Startup Weekend Nelson

    Friday, October 18 - 20, 2019

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Judges
  4. Coaches and Mentors
  5. Sponsors
  6. Organizing Team
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Startup Weekend Nelson

Friday, October 18 - 20, 2019

Friday, October 18 - 20, 2019
Event starts at 5:00 pm

Mahitahi Colab
322 Hardy Street
Nelson, NELSON 7010

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Learn how to design and launch a business in 54 hours

Perhaps the most intense learning, networking and action taking weekend of your life.

  • Develop a business idea
  • Form teams around a chosen concept
  • Learn agile processes to make fast progress
  • Validate and build a prototype within 54 hrs
  • Have an incredible amount of fun

Do you have an idea you'd like to pursue, a problem you'd like to solve, or simply want to be a part of something exciting, but don't know where to start or who to start with? 

Here’s your rare chance to to learn from business and community leaders who have made a huge impact on their own lives and those of others.

Techstars Startup Weekend is the place to look for a team, create a prototype of your idea (though you don't have to come with an idea), validate a business idea, and receive feedback from experienced entrepreneurs and industry experts, all in one weekend.

It is also a great place for anyone wishing to experience entrepreneurial spirit, bring their design/coding/marketing/business skills to an exciting project idea, learn agile processes to use within their own business or start-up, or develop skills that will give them an advantage in many workplaces. 

Techstars Startup Weekend is a full weekend long experience. Your ticket includes:
  • 7 full (and delicious) meals over the course of the weekend
  • Benefits and discounts from our global partners
  • One-on-one time with amazing mentors
  • A new network of developers, designers, and entrepreneurs eager, like you, to change the world.
  • All the internet and coffee you can consume.

Dreamers, developers, doers and deliverers. 

Do you have a vague feeling you need to make a change in your life? Collaborate, connect, gain the support and that shot of confidence and energy you need to take massive action.You don’t have to be in a team already. We’ll wrap a team around you. You don't have to have a good idea - there will be plenty of good ideas for you to bite into.

No experience? That's fine. You'll learn everything you need to know to launch a business.
Experienced in startups? Build your connections and find your A-team to launch your idea.

A startup team needs your superpower - click that BUY TICKETS button above and grab your spot.

“If you're thinking that you could use your time better, wrong. This is the perfect opportunity for time-poor people. I’ve started a business myself, and it normally takes 6 – 12 months to have the same realisations, experimentation, testing, peer review you get over these this weekend. You’ll come out of this a different person. You’ll develop, grow your skills and networks, learn how to build a business - just by turning up." - Mathew Pottinger, One Giant Leap  3 x attendee and 2019 mentor.

What do you need to bring?

Lots of energy! You'll pitch your own idea (if you want) or listen to others, then vote on the most interesting ideas and form teams with diverse skill sets. You can come alone or with friends, but you’ll get the full experience if you participate in separate teams. Remember, it’s all about the team.

If you wish to bring an idea: Your idea should be something you have not previously worked on. The idea you pitch and the problem you set out to solve can span social, educational, financial, environmental, or other issues. Over the course of the weekend you'll be challenged to create a prototype of your MVP, or minimum viable product, that fits the needs of your target customer. You'll get feedback, iterate, and likely pivot your approach entirely!

Important: You cannot have worked previously on your idea.

The focus for this weekend will be to help design and build a commercially viable project that aims at creating intentional positive impact. What this impact looks like will be up to you. A wide range of skill types are required to make a project successful, so all are welcome to participate. 

Watch the video below to see what you can expect Then, if you’re feeling inspired, click on the “Buy Ticket” button now!

Still have questions? Feel free to reach us at

Don’t wait any longer and join the Startup Weekend movement!

No talk, all action!

See what it's all about

Learn More


Friday October 18th

5:00 pm
Arrive at the venue and get checked in

5:30 pm
Welcome & Speakers
Review agenda for the weekend and introduce speakers, coaches, and community leaders

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

6:40 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 October 19th

8:30 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

9:00 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 October 20th

8:30 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

9:30 am
Hear where teams are at.

10:00 am
Pitch Practice
Pitch Practice (5 mins)

12:00 pm

12:30 pm
Coach Meetings
Coaches catch up to keep teams on track

1:00 pm
Final Pitch Practice
Final Pitch Practices in front of mentors

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
Celebrate and Go Home to Sleep!

Event Judges

Helen Leahy
Pouārahi / Chief Executive

Helen Leahy is the CEO for Te Putahitanga o Te Waipounamu.
Helen was a Specialist Advisor, Strategy and Influence at Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu. She has held several senior roles in Parliament including Chief of Staff of the Maori Party and Senior Ministerial Advisor for the former Minister for Whanau Ora. Helen is also a member for the Child Youth and Family Modernisation process review panel.

Pic Picot

Pic Picot is the Owner/Founder of Pic’s Peanut Butter, a simple blend of roasted peanuts and salt that in nearly 12 years has become the best-selling peanut butter in New Zealand.   Pic, a legally blind peanut butter lover, with no experience in the food industry, made his first peanut butter for him and his son’s enjoyment in 2007, roasting nuts in a concrete mixer in his garage and selling his first jars at the Nelson Saturday market.   Pic’s Peanut Butter World, his new factory, cafe and visitor experience, opened in February this year, employing 45 people, and producing around 25,000 jars a day, with exports to Australia, China, the UK, the US, the Middle East and South East Asia.   In 2018, Pic was made a member of the NZ Order of Merit for services to business.

