Startup Weekend Youth Cairns

    Friday, November 10 - 11, 2017

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Speakers
  4. Judges
  5. Coaches and Mentors
  6. Sponsors
  7. Organizing Team
Buy Tickets

Event Alerts and Updates

Get the latest on Techstars Startup Weekend, Cairns, and other local events through Techstars Startup Digest.

Oops! Double-check that email address.

Startup Weekend Youth Cairns

Friday, November 10 - 11, 2017

Friday, November 10 - 11, 2017
Event starts at 7:30 am

S Block, TAFE Cairns
Gatton St
Cairns, Queensland 4870

Buy Tickets

Start a Business in 2 Days

Startup Weekend Youth, is a two day event on Friday 10th and Saturday 11th November, during Global Entrepreneur Week. Students from dozens of FNQ schools (approximately 50 students aged 12 – 18) will attend and/or participate in, this event. Note: Students are not able to attend independently of their school. Registrations are to be made by a teacher/representative of the school.

The project will provide youth with life changing opportunities, as they:
  • learn soft skills
  • work with technology educators and innovators
  • consult with mentors
  • collaborate with entrepreneurs and industry employers
  • participate in tactile learning opportunities
  Startup Weekend Youth aims and objectives are:  
  • Equip, empower and motivate regional youth with skills to work towards future proofing their career
  • Provide a regional forum where mentors, industry specialists, educators and local entrepreneurs can collaborate
  • Provide real life coaching and entrepreneurial skills
  • Development of soft skills to improve employability skills, including but not limited to:
    • pitching
    • agile planning
    • ideas screening
    • market validation
    • minimum viable product
    • stakeholder and community engagement
  • Provide opportunity to contribute towards building a start-up ecosystem for our entrepreneurs of tomorrow
  • Provide access and opportunity to developing and commercialising innovative products and services
  • Provide access and opportunity to network with industry employers and mentors
  • Provide access and opportunity to experience-based learning through incubators and innovation hubs such as theSPACE Australasia
  • Encourage and support creativity and innovation to develop the participant's individual 'pitch'
  • Build team cohesion and entrepreneurial community across multiple schools
We encourage schools, teachers and students to get involved. Reminder students must be actively attending a school and accompanied by a teacher

See what it's all about

Learn More


Friday November 10th

7:30 am
Arrive at the venue and get checked in

8:30 am
Welcome & Speakers
Review agenda for the weekend and introduce speakers, coaches, and community leaders

9:00 am
Pitch Fire
All attendees will have the opportunity to pitch an idea - 1 minute pitches

9:30 am
Attendees vote for the top pitches

9:50 am
Agile Planning
Damian Zammit of theSPACE Cairns will guide students & teachers through the process of using Agile Planning to map out their ideas

10:25 am
Market Validation
Alistair Hart - Local Entrepreneur will guide students & teachers through the Market Validation process

11:00 am
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

11:15 am
Hustle, Hustle, Hustle
Mentors are available to support teams to develop their ideas into opportunities

12:00 pm
Working lunch
No time to stop - eat and work

12:30 pm
Hustle, hustle, hustle
Mentors are available to support teams to develop their ideas into opportunities

3:00 pm
Afternoon Tea
Keep going

6:00 pm
Eat food, share ideas, practice pitches... Working dinner for most

8:00 pm
Wrap up for the night
Go get some rest ready for a huge day tomorrow

Saturday November 11th

8:30 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

8:45 am
Begin Work
Do you have any traction with your idea? Paying customers?

10:30 am
Pitch Training
David Burston - Confidence Unlimited will help teams prepare for their final pitches this afternoon

12:00 pm

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

4:00 pm
Final Pitches
Time to show the world what you've been working on

5:50 pm
Final Wrap up and close
You did it! 2 days to create a business

6:00 pm
Informal Dinner & Networking
Opportunity for teams to take a breath and enjoy the glow of their achievements


Damian Zammit
Cofounder / COO theSPACE Australasia

theSPACE Australasia   ·          Damian works with businesses to create and implement change management strategies and plans to maximize employee adoption and usage and minimize resistance. These processes drive faster adoption, higher ultimate utilization and greater proficiency of innovation techniques.   As a Business Coach and accredited trainer in Business and Management, Damian delivers nationally recognised programs and tailored training. 

