Startup Weekend kicked off events all over the world last weekend, so we stopped by their Helsinki event to see what the buzz was. In total, around 15 teams got together on Friday to throw ideas together, find customers, and then build and present the idea. The themes, if you could find a trend, were social networks, Ethiopia, and platforms designed to do virtually what Startup Weekend does in real life.

“The good thing was that we’ve gotten a lot of people involved that haven’t been involved in an event like this before,” says Laura Honkapirtti, one of the event organizers. Among them was two high school students who might have come to the event thinking they would just observers, but came up with an idea at the very end of Friday’s idea pitching to form teams.

“We were like, oh my god. We were shaking,” says one of the 17-olds, Clarissa Relander. But soon they were in the thick of it, forming a team and building their idea – Open Ideas Network, sort of a social network and collaboration tool to help high school students to connect and find mentors to build their ideas. You can see they were inspired by the event.

The two students found Startup Weekend a great experience. Relander remarks on the event before their pitch, “It’s funny that even though its sort of a competition everyone is helping each other here and saying they can help us. It’s so supportive.” Meanwhile, her co-founder Demi Palanki, tells us that the best thing about the event has been the excuse to build something, “You have an idea and then you make it real and even better.”

The ideas pitched at the end of the event included:

My Universe- A location-based social network with a bubble interface. Messaging is a strong feature, and paid channels to lead users to concerts, sales, etc, with a messaging channel feed for events. Also leads users to in-app store for games, etc. Kinda cool to see a re-iteratoin of a social network designed mobile first and compare that to Facebook.

Two51 – (Named after the country code for Ethiopia). An online collaboration platform designed for people to learn the background on what they want to start, and get together, and then get the coaching and support needed. Basically hoping to replicate the type of dynamic you see on the ground around the universities in Finland, but virtually for people.

KID SCOPE – The thesis is that teachers spend lots of time on paperwork – such as getting permission for field trips, etc. What they want to build is a communication platform between teachers and parents to provide more instant form of communication. They’ll monetize this value for schools.

SCANA – putting some tech and innovation into online university career services. Tailored to each students, sends job alerts, and at least tries hard to be more than just a form.

Feedback Lab – A service to match users with relevant products to collect customer feedback on their products or services.

DareCrowd – A crowdfunding platform to push your friends to do awesome things. For example if your friend has an awful job, you should crowdfund some money and get them to do something. Cool idea.

SomeLaki – A new way to book lawyers with a flat free. They’re shooting for €38 per use. To lawyers it works as advertising by paying for referral services.

Open Innovation Network – An online platform to connect high school students together and with mentors to help make their ideas become real. To get some money coming in they’re going to partner with businesses.

SelamAddis.com – A social network to connect Ethiopians here and abroad. Globally there are 4 million Ethiopians looking to connect with each other, and Ethiopia sounds like the next big internet market.

Chinafy – Helps you learn both language and Chinese culture. Not just virtual, but they’ll give you one month experience in China, and are going to target young professionals.

Tales from the Slums . They build a local network in the slums to collect stories from young people and then sell them in ebook form. Helps communities become sustainable from new revenue source.

BullySpot– How many people are getting bullied? Wants to collect anonymous bullying data through an app, and report it to school. Nice design, but I’m curious if it has any hooks to get kids to actually pick up the app.

QTM [whoops I forgot to write down their name] – But the idea is to kill queues through a smart mobile application that works somewhat like a buzzer at a restaurant. So when you’re ready to pay for stuff at the department store you click the app, and then it alerts you when to go to the counter, allowing you to shop longer.

Uniksome – a mobile marketplace to take pics and then sell stuff. They’re eyeing a big market gap when browsing Huutto in on mobile. Reminds me of Osom, the trending Swedish app. Has following, etc.

I forgot to write down the winners, but realistically the real winners will be whoever decides to take their ideas further after the event. I need to participate next time Startup Weekend comes around.