Australia's First Indigenous Startup Weekend

    Friday, August 26 - 28, 2016

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Speakers
  4. Judges
  5. Coaches and Mentors
  6. Sponsors
  7. Organizing Team
  8. Blog
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Australia's First Indigenous Startup Weekend

Friday, August 26 - 28, 2016

Friday, August 26 - 28, 2016
Event starts at 5:00 pm

The Edge, State Library of Queensland
Stanley Place
Southbank, Queensland 4101

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Have you thought about starting a business that could help your Community?

Discover what you need to know in a fun and supportive environment. Australia's First Indigenous Startup Weekend is an inspiring and informative way to start a business, build a product, bring an idea to reality, or grow your entrepreneurial skills and networks.

What is Australia’s First Indigenous Startup Weekend?
Australia’s First Indigenous Startup Weekend is a 54-hour event where you get to be part of starting a business in a weekend, which will help increase Indigenous businesses and employment.  It's all about learning the skills and gaining experience in entrepreneurship by taking part in pitching, business model creation, coding, designing and market validation. At the end of the weekend, your team will pitch their idea to a panel of success business people (judges) for your chance to win some awesome prizes.

All ideas, applications and platforms are welcome.

8 reasons why you should attend Australia's First Indigenous Startup Weekend...
  • FREE FOOD AND DRINKS!!! You will get amazing meals over the weekend for breakfast, lunch and dinner, which includes two Indigenous themed dinners and drinks overlooking the beautiful Brisbane River
  • Indigenous entertainment (dance and music performance)
  • Australia’s First Indigenous Startup Weekend exclusive and unique t-shirt and water bottle
  • Access to some of Australia's best startup coaches and mentors
  • Opportunities to win cool prizes (listed below)
  • Whether you start a company, find a cofounder, meet someone new, or simply learn a new skill that stretches you beyond your usual 9-to-5, you are  guaranteed to leave the event better prepared to navigate the chaotic but fun world of business
  • Most importantly, find some partners and launch a business that will help Close the Gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians
  • Winning team can utilise  the Brisbane Microsoft Innovation Centre Hub for a week to continue working on their idea (attend events and expand your business networking)
  • 4 tickets to the Microsoft Startup Bootcamp on the 1st and 2nd of September with Warwick Hill (CEO-in-Residence and MD of the Microsoft Accelerator, London)
  • The 3 winning teams will receive fortnightly mentoring for 3 months from Australian Tech Entrepreneur, Dwight Gunning
  • Pitch coaching or solution architect session for winning team
  • Hustler Award is an Xbox One + Fifa game
  • 14 x Microsoft Azure Bluetooth speakers
  • 14 x Microsoft Azure battery power pack phone chargers
  • More prizes will be announced soon..
*Limited tickets available. Get yourself a ticket asap*

What you will get out of it 
You will gain the skills and experience you need to launch a business within 54hrs, experience the high and lows of starting a business and overcome challenges. Australia’s First Indigenous Startup Weekend is a part of a global grassroots movement of active and empowered citizens who are learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures or products, which will help increase Indigenous employment and stimulate growth in our community.     

Register now for the best experience of your life, which will give you the skills and experience you need to change the world for the better! 

Who can attend Australia’s First Indigenous Startup Weekend?
Anyone. Entrepreneurship is a team sport so we encourage anyone to take part and join our mission to increase Indigenous employment and help Close the Gap. Whether you have an idea or not, it doesn’t matter. 
Everyone is welcome. 

Attendee FAQ -

Contact email -

All ideas, applications and platforms are welcome


Friday August 26th

5:00 pm
Arrive at the venue and get checked in for the Welcome to Country and Indigenous Dance Performance

6:00 pm
Dinner & Networking
Eat food, share ideas, practice pitches, get to know fellow participants

7:00 pm
Welcome & Speakers
Review agenda for the weekend and introduce speakers, coaches, and community leaders

7:30 pm
Pitches Start
Optionally line up to give your pitch

9:00 pm
Attendees vote for the top pitches

9:15 pm
Form Teams
Teams start forming and discussing ideas

10:00 pm
Begin Work
Start to formalize teams and take an inventory of skills. Be honest, and direct about what resources and skills are needed for the weekend. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow

Saturday August 27th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

9:30 am
Begin Work
Teams formed and setting up workspace for the weekend

12:00 pm

1:00 pm
After-lunch check-in, status reports, call for help

2:00 pm
Coach Meetings
Coaches help teams one-on-one. They are here to help!

