Wellington will host the international Startup Weekend for local entrepreneurs from 4-6 November 2011. WebFund, BizDojo and CreativeHQ – the leading players in Wellington's early-stage innovation space – are teaming up in a “Wellington, Inc.” approach to help entrepreneurs develop new businesses in a marathon 54-hour weekend event.
Startup Weekend is a global network of passionate leaders bent on bringing out the best in local entrepreneurs, and has held events in over 100 cities around the world. International backing is provided by The Kauffman Foundation, Microsoft, Amazon and others.
The programme starts on Friday evening 4 November with entrepreneurs pitching their ideas to the group. People vote for the best ideas, and form teams to implement them. On Saturday, mentors help the teams in a “hackathon” – laying their concept out on paper, performing guerilla market validation, developing mock-ups, and cutting code to implement their concepts. By 3pm on Sunday, teams are preparing to present to a panel of judges. Winners are announced and prizes distributed at 7:30pm.
Event Coordinator and WebFund Chairman Dave Moskovitz says “This is an ideal follow-up to Grow Wellington's Bright Ideas Challenge. Serious entrepreneurs will take this opportunity to team up with like-minded suits, ponytails and geeks to see how far they can push themselves in 54 hours. Some will drop out along the way, some will end up in a very different place from where they thought they were going, and some will really shine. Everyone will gain from learning more about themselves, their peers, their markets and their concepts. The real winners will be the Wellington economy, and those with the stamina and determination to carry on after Startup Weekend.”
CreativeHQ CEO Steve O'Connor adds, “Some sectors in Wellington are looking particularly bright. We're strong in the digital and web space, in the weightless economy and knowledge based industries. Much of this has good speed to market, good Intellectual Property attributes, it's scalable and can get to global markets quickly. People with ideas in these sectors will benefit immensely from putting their hand up for Startup Weekend
BizDojo provides co-working facilities, CreativeHQ offers incubation services, and on-line specialist WebFund is staging a six-week “HyperStart” intensive acceleration programme to prepare companies for investment and international expansion in February 2012. Developing Wellington's promising young companies and turning local entrepreneurs into global heroes are basic objectives for all three startup ecosystem players. Unlimited Potential, Grow Wellington, the Bio Commerce Centre, NZ Trade and Enterprise and 90Seconds.tv are also involved in the initiative, and Auckland Startup Weekend veteran Jason Armishaw will be helping the local crew.