Startup Weekend Kāpiti is set to inspire and stimulate the Kāpiti economy next weekend, coming at a time when many are evaluating their employment or business opportunities.
Due to Covid-19, Kāpiti Startup Weekend is the only Startup Weekend in the lower North Island for the next few months.
Running from September 18-20 at the Ramaroa Building at Queen Elizabeth Park, tickets are available for the 54-hour event which will deliver experiential education for up to 50 technical and non-technical entrepreneurs and is sponsored by Creative HQ and Kāpiti Coast District Council.
Organiser Ross Allen said it was touch and go due to Covid-19 restrictions but is thrilled the weekend is going ahead.
"Our goal is to increase the accessibility to entrepreneurship in Kāpiti and we see Startup Weekend as vital to stimulating the economy and building our entrepreneurial community."
Startup Weekend Kāpiti is specifically designed for entrepreneurs interested in receiving feedback on an idea, looking for a co-founder, or who want to learn a new skill.
In this particular climate the startup ecosystem is important in stimulating the economic recovery of the community.
"We welcome students or anyone looking to test the entrepreneurial waters," Ross said.
Participants will form teams, attend talks, enjoy full catering and will be supported by a team of expert mentors led by innovation leader Dan Khan who originally brought Startup Weekend to Aotearoa in 2011.
On the final evening they will present their plans to a panel of judges.
Councillor and judge Angela Buswell said the event is more important than ever for the region and believes the weekend offers a challenging but supportive and fun environment.
"We are pleased to see Startup Weekend Kāpiti go ahead and to support it once again.
"There has long been a high level of self-employment and entrepreneurship in the community and with the effects of Covid-19 we want to assist those willing to progress business ideas or learn best-practice startup processes.
"I am looking forward to seeing the community come together and develop innovative solutions that can support them and the wider community."
As a district-wide councillor, Angela holds the portfolio for Business and Jobs and is passionate about growing the local economy.
She also founded the award-winning footwear brand Minx with her sister, leading the brand's day-to-day marketing and understands how to connect with buyers, both face-to-face and online.
Other judges and Kāpiti locals include angel investor Marcel van den Assum and Scott Houston, founder and CEO of the award-winning tech company, GreenButton.
Marcel is a professional director, independent adviser and angel investor.
He is the immediate past chairman of the Angel Association of NZ, founding investor in Lightning Lab accelerator, and a member of the NZ Institute of Directors.
Scott was the founder and chief executive of GreenButton, an award-winning global cloud computing software company acquired by Microsoft in 2014.
Previous to his time at GreenButton Scott was the NZ regional manager for Silicon Graphics, chief technical officer at Weta Digital for the Lord of the Rings movies and founder of the New Zealand Supercomputing Centre.
He now works with other high-tech companies that are expanding offshore.
Previous participants of Startup Weekends have gone on to develop their startup or a different idea with their team and found employment or partnership opportunities.
Others return invigorated to their day-to-day life with new processes, skills, resilience and significant insight into their own potential.
"One outcome is always the same - they will leave having met a bunch of like-minded people who care about change," Angela said.
"They are now part of a strong and growing community."