6:30 pm

7:30 pm
After-dinner check-in, status reports, call for help

10:00 pm
Finished for the day. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow

Sunday August 28th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

10:00 am
Coaches arrive. Final opportunity to ask questions

12:00 pm

12:30 pm
Coach Meetings
Coaches arrive… ASK QUESTIONS

3:00 pm
Presentation Prep & Tech Check
Final hours of worktime should be focused on perfecting your presentation, tech-check for final presentations also takes place

4:00 pm

5:00 pm

6:00 pm
Final Presentations

7:30 pm
Judging & Awards

8:30 pm

9:00 pm
Go Home!


Michael McLeod
Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder at Message Stick

Michael is a Ngarrindjeri Monaro man from Southern NSW.   
Message Stick is a unique business in that it is owned by Aboriginal Australians.  The company was started in 2003 to show that Aboriginal Australians can own and manage a services business that engages with large corporations and Government agencies.  The business does not seek any sponsorship, donations or social grants whatsoever.  They seek only the opportunity to prove themselves and to be treated as worthy business partners. 
Michael’s future is aimed at advocating the need for Australian society (particularly the private sector and our Governments) to embrace, and support, the challenge Indigenous people face when his people begin the journey towards economic independence. 
His Message Stick business model is aimed at proving that Indigenous and non-indigenous people can work together to achieve generic economic results – yet still fully support, and participate in, community growth.

Hon Leeanne Enoch
Member for Algester; Qld Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy and Minister for Small Business

Leeanne is a proud Nunukul/Nughi woman from North Stradbroke Island. She has a strong sense of social justice supported by her remarkable ability to listen to the needs of others and turn issues into positive actions.
As the first member of her family to graduate from university, Leeanne developed a lifelong commitment to education early in her life. She spent more than a decade as a high school teacher, working in a number of schools in South-East Queensland and in East London where her passion for community development and social justice grew stronger.
After leaving teaching, Leeanne held senior roles in local and state government leading the development and implementation of policies to support some of Queensland’s most at risk families. Leeanne worked for the Australian Red Cross for seven years in leadership roles at the state and national level guiding humanitarian policy and programs to improve the lives of Australia’s most vulnerable. She has also worked with the Queensland Council of Unions to bring justice and equity to all Queenslanders.

Event Judges

Laura Berry
Chief Executive Officer Supply Nation

Laura was appointed CEO of Supply Nation in May 2015, having been involved with the organisation since its inception through her work with two founding member companies, Leighton Holdings and Qantas Airways.
Laura has two decades of experience in stakeholder management, risk mitigation and reputation management with a career that has spanned the private and public sectors, including Federal and State Politics, Public Affairs and roles with top ASX Listed companies. Laura joined Supply Nation following four years at Qantas where she led the Qantas Group’s Corporate Community Investment Program encompassing the Qantas Reconciliation Program, Qantas Foundation, Indigenous and Community Partnerships, Workplace Giving, National Arts Sponsorships and the Qantas Brand Ambassadors Program. Laura is currently a Director of Indigenous Business Australia's Indigenous Tourism Asset Management Division, and formally the Chairperson of CareerTrackers Indigenous Internship Program and a director of Supply Nation and Engineering Aid Australia. Laura holds a Graduate Certificate in Management from the University of Technology, Sydney and is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Laura proudly identifies with her Aboriginal and Italian heritage and was born and raised in Canberra.

Wayne Denning
Managing Director Carbon Media

In 2006 Wayne Denning, Managing Director and proud Birri Gubba man left a successful career in Federal Government to form Carbon Media, a full service creative agency with a difference.  Determined to give a positive voice to Indigenous Australians, Wayne set about creating innovative advertising campaigns and marketing and communications strategies for a diverse client portfolio as well as unique content for children’s television and hasn’t looked back. A decade on, Wayne remains the sole owner operator of the ever evolving Carbon Media leading a team of passionate creatives with equal commitment. Beyond Carbon Wayne embraces his role as the Deputy Chair of the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia and as Digital Ambassador for Queensland. Wayne is also on the Community Leader Roundtable: Engagement Plan for the Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Strategy.

