San Diego Business Journal

Protests in Tijuana involving the Mexico gas crisis have caused organizers of Startup Weekend Binational to cancel its first cross-border event.

Startup Weekend, a regional event powered by Google for Entrepreneurs and Techstars, was scheduled for late January. The event was the first to take place over two weekends, one in San Diego and one in Tijuana. The idea was to highlight the best startups in both regions, and encourage cross-border collaboration among entrepreneurs and innovators.

Mia Mian, the lead organizer for Startup Weekend Binational, said the Tijuana-based lead for the project called a meeting to discuss the Tijuana protests.

“He sat us down and showed us all the protests clips over the weekend,” Mian said. “After talking to more of the team on the ground in TJ, we all came to the conclusion that holding off was the best decision.”

Tijuana citizens are protesting rising gas prices in Mexico, which jumped 15 percent-20 percent nationwide in the new year as the government moved forward with deregulation of the oil industry. Mexico has had government-controlled gas prices for nearly a century. Protests erupted across Mexico, resulting in several deaths and hundreds of arrests.

Protests in Tijuana so far have been more peaceful, involving calm protestors forming blockades to prevent tanks from leaving or entering a major Pemex supply center in Rosarito.

Still, Mian said Startup Weekend Binational would wait a few weeks and reassess the program after things calm down, saying an event during this time of unrest would be “neither safe nor portraying the best parts of Tijuana.”

She hopes to have a binational startup event on the books by this summer.

“All isn’t lost,” Mian said. “Pause, pivot, iterate. We are a startup event, after all.”