Alistair Hart
Managing Director Mangoesmapping & Global Evangelist for Mappt.

Alistair first explored his entrepreneurial roots as an 8 year old, picking field mushrooms on the family sheep farm and selling them to passing vehicles on nearby Highway One. After a successful exit (enough $ for a few showbags), he went on to establish his first regular business as a gardener/handyboy as a twelve year old - a pursuit from which he derived a real income on leaving school.
Alistair recently launched his own company, Mangoesmapping, based here in Far North Queensland and is also the Global Evangelist for Mappt, a disruptive Australian mapping app for Android tablets. Mappt is owned by Takor Group which is soon to be listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX).
Alistair enjoys combining the cut and thrust of business with exploring customer insight, and is intrigued by transformative innovation, disruptive business models and all the opportunities offered in this digital era.
Currently managing his own company, Mangoesmapping, Alistair enjoys combining the cut and thrust of business with exploring customer insight, and is intrigued by transformative innovation, disruptive business models and all the opportunities offered in this digital era.

David Burston
Confidence Unlimited

Confidence Unlimited runs one day "Professional Communication" workshops plus a range of shorter courses, for developing confidence and leadership abilities in individuals and employees. 

David holds the voluntary position of Pitch Master at The SPACE, a start-up business incubator in Cairns, assisting entrepreneurs to hone their pitching skills. He also coaches the TEDx JCU speakers as well as many individuals in developing their presentation skills.

Event Judges

Angela Toppin

Angela Toppin, is currently Councilor, Mareeba Shire Council and recently retired as  Principal, Cairns State High School in Far North Qld.  She was a Business Teacher for 14 years at Mareeba State High School and was appointed Head of Department Business and Technology at Smithfield State High School in 1990.  During that time she was able to ‘drive’ many innovations in the area of Business Education.  She and her Team of very competent teachers were able to offer a very ‘dynamic’ curriculum which attracted enrolments from many  other schools in the Cairns area. During this time she was President of the Peninsula Branch of BEAQ.  During her presidency Angela focussed very heavily on professional development for Business Educators and collegial support.  It was an extremely active branch and very highly regarded by Principals’ and Executive Officers of Education Qld.   1993 – Appointed Project Officer for Women in Management Project for Peninsula Region.  During this time Angela developed a Regional Plan for women aspiring to leadership positions in educational leadership.  Established a very successful Association of Women Educators in Peninsula Region, which she chaired for six  consecutive years.   1994 – Appointed Deputy Principal at Mareeba State High School and  ‘spearheaded’ VET in Schools   In 1997 her daughter was diagnosed with the death threatening – meningiococcal septicaemea, which caused her to re-evaluate her career direction for several years.   1998 – Acting Principal, Dimbulah  P – 10 School.  Focussed on community engagement.   2000 – Acting Principal Atherton State High School and then appointed Principal at Malanda State High School.  2003 Appointed Principal, Mareeba SHS.    2011 – Appointed Principal Cairns State High School   Throughout her Principalship, Angela has focussed very heavily on community engagement with her School Community and in so doing has improved outcomes for her students in a variety of ways.  Her passion for education has seen her lead a very large school  with enrolments of 1650 – Cairns State High School.  A very complex school which offered a variety of  unique Programs of Excellence and the International Baccalaureate, as well as maintaining International Accreditation through the Council of International Schools   In 1993 her ‘passion’ for rural students saw her initiate the Business Liaison Association in Cairns, which focuses on school industry links.  With Angela’s drive and passion, this Association now offers a wide range of programs to approximately 9000 – 10 000 students annually. She has remained Chairman of this Association and has ensured its sustainability so that young people in Far North Qld are ‘given the opportunities’ to experience unique  programs’ with business and industry.   In 1993 she was awarded Corporate Woman of the Year through the Cairns Businesswomen’s Club.  A unique honour for a passionate educator!   In 1995 she was awarded The Paul Harris Fellow, The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International, for her work with the Business Liaison Association and Association of Women Educators.   In 2009  she was awarded the prestigious Leadership in Profession Award by the Qld Secondary Principal’s Association and was made a Fellow of the Business Educators Association of Qld for her long term dedication to Business Education in Qld. She was also awarded a Rotary International Pride of Workmanship Award for her leadership of Mareeba SHS.   In 2010, The Cairns Post listed her as one of the  Most Influential Woman in FNQ (Number 12).   In June 2016 Angela was awarded the very prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award by the Qld Secondary Principals’ Association in Brisbane by Director General of DETE, Dr Jim Watterston. The Award is in recognition of the significant contribution Angela has made to state education, and the work of Qld Secondary Principals’ Association over an extended period of time The Award honours and recognises the great contribution Angela has made to education throughout her professional career.   Angela Toppin sees herself as ‘Someone who makes a difference for young people’.  She continues to mentor and coach young people in leadership positions and is very passionate about expanding opportunities for students in rural and regional  areas.   She is passionate about continuing her work for youth as a Councillor – ‘they are the leaders of the future’ and we must invest in that future!  

