Startup Weekend Sunshine Coast

    Friday, April 29 - May 1, 2016

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Speakers
  4. Judges
  5. Coaches and Mentors
  6. Sponsors
  7. Organizing Team
  8. Blog
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Startup Weekend Sunshine Coast

Friday, April 29 - May 1, 2016

Friday, April 29 - May 1, 2016
Event starts at 5:30 pm

Spark Bureau, Maroochydore
17 Ocean Street
Maroochydore, Queensland 4558

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Want to create a startup in 54 hours?

Startup Weekend is an intense, action-based, coffee induced, and sleep deprived event made for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurial people. This event is for everyone - people with business ideas looking for skills, or people with skills looking for a business idea. Not sure which one you fit? It doesn't matter - the future belongs to the ones who show up! 

All Startup Weekend events follow the same basic model: anyone is welcome to pitch their startup idea and receive feedback from their peers. Teams organically form around the top ideas (as determined by popular vote) and then it’s a 54 hour frenzy of business model creation, coding, designing, and market validation. The weekends culminate with presentations in front of local entrepreneurial leaders with another opportunity for critical feedback. 

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Setup for Success Before/After Startup Weekend


Friday April 29th

5:30 pm
Arrive at the venue and get checked in

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

6:30 pm
Welcome & Speakers
How will the weekend work, meet the speakers, coaches, and community leaders

7:15 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

11:00 pm
Venue closes

Saturday April 30th

7:00 am
Venue opens

8:30 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

9:00 am
Lean Startup Primer
This one hour workshop with Tim Eldridge was rated as the 'best' in 2015 and will cover all you need to know: MVP, Customer Validation and the Business Model

12:00 pm

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

2:00 pm
Coach Meetings
Very valuable sessions, teams book in to see Coaches for one-on-one sessions. 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

11:00 pm
Venue closes

Sunday May 1st

7:00 am
Venue opens

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

10:00 am

11:00 am
Pitch Workshop
Get ready for your Demo pitch tonight by nailing all that matters!

12:00 pm

12:30 pm
Coach Meetings
Coaches are ready to answer questions, listen to pitches and help refine final pitches.

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
Final Presentations

7:30 pm
Judging & Awards

8:30 pm

9:00 pm
Go Home!


Tim Eldridge
Director, Eldridge Marketing

Tim works directly with the CEOs of established companies, as well as start-up entrepreneurs, to assist them with business development goal setting, strategy development and stakeholder engagement. He has had over 20 years' experience in working with famous global brands and Fortune 1000 clients at senior levels, and has developed supremely customer-orientated view of their business. Tim helps these companies review their strategic marketing choices, and advises them how to put winning strategies into motion.

Peter Grant
Executive Coach

Peter has over ten years experience running start-ups as well as a long (20 year plus) history in executive roles across corporate and government. He has worked in various Chief Information Officer positions, as a State Director for Microsoft and as Vice president of Gartner Consulting. Currently Peter is working as an executive coach on 'interesting' consulting assignments. He also provides advice to a number of advisory boards in the university and government sector. Peter is a Fellow of the Australian Computer Society. He is an Adjunct Professor at Queensland University of Technology and the University of Queensland. He holds a Bachelor of Business and a Research Masters Degree in Information Systems.

Event Judges

Stephanie Moroz
Chief Executive Officer

Stephanie has extensive experience leading the development and commercialisation of new technologies. She has worked in a range of settings from large multinationals to startups in Canada, Germany, France and Australia. She is now CEO of Nano-Nouvelle, a venture capital funded business developing nanomaterials for applications such as high performance batteries. Coming from a strong technical background, she has successfully pitched numerous business plans either for internal corporate funding or for external capital raising, and in 2014 she was the winner in the Investment Category of the Sunshine Coast Innovation Centre’s Business Pitch Competition.

Zach Johnson
CEO, Spark Bureau

Zach Johnson has 15 years in international business building technology teams and businesses across several continents.  After proudly serving in the U.S. Army as a special operations soldier, Zach received a BA degree in Liberal Arts and completed executive eduction programs with AGSM at UNSW and Harvard Business School.  Zach is currently the Founder and Managing Partner at SPARK BUREAU, a startup incubator and coworking space in Maroochydore.  An American by birth, Zach has considered the Sunshine Coast home off and on since 2005. 

