Startup Weekend Derby

    Friday, March 10 - 12, 2017

  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 Derby

Friday, March 10 - 12, 2017

Friday, March 10 - 12, 2017
Event starts at 6:00 pm

University of Derby
University of Derby
Kedleston Road
Derby, Derbyshire DE22 1GB

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Welcome to the very first Startup Weekend Derby!

Startup Weekend is a worldwide movement that brings together entrepreneurs, designers, developers and startup experts to build creative solutions to the world’s most pressing problems -  all in one exhilarating weekend.

Maybe you’ve got a world-changing idea that can be brought to life through technology, entrepreneurship and some solid elbow-grease? Perhaps you’re uninspired at work and looking to take part in something a little different?

Whatever your reasons, Startup Weekend Derby is your opportunity to kick ass and flex your creative muscles.

Over the 54 hours from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon you’ll be thrown into the ideal environment to connect with some amazingly talented individuals, discover your own entrepreneurial journey, learn what it really takes to found a real company and start building your way to success.

You’ll pitch your ideas, form awesome teams, speak with real customers and access experienced mentors, before finally taking to the stage to present to a panel of seasoned entrepreneurs with backgrounds in design, development and startup investment.

Come spend the most mind-blowing weekend of your life and make your mark with us at the very first Startup Weekend Derby. We’re super excited see you there!

Stay tuned for event updates and announcement via
Twitter: @SWDerby


Friday March 10th

6:00 pm
Arrive at the venue and get checked in

6:15 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 March 11th

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!

6:00 pm

7:00 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 March 12th

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

5:30 pm
Final Presentations

7:30 pm
Judging & Awards

8:15 pm

9:00 pm
Go Home!


James Poyser
CEO @ inniAccounts

James in the CEO of inniAccounts, which helps contractors, independent professionals and small business owners to manage their company's accounts, easily and tax-efficiently. 

He's adventurous and inquisitive. He asks "Why not?" and "How?" then finds great ways to distill and communicate complex information: be it in their communications or in the design of their app. His time in China as a digital marketing consultant gave him invaluable insight into how people interact with technology. His blend of technical knowledge of software and apps with his marketing experience means his passion for delivering a market-leading service is infectious.

Event Judges

Samantha Deakin Hill
Founding Partner @ Campus Capital

Samantha is Founding Partner at Campus Capital, an early-stage venture capital firm investing in high growth potential startups. She is also a mentor in residence at a coworking space for student and graduate startups at The University of Sheffield.

Samantha is ingrained in the northern tech startup community. She is a Techstars Community Leader and Global Facilitator, and in 2016 she co-organised the largest Lean Startup conference in Europe.

Justin Johnson
CEO @ Biotaware

Justin has over twenty-five years in the software business. He spent the first four years of his career developing clinical chemistry software for University Hospital in Nottingham that was later to be used in private clinical trials. He then became a contractor developing 3D rendering software for the computer games industry. After a few years he embarked on his first entrepreneurial venture as cofounder and Chief Technology Officer of a games company based in Leeds.

In the past 10 years, Justin has co-founded numerous high growth companies. His mission is to facilitate and manage company growth as well as oversee the creation of technology products that help people and make the world a better place. In Biotaware, his duties include setting the vision and strategic goals for the company, forming strategic alliances, and responsibility for sales and marketing activities. He ensures that the company is working optimally in delivering projects and achieving commercial objectives.

Dawn Foote
Managing Director @ Katapult

Dawn is Co-Founder and MD of Katapult, established in 2001 immediately after graduating from University of Derby. Katapult is a marketing agency focused on results-driven creativity.

Katapult have recently been named as a top 50 creative company by Creative England. The Creative England 50 highlights “inventive, innovative and brave” businesses in the creative economy that have turned creative ideas into commercial success.

Dawn also sits on a number of boards for cultural organisations/venues and also chairs the Digital Network in Derby which remit it to showcase, develop and support digital businesses. She is also recently a new mum, learning to juggle work and family life.

Bruce McLeod
Enterprise Advisor @ University of Derby

Bruce McLeod has provided support to over 700 companies across the East Midlands assisting both senior management and staff with skills development while delivering a number of government funded business support programmes. He's also been able to draw on more than 20 years’ business development experience, working for companies such as O2 and T-Mobile, to improve the effectiveness of companies at each stage of the sales process. This has been done through one to one and group sales training supported by ongoing coaching. He has gained experience using a range of business diagnostic tools, is a Thomas International Qualified Practitioner and an accredited business support professional. 

Bruce has worked with several East Midlands based universities in support of their entrepreneurship and employability strategies providing a range of services including workshops, surgeries, mentoring and assisting with competitions. He is now responsible for running Be The Boss, a programme of support aimed at helping  the University of Derby’s students and graduates set up and run their own new businesses.

Coaches and Mentors

Phil Hornby
Head of Product Management Platforms @ Continental Automotive

By day a corporate product leader at Continental Automotive, out of hours an aspiring entrepreneur. Phil is also a veteran of a number of Startup Weekend events as both a participant and organiser.

Helen Clark
Independent UX Designer

Helen is an independent UX consultant and designer leading the creative direction and user experience of product and web design projects. She creates empathetic, accessible and user-centred products that also meet business needs and goals. Helen will be looking out for a thoughtful approach to user experience in your MVPs. 

She writes. And she speaks.

Helen is an organiser of TedXDerby so she knows a well-delivered pitch when she sees one.

Ben Smithwell
Customer Experience and Design Consultant

Ben is a customer experience consultant, service design geek and director of Smithwell Agency. He is an experienced coach to young and aspiring entrepreneurs, TEDx speaker and mentor at the University of Nottingham Business School.

Ben is well placed to help you uncover the true needs faced by your potential customers and discover how your startups can deliver exceptional value to them.

Chris Kemp
Director @ Unchain Life Ltd

Chris Kemp is an established member of the Derby and Nottingham tech scene, as co-orgniser of NottsJS tech group and a regular attendee of many others tech meetups. Chris has a huge interest in technology and over the years has worked at many of the area's top companies as a team leader, IT manager and full stack developer. He has introduced agile processes to several companies, mentored many developers and created development teams as well as developing countless applications.

With lots of real world experience in rapidly creating software products Chris is an idea mentor for advising attendees on their software development

Sharon Stevens-Cash
Director @ Gravity Digital Ltd

Sharon began her career in marketing after graduating from University in London with a business studies degree in 1996. After many years of building her career and cutting her teeth on global brands such Ellesse and Adidas Sharon started her first business in 2008.

She now runs award-winning digital marketing agency Gravity Digital Ltd, along with her sister, Debbie Porter, and business partner Andy Smith, based in Derby. Sharon is an accomplished marketer. She is obsessed with getting under the skin of brands and finding out their strengths then promoting these through the right channels. She has earned a reputation for helping companies from start ups to established businesses streamline their marketing and make their budgets work harder and more efficiently.

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Startup Weekend Derby 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.



Community Supporter

Organizing Team

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

  • Andrew
  • Giorgio
  • Bev
  • Sean
  • Stela


Aleksander Bordvik

Event Staff

Simon Redding

Simon is a social entrepreneur who has developed multiple asset-based community development programmes as social enterprises. He has a background in technology, service design, open data, mapping & innovation management. At Monkey Park, the startup incubator he founded in Chesterfield, he mentors local people wanting to start digital & social businesses

Event Blog

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