Dr John Hamilton (Ph.D)
Head Management & Governance, Director E-Business, College of Business, Law and Governance, James Cook University.

Professor John R. Hamilton (Ph.D.) researches competitiveness, innovation and strategic futures. He has extensive corporate national (and international) leadership and management experience. He consults on online and/or offline engaging interactive environments, and develops capabilities for business-consumer real-time interfacing. Current research interests include: corporate leadership, value-deliverance, social networks, corporate and virtual intelligences, cloud business scenarios, major-events management, tracking, and interactive learning. John manages the Acute Futures Group ( It deploys international R&D task teams with software developers from Norway, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Australia). The Acute Futures Group uses its unique value-deliverance systems to create custom-built, experiential, skilling scenarios for global and futures-focused organizations.

Mel Wagner
Manager Commercialisation, Strategic Policy and Innovation

Mel Wagner has been a grants manager for over 10 years with the Queensland Government’s Department of Science Information Technology and Innovation’.   Mel has a degree majoring in Accountancy and Management and has numerous other qualifications in banking, finance, training and investigations.   Prior to working for the Queensland Government Mel worked all over Queensland, including the greater Cairns region,  with the National Australia Bank.   As a high school student Mel played rugby league for Queensland alongside the ‘King’ Wally Lewis. Our team are currently working on significant improvements in the grants process to save time and money for both grant applicants/recipients and the government.   Mel lives in Brisbane.

Coaches and Mentors

Roy Wybrow
Lecturer at JCU School of Business: Project Management & Entrepreneurship

Started career at Aircraft Research & Development in DSTO Edinburgh SA in 80’s where worked on GRU project, F111 Digitalization project, Jindalee Project and later F18 & BlackHawke selection project In 90’s was design manager and later project manager in an innovative special purpose machine engineering firm winning 3 beyond 2000 awards. In 1992 while in this company developed and oversaw the introduction of interactive webpages where clients could amend in real time projects. This came from intranet project (1991) which saw design and factory workshop being networked to allow real-time amendments of autocad drawings. Another project in 1993 saw the introduction (working with Westpac) of over-the-net automatic salary & invoice payment & banking system. From here was head hunted by BHP International as a greenfield project manager. This lead to a career in mid 90’s as a contracted Management turning around failing businesses to profitability in various countries for various large corporations. This career was cut short due to political unrest and advise to leave which forced Roy back to Australia and landed in Cairns. Upon arriving in Cairns (2001) gained MSCE qualification and worked setting up national ERP systems for Solution accounting software company as well as an MBA. Upon completing the MBA was asked to develop statistics program for JCU SOB (Due to physics & Maths qualifications from Flinders university in 80’s). 2005 developed a project management and entrepreneurship subjects that are more applied. In the Entrepreneurship subject students create start-ups to pitch at a Dragons Den format. Both are still running.

