Organisers of this year’s Startup Weekend are, from left: Markus Erdmann, Christine Donaldson, Mathew Pottinger and Jen Lund. Photo: Kate Russell.

Jump-start for Nelson’s budding entrepreneurs

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The ideas will be flowing, and so will the coffee at Nelson’s Startup Weekend which kicks off this Friday at NMIT

Organised this year by local.foundation, the event is a chance for aspiring entrepreneurs to create a business pitch for judges in just two very rewarding, but exhausting, days.

One of this year’s organisers, Markus Erdmann, says they are excited to be bringing the global event back to Nelson for the third time.

So far they have around 20 people signed up, but are hoping to get 40-50 people along.

“It’s so good for Nelson – it provides networking opportunities, and it teaches people how to be their own boss, or improve their existing companies. Nelson now has new businesses, all because of Startup Weekend,” says Markus.

Beginning with open mic pitches on Friday, attendees bring their best ideas and inspire others to join their team.

Over the weekend teams focus on customer development, validating their ideas, practicing LEAN Startup Methodologies and building a minimal viable product, before demonstrating their prototypes and receiving feedback from a panel of experts.

Participant Mathew Pottinger says the first time he attended a startup was, incidentally, when someone gave him a ticket – but now it’s a “must do.”

“It’s that good – I keep coming back for more,” he says.

He was in last year’s winning team that came up with a product to treat and prevent flat head syndrome in babies.

“You can go in with or without an idea, or just bring your skills – that’s the beauty of it. And you’re not quitting your day job, just adding to it.

“It’s amazing how much you can get done in a weekend when you put your mind to it, and the level of business mentoring is just crazy.”

Organiser Jen Lund adds that the event it great for people if they want more confidence, or just want to test out the ideas they have.

“It gets people from a dreamer to a doer,” she says.

For full event details and tickets, go to http://communities.techstars.com/new-zealand/nelson-new-zealand/startup-weekend/11502