Plymouth Startup Weekend

    Friday, November 15 - 17, 2019

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

Friday, November 15 - 17, 2019

Friday, November 15 - 17, 2019
Event starts at 6:00 pm

University of Plymouth
Roland Levinsky Building
Drakes Circus
Plymouth, UK PL4 8AA

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Innovation, creativity and collaboration: build a startup in 54 hours!

Do you have an idea for a new product, service or experience that you’re looking to take to the next level? Do you want to learn how to start a business? Plymouth Startup Weekend is back! 
Led by the University of Plymouth and part of the Techstars Startup Weekend movement, it is the place to meet like-minded, entrepreneurial individuals and be immersed in a weekend of creativity and collaboration.

What do you need to bring? Lots of energy! You'll pitch your own idea or listen to others, then vote on the most interesting ideas and form teams. Then, in teams, you’ll work together on a business idea, design a prototype that fits the need of your target audience, deliver a pitch, receive feedback from experienced entrepreneurs and likely change your approach entirely! Your idea can span social, environmental, financial, environmental or other issues but it must be something you have not worked on previously.   It’s all about the team! You can come with friends, but you’ll get the full experience if you participate in separate teams and work with people with diverse skill sets.   

Plymouth Startup Weekend is a full, weekend long experience – 54 hours to be exact!
Your ticket includes:

  • seven full (and delicious) meals over the course of the weekend
  • benefits and discounts from our global partners
  • one-on-one time with amazing coaches and mentors
  • a new network of developers, designers, and entrepreneurs eager, like you, to change the world
  • all the internet and coffee you can consume. 
  What happens at a Startup Weekend?
  • Day 1: Meet, pitch and team up
  • Day 2: Learn from mentors and get to work
  • Day 3: Present to the judges
What next? Watch the video below to see what you can expect, and 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 Techstars Startup Weekend movement! No talk, all action!

This activity is led by the University of Plymouth and is part of the iMayflower project. iMayflower is supported by The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport through the Cultural Development Fund which is administered by Arts Council England. Find out more about the University of Plymouth’s activity here. 

Event photography and video
Please be aware that some of the University of Plymouth's public events may be attended by University photographers and videographers, for capturing content to be used in University online and offline marketing and promotional materials, for example webpages, brochures or leaflets. If for whatever reason, you or a member of your group, do not wish to be photographed, please make yourself known to staff working at the event on arrival or to the photographer.


Friday November 15th

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

6:30 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

7:05 pm
Dawn Bebe, Founder and Comms Director at Crowdfunder, is going to launch Plymouth Startup Weekend with an inspiring talk

8:00 pm
Pitches Start
Optionally line up to give your pitch

8:30 pm
Attendees vote for the top pitches

9:00 pm
Form Teams
Teams start forming and discussing ideas

9:30 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 November 16th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

9:20 am
Begin Work
Teams formed and setting up workspace for the weekend

9:30 am
Peter Kelly, Co-founder and CEO of Imployable, is going to launch Saturday with an inspiring talk

10:00 am
Customer Validation Workshop
Led by our experienced coach Rachael Howourth from Momentum SW, this workshop will help our teams develop their customer validation skills to conduct some market research and refine their ideas

1:00 pm

2:00 pm
Check-In and Welcome Coaches
After-lunch check-in, status reports, call for help. Coaches arrive and are introduced to each team.

2:30 pm
Coach Meetings
Coaches help teams one-on-one. They are here to help!

4:00 pm
Building a Brand Workshop
Led by our experienced coach, Dan Pritchard from Astley Media, this workshop will help attendees look at building a brand

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 November 17th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

9:20 am
Morning Briefing

9:30 am
Pitching Workshop
Led by our experienced entrepreneur and techstars facilitator Cindy Spelt, and Rupert Lorraine from the University of Plymouth, this workshop will help our teams develop their pitching skills ready for presenting to the judges later in the day

10:00 am
Welcome Coaches
Coaches arrive and are introduced to each team

10:30 am
Check-In with Coaches
Final opportunity to ask questions and seek advice from coaches

