Startup weekend just the start for innovate

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Nelson is set for a dramatic increase of new businesses – and all in one weekend.

Nelson’s first ever Startup Weekend is being hosted by Innovate Nelson, a new facilitator developed by the Nelson City Council, Nelson EDA and NMIT to help foster innovation and entrepreneurship.

Startup weekends have been held all over the world and are supported by internet giant, Google. Innovate Nelson manager Matt Pearcy says the format is proven and he’s looking forward to see what Nelsonians can come up with.

“I’ve heard a good quote about it, ‘it was like doing the MBA, but in a weekend’. It’s especially good for small to medium-sized businesses because you’re often running around doing the day-to-day things and you’re missing that excuse to look up and look at growth and strategy and those sort of things.”

The weekend will be held from Friday July 26 to Sunday, July 28. It involves people being separated into teams and developing an idea into a business before its judged.

Matt says it’s 52 hours of mayhem. “A lot of startups from these events are still going strong after three months but the major benefit for many attendees is the experience of it.”

He says experienced business people, budding entrepreneurs, developers wanting to challenge their skills or designers looking for new ideas would all benefit from the challenge, which will be based at NMIT.

The Startup weekend is one of two major events to help launch Innovate, which was given the green light to start up in March this year. The other is Co.Starters, a tested international platform to help communities grow local business.

Co.Starters is a nine week programme which equips aspiring entrepreneurs with the tools needed to turn business ideas into action and will be introduced by its co-founder, Enoch Elwell Tuesday night at NMIT.

Matt says small business remains one of the fundamental economic drivers for local economies and job creation. “So we wanted to introduce a programme which narrows the gap between the support this sector receives, and the support available for larger businesses.”

For more information about any of Innovate’s events, see www.innovatenelson.com