START UP WEEKEND: Members of team Scaritage, from left, Meredith Rimmer, Perry Smith, Darryl Gallagher, Helen Pannett and David Turnhout, during Startup Weekend at NMIT on Sunday. The start up weekend is a chance for locals to test their business skills over a weekend. Photo: Jessie Johnston.

Businesses startup in just 54 hours during comp


It’s amazing what can be achieved in a short space of time, as many found out during Nelson’s second annual Startup Weekend.

Organised by Innovate, Startup Weekend is basically a “fast and furious business bootcamp” giving people just 54 hours to pitch a business idea, test that idea in the market place, build a team and get a firm business plan in place.

Starting on Friday, those participating in the full-on weekend gathered at the NMIT to pitch ideas and form teams, before Saturday and Sunday were spent figuring out how that business would make money, who it would be sold to and, if possible, building a prototype of their product, all leading up to Sunday night when each team performed a Dragons Den pitch in front of three judges.

“It’s an amazing range of people, some of them already own businesses and they have a spinoff project in mind, some of them already own businesses and are just looking for ways to improve, some of them are employees who want to start their own business. We also have people like me who don’t have their own business or plans to start one, but can see the value to their careers in being able to think like the boss,” says interim manager of Innovate and Startup Weekend, Jennifer Stewart.

Each team received feedback from the judges on their business and, while there were prizes including a spot on Innovate’s business course, the main reward was the knowledge and skills gained from the experience.

Around nine teams were formed, with business ideas ranging from a time bank where people could trade their time and services in exchange for health care to an all night food delivery service for local motel guests.

Staff from Nelson Provincial Museum also took part in the weekend, forming the business Scaritage.

The idea focused on advising and guiding other museums and heritage organisations on how to present local history and stories to the public with an element of fear, in order to engage their audience as well as generate revenue.

After the judges deliberation on Sunday night, it was NapNanny that took out the top spot with their idea, originally pitched by Mathew Pottinger, for a baby monitor that could track the position that the babies head is in while sleeping in order to reduce flat head syndrome, while runner-up was Scaritage.