Visiting Salvador to work as a mentor and judge in the first edition of a Startup Weekend in the city wasn’t exactly the way I imagined returning to Salvador.

The view at lunchtime

But besides tourism, having been limited to the bars and a group of dressed up Star Wars fans, the experience was far beyond what I expected!

Star Wars invades the Coffee Break

The 54-hour event began with an auditorium packed with at least 80 people: the event organizers, developers, and a few designers (as always…).  You could tell that only few had entrepreneurial experience, but all were clearly looking to take the first step. The speakers, Laert Yamazaki (Malagueta Interativa) and Rafael Costa (JusBrasil), started their speeches and began to make a few eyes light up.  The amount of ideas presented surprised even the organizers Thomas BuckÂndlei Lisboa, Bruno Vinicius, Juliana Fajardini, Danilo Fernandes, and Thiago Colares.  The nine teams were formed and started their work on Friday night.

On Saturday, the primary objectives were to create the business model canvas, validate the hypotheses with real clients and begin creating the prototype.  Sunday was reserved for increasing the traction and preparing the pitch.  This schedule was for those who separated the days.  As with many entrepreneurs, some turned to the night to continue working.

  54 hours of continuous learning and working

It is always exciting to participate in the beginning stages of an entrepreneurial community that until now hasn’t existed.  I’ve participated in a few Startup Weekends, but this was without a doubt the one that led to the most learning, observing the participants from the beginning to the end of the program.  The organization and the entrepreneurs that made the decision to take this first step deserve a big congratulations! Below are the four top future digital businesses from Bahia (We’re pulling for you!):

1) Cirandinha: A “second hand” online store for pregnant women and those with newborns, whose differential is in the handling and cleaning of used products

2) Where Am I: Mobile app that presents the highest risk areas of a city in order to facilitate the most secure and complete tourist experience.

3) Meu Arquiteto: A platform of creative competition for interior design, connecting architects and small offices with clients (principally in Class C)

4) Rede Eco: Marketplace for the sale of residual industrial products.

The other new startups: GameFit, IdealPass, HelpMark, Oceano Indico and Baladai.

The winning team, Cirandinha