12:30 pm

1:30 pm
Presentation Prep & Tech Check
Final hours of worktime should be focused on perfecting your presentation, tech-check for final presentations also takes place

3:30 pm
Final Presentations

6:30 pm
Judging & Awards

7:00 pm
Time to reflect on a great weekend with a drink and some food


Peter Kelly
Co-Founder and CEO of Imployable

In 2015 Peter Kelly left the Royal Marines after ten years of service, he was helped to gain industry qualifications in Project Management through the military and swiftly jumped into the civilian world; within three months of leaving he was unemployed. Highly qualified, inexperienced and unemployable.  Following a nine month period of unemployment Peter reconnected with an old Royal Marine friend, Kieron Yeoman. After many conversations about the problems people faced with employment they decided to dig into the industry as a whole to try and identify root causes of peoples’ employment struggles, their findings sparked the creation of imployable®. In November, Peter and Kieron won the 2018 ‘Entrepreneurial Spirit Award’ at the NatWest Great British Entrepreneur Awards. The app is getting a huge amount of coverage nationally with mentions in both Forbes, the Telegraph and Tech Week London DCMS. imployable partners include Google, Sir Robert McAlpine, Sodexo, Department for Education, the Department for Work and Pensions and the Ministry of Justice.

Event Judges

Gavin Jones
Managing Director at Elixel & Co-Founder of Digital Plymouth

Gavin is the artist that couldn't draw, the digital student that couldn't code and the business owner who started out thinking that turnover was something you did to a steak to cook the other side.

Since co-founding Elixel in 2012, the agency has supported clients of all shapes and sizes to unlock the power digital can offer. From household names like JP Morgan and Game to public sector bodies like Plymouth City Council and Plymouth University. Gavins main passion is helping corporates to be more creative, and believes that by understanding the people they are serving, they will be able to develop products and services that will have real impact.

Coaches and Mentors

Kieron Yeoman
Co-Founder and Head of Projects at Imployable

Before co-founding imployable with Royal Marine friend Peter Kelly, Kieron was running a business that actively coached and supported people into work and helped the ‘unemployable’ into meaningful employment. After many conversations about the problems people faced with employment, the pair decided to dig into the industry as a whole to try and identify root causes of peoples’ employment struggles, their findings sparked the creation of imployable®. Launched in March 2019, imployable is a new innovative employment app which allows people to identify, map and track their way in to meaningful employment. imployable, is working towards revolutionising the recruitment industry and aiding people into employment. The team are also passionate about helping all parties who find themselves in a similar position to the company founders. As Head of Projects, Kieron, works in forming relationships with key individuals across sectors to influence and ensure companies, organisations and the government approach education and training with the view of ensuring people are ready for employment. This is from minority groups such as ex offenders to the wider work force. Projects also include ensuring individuals recognise their transferable skills to enable them to work across sector and career transition which results in a happy and integrated teams.

Chris Blunt
Managing Director at Plymouth Software

Chris is a software developer, business owner, author, and tea drinker. He is the founder and managing director of Plymouth Software, a software consultancy specialising in providing expert support and development to organisations who work with Ruby on Rails.
Chris has over 10 years experience running businesses, and a lifetime of experience writing software using a wide range of different programming languages and frameworks. He works with local, national and international clients to develop successful applications, whilst optimising their processes to cut the time and resources spent developing unnecessary software.

After nearly a decade as a director of Plymouth Software, Chris has lived through what it takes to run a "bootstrapped" business as well as taking the seed of an idea and seeing it through to fruition. He enjoys sharing what he's learned and experienced with new entrepreneurs and business owners, and has
talked about his experiences at conferences and events.

Tony Edwards
Director of Future Sync Software & Events / Education Outreach for Software Cornwall

Tony is a software developer, entrepreneur and mentor operating in the broad tech industries. He has worked on software projects for international banks, large heritage organisations and a range of local and national Universities.

Through his award winning work with Software Cornwall, Tony is helping to get the next generation of tech talent ready for tomorrow's workplace. His mentoring efforts include training with robotics, building websites, creating marketing campaigns, launching companies and supporting burgeoning twitch streamers.