Natasha Kelso
National Manager Broker & Small Business

Natasha has spent the last 15 years in the Banking and Finance industry, after being an Electronics Technician in the Royal Australian Navy - living on a ship with no personal space certainly shapes a person. During her banking career Natasha has come through the ranks and now heads up the Broker & Small Business channels at CUA. Taking the broker channel from re-entering the market 3 years ago, to now representing over 30% of their lending portfolio. Natasha’s experience in banking and finance has seen her win various sales awards, and most recently she has featured as one of 18 women across Australia in Diana Ryall's latest publication, Unexpected Women.

Sander Kroes
Principal Consultant, Five Keys

Sander Kroes (BE Mech, PhD) has over 25 years of product design, engineering and business experience within numerous industries including the rail, food, manufacturing, mining, energy and steel sectors. As CEO, Sander has provided project management, product development and feasibility study services to companies such as BHP, Rio Tinto, CSR and BlueScope and many small to medium enterprises.  In recent years Sander was invited to lecture in the areas of innovation and inventive design in Australia and Brazil, and recently published a book entitled Inventive Design for Entrepreneurs.

Coaches and Mentors

Dean Alle
Entrepreneur in Residence, Innovation Centre

Dean Alle has a wealth of experience in entrepreneurship, commercialisation and intellectual property management. He has led major technology commercialisation projects with Australian Universities and Research Centres, spin off and start up companies, and corporates. Dean has worked as a Patent Examiner for IP Australia, as Intellectual Property Manager for several start-up companies at the Australian Technology Park Sydney, and as strategic advisor to commercialisation centres. Dean has a PhD in Atomic and Molecular Physics from the Australian National University.

Julien Marchand

Having acquired an MBA in Management from Queens University, NC, USA, Julien is currently completing his PhD in Entrepreneurship. His professional experience includes: Change Management consultant for Capgemini in France, Entrepreneur in Mobility applications, Innovation consultant for various SMEs and Business Developer Manager in innovation for Telstra Enterprise and Government. Julien is passionate about leveraging his practical experience to help student entrepreneurs and further the research on student entrepreneurship.

Wilf Watson

Wilf Watson is an award winning entrepreneur and multimedia producer. For the last decade he has worked in a range of professional design and production roles developing e-learning content, as well as producing award winning short films, television commercials and shows for clients such as National Geographic. Wilf is currently studying a double degree, majoring in Marketing, Management and Serious Games. He is the founder of Phenomec, a tech start-up developing unique virtual reality products and applications. Phenomec was founded as a result of winning the Sunshine Coast Start-up Weekend in May, 2014.

Lisa Wain

Lisa, a startup junkie and entrepreneur at heart has started more than six businesses, is currently involved in three and is passionate about encouraging small business, innovation and sustainability in Mundubbera. She is part of the TEDxMundubbera team and has participated in two previous Startup Weekends. She is passionate about coaching founders by asking the right questions to help them progress.

Simon Doonican

Currently a USC psychology student, Simon Doonican has participated in two Start-up Weekend Sunshine Coast events, last year as co-founder of the winning team. Simon draws on his experience in starting two businesses of his own, combined with his knowledge of the start-up process gained through the USC Entrepreneurship minor, where he currently works as a tutor. Being a veteran of the SWSC process, Simon can give ‘from the trenches’ advice on how to keep it together in the 54 hour maelstrom that is Start-up Weekend Sunshine Coast.

Paul Forbes

Paul Forbes has extensive business experience, running businesses on 3 different continents where he has been on the cutting edge of innovative thinking, strategic planning and people management. Currently, Paul runs the Sunshine Coast and Bundaberg offices for Aon Risk Solutions, one of the largest insurance brokerages in the world. He recently implemented a coaching and development system nationally, resulting in a 6% increase in revenue. Paul is passionate about innovation and finding better solutions.

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Startup Weekend Sunshine Coast 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 Sunshine Coast is 100% led by volunteer community leaders.
Learn how to get involved here

  • Jason
  • Retha
  • Jarna
  • Anne
  • Sandie
  • Marcus
  • Rachael


Lalitha Wemel
Regional Manager, Asia Pacific

Lalitha Wemel is a community architect based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. She is incredibly passionate about fostering entrepreneurship, grassroots leadership, and strong communities. Lalitha has been involved in various startup projects and communities for the better part of the last decade, both in and out of Malaysia. She has a deep love for eloquent minds, adventure, coffee, and travel. She is currently the Regional Manager for Techstars Startup Programs across South East Asia and Oceania, where she works with amazing community leaders to strengthen and empower their local startup ecosystem. 

Event Blog

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