Nathan Norris

Nathan is a graduate of Smithfield State High School and the Queensland University of Technology. He holds a Bachelor of Corporate Systems Management and a Bachelor of Information Technology.
After a year of working as a technology consultant, Nathan now works for a social enterprise called Young Change Agents that runs workshops for youth to see problems as opportunities for their own social enterprise.

Tim Daly

Having helped found Skin Analytics in 2012, Tim has been involved in the business as a regulatory and financial advisor before helping to set up the Australian office. He holds an MBA and has worked extensively at a managerial level in various government organisations and has strong experience with regulation, governance and oversight which he brings to the company.   

Jimmy Downey

Jimmy Downey, is a co-founder of RefLIVE, a sports tech platform that allows soccer referees, leagues and associations to digitise match day administration. After a successful launch in a FIFA International match in 2016, RefLIVE is now the number one technology of choice for referees in more than 100 countries.   Prior to RefLIVE, Jimmy played soccer professionally, having progressed through the Queensland Academy of Sport, Australian Institute of Sport and the A-League. 

Gaurav Tyagi

Gauruv Tyagi is one of the Co-founders of Pycno an Agtech company which combines sustainability and technology (two of Gauruv’s biggest passions), to tackle one of the biggest challenges of this century: Food security. Pycno is now in Queensland to help farmers to have more crop per drop. Outside of Pycno, Gauruv is an active traveller, Cricketer and Meditator.

Sharyn Brown

Sharyn Brown is the CEO of the Townsville Business Development Centre. Appointed in October 2012, her professional career began working as an accountant in chartered firms in both Sydney and Townsville, for over 12years. In 2003, she started a subcontracting business in the construction industry in Townsville. The business was a leading trade supplier in the region for both domestic residential and commercial projects, delivering over $5.5m of contract work in the first 5 years. In addition to this, Sharyn developed and operated a tourism hospitality business targeting interstate and overseas clients exclusively through early social media platforms. Operating for 6years, the venue also hosted events and functions geared at fundraising to support humanitarian projects throughout Africa and SE Asia in partnership with World Vision and Oxfam. Sharyn went on to developing and delivering financial literacy programs to participants from indigenous communities, specifically to assist them create their own community welfare frameworks. She has also provided independent strategic management and business consultancy services directly to larger business clients throughout Australia, including scaling and sustainable growth implementation, project management, developing organisational culture, identifying and developing key strategic partnerships and increasing financial performance. In 2016, Sharyn was appointed as the Qld Director on the national board of both Business Enterprise Centre Australia (BECA), and Business Innovation and Incubation Australia (BIIA). She has held a number of roles on various economic development and community based committees, including youth arts and sporting associations. Having worked directly with 1000’s of business owners and operators, across all industry sectors throughout her working life, she has developed a genuine passion for people and their individual business pursuits. She firmly believes in the capacity for everyone to achieve success on their own terms. She has 3 children, likes music and hasn’t owned a TV in 7yrs.

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Startup Weekend Youth Cairns 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.

Signature Sponsors


Organizing Team

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

  • Troy
  • David
  • Loraine


Troy Haines
Cofounder of Cairns Innovation Hub

Troy is the founder of theSPACE, a Startup & Innovation hub which brings together budding entrepreneurs and innovators, to share, learn, connect and grow. theSPACE features a Coworking space, meeting rooms, access to coaching/mentoring and capital raising.

The founder of 4 entrepreneurial Startups and one successful exit, Troy coach’s entrepreneurs and innovators through the commercialisation process from idea screening through to growth and exiting. 

Event Blog

See Full Blog

We haven't written any posts yet. Stay tuned!