This time I want to share something very special for me, a day for me to be remembered, because never have I  felt so active, busy, tired, excited and exhausted at the same time. sTARTUp Day is the largest business festival in the Baltic States bringing together the startup and business community all over the Baltics in the city of Tartu. This year it was held on 8th December, with side events on 7th and 9th December respectively. It is a networking event where startups, businesses, entrepreneur, experts, learners come together to meet, greet and collaborate. So now let me tell you about how it started and how it ended.

The moment I got to know about this event, I decided to be a volunteer, moreover, applications for the event weren’t even open and I was already interested to join them. What I have learned in my journey of being a student at University of Tartu is that things are always around the corner. You just have to ask for them. Certainly, I was accepted to be a Volunteer. Parallel, I was taking part in ‘Starter Advanced’ competition by UT Idea Lab, which is a semester long mentoring program for making dreams into a reality i.e. to take an idea to a pitching stage. Me and my team attended and shaped our idea to an actual startup to pitch. The program ends with ‘Kaleidoskoop’ pitching competition and to the surprise of our team we won a place to be at the finals of the same competition which was going to held on startup day to which I was a volunteer and participant at the same time.

So, the sTARTUp Day started with a bang. Not just because we were sold out, but because of the all-around preparations done by the volunteer team an evening before. Everything started as perfect as it could be. To my surprise, the president of Estonia, herself came to the festival to mark it open. The stalls were prepared, participants were coming and before start of my own event, I went to each stall to get to know more about the company/project/organization represented. Showered with souvenirs and smiles, I received all I could ask for. In our own ‘Kaleidoskoop’ finals, we were selected to pitch again at the next level competition of ‘Starter’ Finals. The family of people, running around to help each and every one present. Now and then, we had random photoshoots at the staff room with any decorations we could find. The day ended, with star-studded performance of ‘Tommy Cash’, which according to my Estonian friends was awesome, but somehow there was a difference of opinion among everybody else. What I could hear was, just shear noise and bass sounds. I was still searching for some melody and music. Me and my team actually found the same just dancing on the beats of background music of the lobby area.

I can tell you that the whole day was fruitful as I enjoyed with my volunteer team, and my own gang of startup entrepreneurs. The next start-up day is scheduled to happen in January 2019, and I know already that I am going to attend it somehow.

Written By: 
Rahul Puniani (India)
Masters in Innovation and Technology Management