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Start-up weekend coming to Hawke’s Bay

November 27, 2012

Start-up weekend coming to Hawke’s Bay

The world’s biggest entrepreneurial programme is coming to Hawke’s Bay. Startup Weekends are 54-hour events where developers, designers, marketers, product managers and startup enthusiasts come together to share ideas, form teams, build products, and launch startups.

The internationally recognized programme involves a global network of leaders and entrepreneurs aiming to inspire, educate, and empower individuals, teams and communities. Events this month are being held in countries including Pakistan, Israel and Russia.

Hawke’s Bay entrepreneur Gareth Pearce was part of the winning team at the Startup Weekend held in Palmerston North in August.

“The Startup Weekend is a fantastic experience in terms of developing innovation and it’s vital for the creation of new jobs.”

Mr Pearce and his team “What’s 4 lunch?” won a prize package valued at $8,000 for their Ipad application concept based around educating children about food, and ingredients however he said the real benefit was transforming an idea into a marketable product.

“It’s all about applying the lean methodology to a startup to create a viable business within three months.”

Digital media entrepreneur Hal Josephson said the Startup Weekends offered hands-on experience to aspiring entrepreneurs to find out if their startup ideas were viable.

“Hawke’s Bay has a chance to develop itself as a technological hub, we can be New Zealand’s Silicon Valley, but the region must provide the environment for that notion to grow,” Mr Josephson said.
A new entrepreneurial category added to the Westpac Hawke’s Bay Chamber of Commerce Business Awards, the Gen-I Breakthrough Award, had helped to highlight the quality of startups in Hawke’s Bay.
“The business community here is recognizing the importance of encouraging entrepreneurs and that’s really very exciting,” he said.

On average, half of Startup Weekend’s attendees have technical or design backgrounds, the other half have business backgrounds.

Beginning with open mic pitches on Friday, attendees bring their best ideas and inspire others to join their team. Over Saturday and Sunday teams focus on customer development, validating their ideas, practicing LEAN Startup Methodologies and building a minimal viable product. On Sunday evening, teams demo their prototypes and receive valuable feedback from a panel of experts.
The Hawke’s Bay event will be held at EIT on March 8-10 and so far has attracted sponsorship from EIT, ANZ Bank, NOW, Unison, Xplore and Business Hawke’s Bay.

Startup Weekend Hawkes Bay organiser Lyn Cheyne said more sponsors were required and volunteers were needed to help out during the, not for profit, event.

“We need contributions for office supplies, tech support, venue, prize packages, meals and morning and afternoon teas, groceries, promotion, media support, accommodation discounts and your time if you’re willing to help.”


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