Lees Seymour
General Manager Executive

Lees is the managing Director of Nelson Management Limited, the management company for Nelson Forests Limited. Nelson Forests Limited employs over 500 staff and contractors in the Nelson region and supplies international markets in the USA, China, India, Spain, Japan, Australia and other countries. Lees is a qualified forester, has an MBA from Massey University and has further business qualifications from the Insead Business School in France. He has Chaired the NZ Forest Industries Council and has been a Board member of a number of forest industry organisations. He is an independent director of the property committee of Wakatu Incorporation, President of the Nelson Chamber of Commerce, and a Trustee/Board member of a number of community organisations. He is of Ngati Hikairo affiliation (Kawhia - West of Hamilton).

Coaches and Mentors

Michael Laurie
Commercial Relationship Manager for Westpac NZ Limited

Michael Laurie is a Commercial Relationship Manager for Westpac NZ Limited, providing transactional and funding solutions for medium to large businesses. 
Michael has worked in the banking & financial industry for over 15 years. Prior to this at the age of 23 he owned and operated his own successful business. Now Michael helps his clients manage their business banking, from managing the all-important funding lines through to strategic planning. 
You can expect 100% honesty, problem analysis and sound decision making when working with Michael. 
In his life outside of a suit he is a backyard mechanical engineer and enjoys working on his home hidden in the native bush on the Pelorus River. 

Julian Clark
Associate Partner-Business Advisory

Julian is an Associate Partner and Business Advisory specialist with Findex Nelson. He is a Chartered Accountant with thirteen years experience.  His areas of special interest are forecasting and planning, business advice and financing assistance. Julian has mentored at start up weekends before and is excited to bring his knowledge and expertise to the Impact Nelson start up weekend

Mathew Pottinger

Mathew studied Mechatronics at the University of Canterbury and in 2009 when it became apparent that the robot-apocalypse was still 10 years away, he turned his talents to developing technology to help New Zealand's Olympic athletes monitor their performance. Fast-forward to today and the power meters that his company produces are used by elite-level athletes around the world to help them get more out of their training.

Kyra Piccione
Writer. Storyteller. Learner.

I am a passionate story teller. I love to write. I have a diploma in Creative Writing, a BA majoring in English and minoring Philosophy, as well as a diploma in Journalism. In 2017, I was a finalist in the NZ Canon Media Awards for junior journalist of the year.

I spent all of 2017 travelling the world with my husband. Together we travelled to over 20 countries. We documented our journey on Instagram @thatkiwicouple.

Richard Chadderton

Richard 'Chad' Chadderton Chad advises companies on strategy and raising capital from banks and investors. He has spent 25 years in London working in the Capital Markets, investing in global equities and bonds. His clients included Rio Tinto, British Red Cross, Unilever, Queens College Cambridge, World Wildlife Fund, Raiffeisen Bank, UBS Global and more. He came to live in Nelson almost three years ago and set up a Corporate Finance boutique where he helps companies present themselves to potential investors.

Gilbert Robertson

I help local businesses think Global.

It doesn't matter if you intend to trade internationally, nationally, or locally, you still need to be aware of what is happening around the world. There is no point getting a Tsunami warning 30 Seconds before it is going to hit. The same goes when you are in business.

I help business owners to look outside their world for opportunities.

Don Grant

- Founder of Primal Health Foods, an innovative healthy food producer of High Protein, Low Carb snacks and the owner of the brand 'Penati' and Honestly Delicious Nut & Seed Crackers
- Co-Founder and Managing Director of award winning Tasman Bay Herbs, a culinary fresh cut herb supplier to supermarkets throughout New Zealand
- Winner of the 2014 Toastmasters New Zealand Humorous Speech Contest
- Pilot
- Volunteer Director of Friends of Motueka Health Care Services Ltd, a community owned business that operates the Jack Inglis Friendship Hospital in Motueka.

Chloe and Florence Van Dyke

Chloe is the founder of CHIA + AWAKA. The company is recognised as a leader in the beverage industry in innovation and nutrition. CHIA + AWAKA is widely distributed throughout New Zealand and overseas. Export markets include Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Chloe is passionate about start ups, innovation, business planning and strategy, and export markets

Event Sponsors, and Partners

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

  • Sacha
  • Leon
  • Richard
  • Markus
  • Chan
  • Jessie


Sacha MacDonald

Sacha MacDonald of Ngā Puhi, Ngati Ruanui, Ngā Ruahine and European decent has over 20 years experience in business management, human resources, capability development and accounting.  Frequently called upon for organisational capability, recruitment and human capital development projects.  

An entrepreneur herself, currently founder and co-founder of 4 separate businesses, Sacha utilises her years of experience managing businesses and teams to effectively deliver excellence.

A graduate of the Darden School of Business and an EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women 2017, Sacha is driven on creating agile and scalable business models where people are at the heart of the organisation.

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