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Establishing a New Zealand startup ecosystem

15 Feb 2012

What would you expect to pay for more than fifty hours of inspiration, networking, and assistance with your Start Up idea? What if food and drink were included in that cost? You could be forgiven for thinking the price tag was well over the $500 mark, but Christchurch Start Up Weekend offers all that and more for just $100.

Justin Scott, a member of the team behind the Start Up Weekend events,  told TechDay the point of the event is not to make a profit but to provide value to entrepreneurs.

"The New Zealand entrepreneurial system is disconnected, there’s no real ecosystem out there and that’s part of what we are trying to change.”

The series, which  has run in Wellington and Auckland and will be in Christchurch at the end of this month, started out specifically based around mobile technology, but now targets any and all technology-based businesses. 

"We specifically target developers and designers,” Scott says. 

"There is a massive gap when it comes to finding designers in particular.”

For a good idea to work, Scott explains, a business needs a designer, a developer and an entrepreneur, and while it’s not unheard of to find all three in one person, it’s not common either. Participants in the weekend have sixty seconds to pitch an idea, after which teams are formed organically to pool resources, energy and ideas.

It’s not just people with business ideas who attend either. Potential investors also go along, looking to support aspiring entrepreneurs. 

"Part of what we do is try to find resources, in particular in the form of mentors, for entrepreneurs, and show people that doing well and doing good are not mutually exclusive concepts.”

Scott, an entrepreneur who participated in Start Up Weekend himself before joining the team, says one factor in particular is key to success for businesses – at any stage of development

"You have to find a common vision. Often teams all like an idea but they don’t have the same vision, so they’re all going in different directions. But if you have the same vision, you’ll find ways to make it work. "

If you are in business only for money, Scott continues, you have a problem if the money runs out. If a business is driven by more than just money, though, the chances of success are higher. 

Scott and the team are especially excited about taking Start Up Weekend to Christchurch.

"The weekend is very much about community and Christchurch is really ready for that community feel. We’ve got the support of the business community and Mayor Bob Parker and we’re really looking forward to getting things moving.”

Christchurch Start Up Weekend takes place from February 24 to 26. Go here for more.