We successfully wrapped up Mackay’s 1st ever Startup Weekend held at CQUniversity, Mackay with 100 attendees, 33 Participants, 13 ideas pitched, 5 teams formed, 16 sponsors, over 411k people reached on Twitter!
The weekend started out on Friday night with introductory speeches, with the running of the event by our Facilitator who flew over from Perth, Marcus Holmes, editor of Startup News. Participants were invited to pitch an idea in 60 seconds, participant ages ranged from a 58 year old woman with an idea to sell private real estate much more cheaply, to a 9 year old boy with an app to help you find out what Fish are in a specific Dam/Lake.
Then participants coalesced and formed teams around their favourite ideas, and got to work validating and building a business plan.
Saturday saw them getting out of the building and talking to strangers at events around Mackay including Global Grooves, some even making sales of their future products!
Sunday was a frenzy of preparing 5 minute presentation pitches and then presenting in front of a panel of judges which included the Mackay Mayor Deirdre Comerford, Manager of Economic Development at Mackay Regional Council – Debra Howe, local Startup Entrepreneur Darren Cooke of http://strictlyservice.com.au (a website to make car servicing easier anywhere in Australia), and international entrepreneur Mark Phillips (http://www.markphillips.biz/ ex Apple, Microsoft, and founder of 4 successful startups).
Out of the 5 teams, 3 managed to get customer validation in the form of actual or committed purchases, and 1 team had a verbal confirmation of intention to invest. The ideas the teams pursued broke down to:
- Smart wifi controlled smoke alarms (3rd place) – ProConn (Protect Connect)
- Smart wearables with a location messaging function for child safety (2nd place) – NoVi Wearables
- Live-streaming platform for the current trading value of coins and notes (1st place) – Numo’s
- A plugin facility for social media to spice up posts – Wordshop
- A certification scheme for organic and local food growers – LOC – Linking Our Communities Aus Certified
We had a number of special guests, either as mentors, speakers, Councillors, a video I recorded when I met the Minister for Science & Innovation the week before at the Advance Qld Roadshow, and even a skype-in from the founder of That Startup Show (http://thatstartupshow.tv/v2/):
- MP Leeanne Enoch – Minister for Science & Innovation & Minister for Housing and Public Works
- Cr. Deirdre Comerford – Mackay Mayor
- Cr. Chris Bonnano – Portfolio for Festivals, Events and the Arts
- Dr. John McIntosh – Owner & operator of Mackay’s GP Super clinic
- Kat McArthur – Winner of Goldcoast Startup Weekend
- Mark Phillips – International entrepreneur, speaker and business mentor
- Plus many more mentors and coaches: http://www.startupmackay.org/events/startup-weekend-mackay/
Considering it was our 1st Startup Weekend with volunteers with very little event management experience, overall feedback from the event was great, and we want to make many improvements next year based on our own observations and feedback from participants for next year.
Startup Weekend Mackay was even mentioned in the Tech Street Journal and Startup News: