Startup Weekend Sunshine Coast concluded last night with a wave of energy and an overwhelming number of connections made between budding entrepreneurs from all walks of life.
The marathon weekend started on Friday night with more than 200 in the audience listening to 43 raw concepts pitched in under 60 seconds each. Participants then formed into 13 teams who worked furiously all weekend to prove their concepts and ready themselves for the grand finale on Sunday night.
Collaboration was clearly a theme with many teams creating tools and ideas that connect, share and improve productivity in many different shapes and sizes.
The Startup Weekend winners are Hitched In, a team led by 27-year-old Jessie Lee, a final year Journalism student at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC).
“Hitched In is an online platform that connects brides with wedding planners, and in turn connects wedding planners with industry professionals, resulting in better communication and most importantly, happy brides,” Jessie said.
The three-member team was crowned as winners last night and narrowly beat a strong field of contenders.
“Winning certainly wasn’t the primary objective of most people attending Startup Weekend,” said Retha Scheepers, USC lecturer in Entrepreneurship and lead organiser for the event.
“Nobody fails here, everyone wants to see everyone else succeed and learn along the way. The future belongs to the ones who show up,” she said.
The judging criteria included topics such as customer validation, execution and design as well as business model viability.
Many of the teams reached out to communities that they were trying to target resulting in thousands of customer survey respondents and interviews during the weekend.
The journey may have started at Startup Weekend Sunshine Coast however continues and builds on the connections made creating an even stronger entrepreneurial Sunshine Coast community.
Photo: Racheal Rose-Rehardt, Simon Doonican and Jessie Lee from Hitched In, the winning team at Startup Weekend Sunshine Coast 2015.