It was an honour and a privilege for Venture Centre to be invited by Priority One, Tauranga's economic development agency, to present at their 2016 AGM.
Co-founder, Pascale Hyboud-Peron took the stage and focused on one of the most public (and fun) entrepreneurial ecosystem development projects Venture Centre is proud to co-ordinate with the ever growing entrepreneurially minded community. What follows is Pascale's presentation.
"Thank you for asking me to talk about Tauranga Startup Weekend tonight.
Thank you Priority One for getting behind Tauranga Startup Weekend as Sponsor for five years running.
Thank you for the opportunity to articulate why we do it and make clear for you the value it delivers our community.
Collectively, organisers of Tauranga Startup Weekend, have clocked 20+ Startup Weekends, I’ve been part of 10 of them, and counting, both here in Tauranga and up and down the country over the last four years.
Needless to say ... I love Startup Weekend!
So I'll start with a little inside knowledge…
- Is not a boot camp.
- Is not a startup factory.
- Is not a pipeline of immediately investable ideas.
But it is;
- A 54-hour learn-by-doing experience
- A public celebration of entrepreneurship
- A generator of entrepreneurially-minded people.
Startup Weekend delivers an experience of entrepreneurship.
It is so fitting that I get to talk about Startup Weekend at this point of the evening, right between Chris (C. Battershill, Waikato Environmental/Marine Research Centre) & Neil (N. Barnes, Interim Chief Executive – Toi-ohami Institute of Technology) who were talking about the wealth of ideas and research and connections in tertiary institutions and before Shane (S. Stuart, Innovation Manager Priority One/Waikato University) and Jono (J. Jones, Product Development Manager, Blue Lab Corporation) who will be talking about innovation in action and how connected, seasoned entrepreneurs make these ideas fly while creating huge value and deep IP.
So what is the purpose of Startup Weekend in our local ecosystem?
It increases capability and capacity, to equip people to make more ideas fly.
It is an an efficient way to introduce a structured innovation method, used the world over.
It is one piece of a larger puzzle that thriving cities use to support entrepreneurial economic growth.
It is introduction to a network of local entrepreneurs and support from local professional service providers.
It is only a once over lightly, a starting point on the journey that is entrepreneurship but is a gateway to an entrepreneurial way of thinking.
In five years at Tauranga's Startup Weekend over 150 ideas have been pitched on Friday night, 45 of these have been developed with the help of over 50 mentors and presented to 20 Judges on Sunday night.
Over 500 hundred people in our community have been involved and engaged with TGASW!
Incidentally, I was by taking part in Tauranga Startup Weekend 2013 that I found the start of my entrepreneur-self: shortly after the event I found a team, we formed around an idea we had, and now we what we have is the unfolding Venture Centre story!
So what’s the Startup Weekend secret recipe?
- Start the prep with a team of 10 or so committed, diverse organisers.
- Reach out to sponsors – all that gets raised gets spent on the event, no-one makes money from it.
- Curate the perfect Mentor team – their combined super-powers will support and guide participants throughout the process.
- Get the tools ready – all teams use the Lean Canvas to build their business.
- Brief the Judges – they judge the teams on how well they go through the process of entrepreneurship, not on the idea.
- Find the participants, those courageous people, your friend, your sister, your neighbour. Invite them to make that leap of faith, for 99 bucks, all seven meals included. Sell them an experience with an outstanding, unexpected return on investment.
Then add: a pinch of inspirational talk, plenty of good food to keep energy levels high and lots of humour, kindness and friendship to keep spirits equally high.
Combine all, and bake for 54 hours.
Organisers and mentors bind together to support participants to take the many, consecutive leaps of faith. From pitching an idea; to forming a team from total strangers; to entering the valley of death when the customer you thought you had tell you that what you thought was important simply isn't.
They also get participants to trust the process, push through the burn and fatigue until … change happens.
And change does happen, for all to see!
The idea thrown in on Friday night – after 54 hours of baking, has now morphed into a polished pitch – the slides look good, the thoughts are organised, the teams are ready and have come as one to present to the judges.
There’s also the less visible, deeper change, which is evidenced in what participants say after the event:
- I am more confident I can get started
- I learnt that validation is key
- I met so many helpful and powerful people
- I found my stretch zone
- I didn't know I could achieve so much in 54 hours
The outcomes for these individuals are many and varied;
- The connections they’ve made, in and outside of Tauranga to help their businesses and projects along.
- The motivation they got.
- The tools they've used can be picked up again with another idea and run with it. Some leave their jobs. Some use the tools and mindset in their existing businesses, existing teams.
What about the outcomes for our region?
Who has been an SW Mentor? Please, standup.
A Judge? Please, standup.
An Organiser? Please, standup.
A Participant? Please, standup.
Startup Weekend sponsors see what your dollars are doing, getting all this people together for the cause! Sponsors, please stand up too!
Raise your hand and pat yourself on the back. Look around you that's what Startup Weekend does it builds community. And you are all part of it!
Now, imagine rallying year round to support grassroots entrepreneurship, pass the starting point that is Startup Weekend, to create the environment, budding entrepreneurs need to make their ideas fly day-to-day, to create value, to be investable?
We at Venture Centre mobilise our team and our friends to put on Startup Weekend to create a culture and critical mass of people interested in and equipped with the basics of entrepreneurship.
Our work is to crystalise and develop this critical mass by;
- making pathways visible
- making learning opportunities available
- and network connectedness ongoing.
Together we are creating a density of creative, innovative thinkers to increase the potential for successful ventures to emerge from Tauranga."
Thanks to Pascale for telling the story so succinctly!