It was great to have the opportunity to mentor at Startup Weekend Tauranga as it’s such an intense, high energy and creative environment. Nine teams created business plans, sought market validation and created a five-minute sales pitch fit for a panel of four judges – all within 54 hours (actually, it was only 53 with the loss of an hour due to daylight savings).
Every participant, organiser, facilitator, sponsor, mentor and judge becomes a part of sharing the mission to inspire, educate and empower individuals, teams and communities to solve problems and succeed together…
The event kicked off on Friday evening with nervous, engaging and at times hilarious initial pitches (zombie apocalypse alarm anyone…). Teams of five to six people, most of whom had never met prior to the event gravitated toward the idea they felt had the potential to become a profitable businesses. It was impressive to see the groups immediately tackling challenging questions to assess whether the business idea would be viable.
Upon arriving late Saturday morning, I found a number of teams had pivoted after the realisation they were lacking the market validation needed to get their idea off the ground. This left them around 28 hours to come up with a new, valid idea, plan it, create a brand, and produce a sales and marketing plan.
With a bit of support and guidance from the mentors and a ton of commitment and determination, and a willingness to make changes, every single team nailed this. After extensive feedback on their initial pitches, all had a polished presentation ready to roll by 4.30pm, Sunday.
The calibre of the final pitches was impressive. Business concepts ranged from outsourced home vege gardens to real fruit icecubes. The judges gave every team excellent feedback on their a business plans and pitch.
Congratulations to all nine teams – PlayItRight, Woe to Grow, EvaBox, Delish Ice, Odd Jobs, Watch Me Grow, Blink and of course the winning team – Pocket Museum, an interactive app with geo-location technology that allows users to listen to historical stories.