When the idea of organising a startup festival in Barcelona first came up, we thought long and hard about the reasons. Why should we get ourselves into such a messy and hard work? Why would anyone participate? What is this thing called an “ecosystem” we are trying to build?
Barcelona has wonderful ingredients to become a blooming startup hub of the Mediterranean. A multicultural meeting point of adventurers, as by nature any big port city is, attracting talent from all over the world. A place with strong design traditions, a positively hedonistic approach to life and with relatively low costs of living to help that initial funding last much longer. What we are seeing today however is that startups and evolution are happening in small clusters all over the city. There are great events to go to almost every day, but organisers rarely meet and join forces together.
So we set out to create a reason that would motivate all of us to come together. We want to build connections and learn from each other, to have a better understanding of what is really happening in the city on a grand scale. Because in order to move forward, we need to join forces and make it clear what exactly are the challenges we still face. But of course it’s not only about work and combined efforts: Barcelona does have a reason to assemble and take some time to celebrate the distance already travelled, ideas made to come alive and people who have succeeded. This will become the base of further development and the international brand of Barcelona as a startup capital.
We are definitely living in exciting times, where the world not only changes day-by-day in front of our eyes, but suddenly the thought of actually being part of this change and building a better future seems achievable, the efforts we make it worthwhile. Without wanting to sound too much like a 21th century Ayn Randt, I do believe that the startup hype and growing respect for entrepreneurship accelerates learning that spreads much wider and farther than the effects of the occasional $19 billion acquisition.
And this is what we need communities for: to teach each other and to have a reason to build better tools, to implement fairer, more transparent business processes, always pressing on for better solutions and better lives. In the end it might not matter so much how big a dot is any city on the map of startups hubs. A thriving, growing and learning community that influences and elevates the overall quality of life is a goal in itself.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
– Margaret Mead
So here’s to our community, growing up and nurturing stronger bonds right in front of our eyes. Here’s to Barcelona, making the first crowdsourced startup festival happen with more than 40 individual events, talks, workshops and still a lot of space for relaxed fun. And here’s to an exciting Barcelona future that is built to last.