START Summit offers an innovative take on entrepreneurship conferences – entirely student-run it gives a fresh perspective on Europe’s startup landscape.
It’s scheduled for March 21-22, 2024, in St. Gallen, Switzerland.
The history of START Summit dates back to 1997 when it was established as START Global by students from the University of St. Gallen. They initially organised the START Forum. START Summit was later established as one of the Global Projects and had its first event in 2007. In 2015, the first ‘big Summit’ took place on the campus, and in 2016, the event relocated to the Olma Messen St.Gallen, the biggest exhibition hall in the city.
Fast forward to 2023, and START Summit attracted over 6,000 participants and featured 150+ speakers.
In 2024, another milestone awaits, as the event will be one of the first to take place in the newly constructed St.Galler Kantonalbank Halle, the largest hall at the Olma Messen.
While there are numerous startup conferences worldwide, what truly sets START Summit apart is that it’s entirely run by students.
From the second year students can take responsibilities across the variety of positions available to manage the entire event. Over 80 students fill positions in marketing, communications, PR, legal, finance, administration, content, brands and so on and work on this event almost full time and voluntarily, for which they receive study credits.
I travelled to St. Gallen to meet the team from START Global at a small event co-organised by them and to learn more about their work and the innovation that comes out of this event. The event was held on campus, at the Square building, where they held a panel discussion and a keynote with founders and a venture capital firm. Afterwards I spoke with Jan Bohe, Managing Director Communications and Chiara Britschgi, Head of Public Relations from START Global and here I share the insights with you.