Dan Pritchard
Managing Director of Astley Media

Dan Pritchard is Managing Director of South West marketing and PR agency Astley Media and co-founder of Tech South West. A former TV producer and journalist, he has been helping brands embrace change and create genuine emotional connection with people to help them grow their business for 20 years - with a particular focus on technology, transport and professional services. He also plays a Fender Telecaster guitar in a local indie band, gets obsessive about road bikes and yearns to go sea kayaking more than twice a year.

Gregg Harding
Business Finance Specialist

During his early career in business and asset finance, and later as a financial adviser, Gregg supported numerous businesses, equipping them to continue trading through the tough economic climate – experience that he later brought to bear as corporate Finance Director for a leading Plymouth business. With Gregg’s expertise and guidance, the latter obtained funding for rapid growth, increasing its turnover from £2m to £6m, and workforce from 20 employees to well over 100, in just 12 months. Gregg remains a shareholder and consultant to the facilities management business he helped to form, managing projects for, amongst others, Transport for London/London Underground, Hitzinger UK and Clancys. Gregg has spent the last 6 years using his experience and knowledge to coach and mentor businesses to access finance, and as Project Director for the access to finance project funded in London by J P Morgan, he and his team won the UK SME Finance Award at the London Excel Business Awards in 2016.

Rachael Howourth
Founder and Director at Momentum South West

Rachael, founder of Momentum South West Ltd, has enjoyed 20 years in B2B corporate sales for automotive market leader, Auto Trader.  
As Sales Director, Rachael ran a team of 57 staff covering the UK and Ireland. She saw the company migrate revenues from Publishing to Digital and played a strategic role during the period the business went through IPO to become the most successful automotive float on the stock market. 
Rachael is now supporting South West businesses to grow their revenues through consultancy, coaching and training. Momentum South West Ltd work with businesses of all sizes, helping grow their top line revenues through improved sales and leadership performance.

Hannah Harris
CEO at Plymouth Culture

Hannah has worked with the public, private and not-for-profit sectors supporting business, economic and cultural development. With a focus on innovation through partnership working, Hannah has been responsible for the development of multiple initiatives that link Plymouth globally whilst supporting the bespoke aspects of the city to build the placemaking agenda. Hannah’s work cuts across the economic, culture, education and arts sectors bringing experience at management and board level.

Paul Lewis
Partner at Thompson Jenner

Paul is a Chartered Accountant and partner at Thompson Jenner LLP, a firm with offices in Exeter and Exmouth.  He works with a broad portfolio of clients including start-ups and established businesses offering a full range of advice. Paul thrives on helping start-ups turn ideas into commercial reality, helping them navigate the financial and taxation world and offering commercial advice on how to grow. He also works with several clients from the academic and scientific sector, assisting with financial and taxation aspects of their research and development phases.
 Paul and his team at Thompson Jenner are also panel members of Plymouth University’s One Stop Ideas Shop, a forum offering expert guidance for people with inventions and new business ideas.

Stewart Noakes
Co-Founder at Canopy

An experienced entrepreneur, Non-Executive Director, Interim Manager, Executive coach and mentor Stewart has started, grown and run multiple businesses in the UK, USA, India and Portugal. 

Adaptable and pragmatic, Stewart is most at home when collaborating with founders of growing businesses, or companies going through a significant transformation. 

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Plymouth 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.

Led By

Part Of IMayflower

Supporting Sponsor

Organizing Team

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

  • Rupert
  • Tom
  • Emily


Cindy Spelt

Passionate about building connections with people and bringing people together around purpose driven projects.

Event Staff

Chris Bennewith
Head of School for Art, Design and Architecture

Chris Bennewith is currently a Professor of Interactive Art and Design at Plymouth University and Head of the School of Art, Design and Architecture. Before undertaking his role Head of the School of Art, Architecture and Design at Plymouth, he spent 8 years in New Zealand as Associate Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Enterprise at Massey University’s College of Creative Arts. Chris spent his early professional career working in the interactive media industry in London. He trained as a Graphic Designer and acts as the lead visual designer within international art and design collective Squidsoup, with a research interest in the development of a visual vocabulary that connects the digital and material worlds.

Event Blog

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