Joanne Pellew
Managing Director at Ochre Jobs

Joanne founded Ochre in 2010, as the first business in Australia to specialise in the recruitment of Indigenous people to the mining industry. Joanne diversified Ochre to include a Registered Training Organisation which is the only RTO in WA owned and operated by an Indigenous woman. Ochre has now placed over 600 Indigenous people (and counting) into employment via labour hire, permanent roles or through the customised Pre-Employment Programs   Joanne is a passionate advocate of real training and job initiatives for Indigenous people and continues to lobby companies and Governments to create genuine change for Indigenous people, based on the knowledge she has gained working at the coalface of Indigenous employment and training.

Coaches and Mentors

Jesse T Martin
Founder and Director of the Streets Movement Organisation

Jesse T Martin is the founder and Director of the Streets Movement Organisation. Mr. Martin is of Indigenous decent with his people coming from Sydney and the Torres Strait. He has a university degree in politics and international relations, and is a fighter in and out of the boxing ring. His firm and unwavering conviction for human rights and social justice has ignited the ideology and formation of the Streets Movement. Mr Martin believes in fighting today for a better tomorrow.

Darren Rogan
Tech Entrepreneur

Darren is a Tech Entrepreneur, repeat Founder, Lean Advocate, a Startup Techie with high scale aspirations and strives for continuous improvement. He has been involved in startups as Founder, early stage Employee and Advisor both Locally and in the US. He is was the Entrepreneur in Residence at iLab and now Mentor and Advisor at iLab. He is also a Mentor at River City Labs and Ipswich Fire Station 101.

Kaylene Langford
Director StartUp Creative

StartUp Creative is an initiative led by me– young entrepreneur, coach and mentor. I am genuinely committed to bringing together young, motivated individuals and connecting them with industry experts, funding opportunities, development programs and mentors. By acting as a conduit between opportunities and outcomes, I am determined to support a new generation of Australian entrepreneurs and business owners.

Troyson Bassani

Troyson Bassani a member of the Innovation Team at Cape York Partnership. He is a graduate of the Secondary and Tertiary Cape York leaders program, and completed a Dual degree in Political Science and Business Management + Entrepreneurship at James Cook University. Troyson is also the Founder of Dreamtime Funding a crowd funding platform for indigenous based small businesses and social enterprises. Troyson's homelands are Yarrabah and Hopevale.

Lynten Johnson
Managing Director at Health Collect

Manager that conceived and created an online health video service, titled Health Collect. Health Collect is a website that provides health knowledge, advice and information through our collection of videos.

Kate Diete

Founder of SwiftPitch, JournoMate & Tea Witty.
I have over 15 years experience in senior management working for global technology companies specialising in general management, operations and technology industries.
Through recently visiting 24 startup markets and personally incubating 12 startups, I have a unique perspective on entrepreneurial and startup markets around the world.
I regularly mentor startups and talk at events around Europe and Asia-Pacific.

Paul McCann

Founder Swift Pitch, JournoMate, You Me Achieve & TeaWitty 20 years experience working in Tech specialising in System Architecture, Cloud Computing & Networking. I've worked for a number of the leading global FTSE 100 businesses in UK, US, India, Middle East & Australia. In 2015 I achieved the goal of personally incubating 12 startups in 12 months with my co-founder. Each startup searched for repeatable and scalable business models. During this time I visited 24 countries getting involved in the startup scene of each with gives me a unique perspective on entrepreneurial and startup markets around the world.

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Australia's First Indigenous Startup Weekend team is grateful for the support of local community partners without whom this event would not be possible.
Learn how to become a sponsor here.





Organizing Team

Techstars Startup Weekend Brisbane is 100% led by volunteer community leaders.
Learn how to get involved here

  • Dean
  • Matthew
  • Troy


Sam Birmingham

Senior Startup Coach who is passionate about innovation, tech, education & startups.

Event Staff

Dale Chapman
Aboriginal Chef

Dale Chapman, a renowned Indigenous chef, puts her heart and soul into these creations to tantalise your palate with flavours of native Australian fruits, herbs and spices creatively blended with cuisines of the world. Some of her innovative fusion cuisine include exotic sauces such as Macadamia Satay, Lemon Myrtle & Coconut and Bush Tomato & Chilli Sauce. Flavours of the rainforest can be tasted in her Ooray and Riberry Jams which are also an ideal accompaniment to meats, poultry or game food.

Event Blog

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