German Founderbus:

  • Marshmallow – ‘Making your children enjoy doing their chores’
  • Up for a Cup / Cup it up: Employee Engagement Tool. (<- the startup Elise is working on)
  • Haystack – ‘You don’t find a date, your date finds you’
  • Who Else? – Discover people who share the same interests
  • Blind restaurant booking service – Book a table in different price categories and be surprised about what you get.

Today, Friday nov. 30th:

“We spent the morning at the Deutsche Telekom hub:raum accelerator program where each team worked on their business model coached by hub:raum coaches. Pitches were hold with direct feedback from the coaches and other teams.  Afterwards we headed off to Berlin Mitte to listen to 3 ‘founder stories’:

The CEO of MyParfum who presented us his product and told us about starting his business with his roommate and brother. He talked about bootstrapping a business and going through the ups and downs and giving advice to people who would want to start their business with little, or no money upfront.

Then Felix of Tirendo (a tire company) told us about his experience of starting a business being helped by an incubator, i.e. Project A, based in Berlin. He gave a presentation about how to start your business within an incubator, with the pros and the cons.

Finally Mark Hartmann of Project A gave a short presentation about ‘Data Love’ arguing that monitoring data and analyzing data was super important and to be done since the start. Mark’s presentation touched on online marketing, the actual organization of Project A, their portfolio and outlined their strategy.

We just had a tasty dinner at Toca Rouge, Chinese restaurant in Berlin Mitte, and now we’re back on the bus.”

And right now, we are waiting for the pitches of the German Founderbus and the VikingBus to begin, as they face eachother in Hamburg, pitching their projects for the second time… Watch them go!

Meet the alumni: an interview with former-Buspreneur Esther from Amsterdam

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Esther Gons was one of the European Buspreneur pioneers. She works independently on business development, lean strategies, startups, internal change, everything strategy -combined with visual thinking for big and small companies. I talked to Esther about her own internal change evoked by riding the bus.

“Riding the StartupBus is incredible. It motivated me to dive deeper into the startup world. I realized how important startups are and how fascinating it is to work on one, how much you learn from it. That’s why I joined several startup initiatives in the Netherlands and Amsterdam in particular as a mentor, because I love helping these creative entrepreneurs find the right way. Now that I think of it, even all my spare time goes into mentoring startups and working on the development of a good, startup friendly atmosphere in and around Amsterdam. That passion I have for startups I really discovered from riding the StartupBus.”

Esther

(pic by Thom @Stream my Event)

How did the experience have an impact on your other business activities, say in the not so-startup world? “I believe that the StartupBus teaches you a lot about focus. You get this idea, you learn to work with your team members – who you’ve really just met, deal with less ideal situations in terms of comfort, internet connections and sometimes frustrations. You can only succeed if you keep your focus. And we did, ‘cause we’ve won!”

“It’s so unique because it puts you in a pressure cooker. All the creativity, emotions, etc. come out quicker. There is no quicker way to get to know your co-founders than riding the StartupBus.”

What’s the situation like in the Netherlands? Is there a lot of support for startups and startup initiatives? “It’s getting better, there are now 3 accelerators in Amsterdam. That’s good, but they should be working together more. There is a growing base of motivated people who believe in supporting startups and bringing parties together. I mean, accelerators are great, but operate very much from a business point of view. You also need an environment of people wanting others to succeed, helping out, not necessarily wanting something in return right away. Luckily I have the feeling that this startup friendly attitude is becoming better represented.

Every city seems to have a ‘speciality’ in startups. I.e. Berlin has a lot of community and game oriented startups, while London has a good deal of financial startups. I think apps are Amsterdam’s game.”

Any advice for those boarding the bus in a couple of days? “Go in with an open mind, let everything happen as it comes.”

Throw a group of strangers on a bus…

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… and watch them come up with a business idea in just a few days…

Preparing this 2012 edition, UK team is in the process of finalizing the pool of 25 successful applicants who will take their place on the coach that will head to Paris via workshops in Oxford and Cambridge Universities, London’s Business School and Google Campus.

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Workshops include Entrepreneur FirstSeedrsFlat-Club as well as several well-known individual expert speakers, providing advice on everything from creating the idea, branding and selling it to investors.

Read full report on the Huffington Post

Announcing the buspreneur competition for Europe 2012

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Europe’s balance sheet may be debt laden, but that’s not going to stop us from announcing our European competition this year, scheduled to be between November 30 and December 5th.

We will be running six buses, much like the second year of the American competition in 2011. We are doing with a joint venture between our friends at FounderBus (running buses from Germany, France, and UK universties) as well as three under the StartupBus organisation (from London, Spain, and one wildcard to be discussed below).

We are also excited to announce our partnership with LeWeb, the most important tech fixture in Europe. Not only will we have a bus parked at LeWeb and discounted tickets for accepted buspreneurs (at an amazing 75% discount due to the geneorisity of Loic and Geraldine in supporting startups) but the winning team from the competition will go onto the LeWeb Startup Competition as a finalist. For context, last year the LeWeb competition had over 600 applicants, 32 semi-finalists, and 16 finalists with an expected 1000 applicants this year. The winner of our competition in early December will get fastracked to be on the stage of Europe’s most influentual tech conference as one of the 16 +1 (we’re the +1) LeWeb startup competition finalists.

Now what? Apply and vote for the wild card!

Applications are now open, so go ahead and blow us away! Note that our application process is an invite only affair, so if you don’t know anyone that can invite you, make some social media noise to get the attention of the buspreneur community.

Based off the success we had with this with America this year, for this sixth bus it will be a wild card, where we are going to create a competition based on which region can generate the most social media voting (through tweets or Facebook likes). To vote for your region, go to this page.