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Coimbra on the move

These are difficult times for every student in Portugal, the amount of jobs available, for those who are finishing their studies in the next few years, is limited and in some areas rare is the appropriate word. So most of the graduating students already are looking for opportunities, not in our country but in many others around the world.

This article has one simple objective, that is show other vision and attitude. What I am about to say, you are probably sick of hearing or reading trough the Internet, Television or even on those boring talks about how great entrepreneurship is, but I simply have to share what I’ve been seeing in this student oriented city called Coimbra.

Some days ago, I and some colleagues of mine, managed to organize a little Hackathon called “Exception Handled”,  and we were surprised with the quality of the ideas and prototypes, that the few teams present at the event were able to do in just 48h. So I’ve been wondering why I don’t see in this city that “startup fever” that lots of other places in other countries have (or at least is what I read all over the Internet).

Students with ideas and will to create something new , groups of specialized people that are in the ground giving advice and support to the “creators” like GAPI 2.0 and nothing more and nothing less than the best technology based incubator in the world, are things that you can find in this city and a little bit all around the country.

So what is missing? In my own opinion, is just that spark that starts an engine and puts the machine on the move. This little spark is about making the students realize that they can do it. Yes, start a company isn’t for everybody but we have to make sure that the ones that have what it takes, find out that they are able to do it.

Is in this context that events like “Startup Weekend“, “Ineo Weekend” or even some hackathons (this one is more focused for tech students) have a great role, because, there people learn about the steps to create a successful company, students try it themselves without the commitment or the risk of actually starting a company, they have the help of more experienced people and can have the taste of  the excitement produced by the creation of something brand new, that came from their ideas.

Luckily this kind of events are becoming more and more frequent, every year I see new ones and for me that is a really good sign because if they are coming back is because people are signing for them.

For example in the beginning of the next year,a team inside jeKnowledge has already scheduled the first “3 Day Startupin Portugal and it will realized in Coimbra. For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, you can find more information at their website. The already interested students can apply here. Just to show the output from the last editions of this event, below you can find a quote from 3DS website:

12 events in the US and Europe have given rise to 14 companies receiving $4 million in funding. 7 companies from 3DS have been accepted to accelerators such as Y Combinator, 500 Startups, and Dreamit Ventures.

The signups for the interview will stay open until the first day of 2012 (less than 1 month).
I’m sure it will be a great event and lets hope that the accepted participants, are able to add one more company to the “3 Day Startup” statistics. The country needs it!

By Gonçalo Valério

Software developer and owner of this blog. More in the "about" page.