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USC Student Georgie Murray found it hard to narrow in on only one favourite experience from last year’s inaugural Startup Weekend Sunshine Coast event.

“As a participator, one of my many favourite moments was meeting everyone and being in such an energising environment where everyone wants to be there and is working as a team, because you’re not there unless you want to be there. That is what made my experience most enjoyable,” said Georgie.

Georgie is currently studying Journalism at the University of the Sunshine Coast and she enjoys setting herself apart from the crowd. That is why she enrolled in entrepreneurship.

Studying entrepreneurship was a new experience for Georgie and it was through this class that she received a unique opportunity via an email from her course coordinators Dr Retha Scheepers and Dr Renee Barnes asking her if she would like to participate in the Startup Weekend event.

“Although I didn’t know what to expect, I’m glad I went ahead with it because it was still a really cool thing to be a part of,” said Georgie.

“There are so many people out there with big ideas. It is a shame because no one knows what to do with them.  I think startup Weekend is a great place to start. It is an amazing opportunity to voice your thoughts and actually receive productive feedback. The main thing is to just talk to people to get your idea out there, and then things will slowly start happening and progressing.”

For those who are nervous to come along or eager to participate but not sure how, Georgie’s advice is to have a go anyway.

“It’s a really supportive environment and a great learning experience. There’s no wrong question, there’s no incorrect answers. If you’re shy or have an idea you don’t think is going to be great, give it a go anyway because there is definitely someone on the same track of thought and would love to support you.”

“I definitely recommend that people get involved and sign up for the 2015 May event. I think it’s a very inspiring experience whether you’re in a team or not.”

The inspirational environment obviously worked, as Georgie and her team were awarded as runner-ups, for creating an App that helps travellers find other travellers experiencing a layover in a similar city at a similar time, to help stave off the boredom and explore opportunities together.

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Since her success at Startup Weekend in 2014, Georgie has had some exciting things occur, including speaking with the Honorable Mal Brough (Federal Member for Fisher), who was very supportive of her idea.

“Mal set up a short pitch opportunity for me with Daniel Petre AO, leading Australian investor, Fund Manager and ex vice president of Microsoft. Mal also mentioned the app in parliament, so that was a pretty cool moment, I never thought that would happen.”

“Startup Weekend is for anyone. The connections people make with others from the experience are amazing and can become potentially life-long friendships.”

“The mentors were amazing. I still do talk to a lot of them, and they’re willing to help you afterwards as well. I definitely made some friends as well and it brought all the students in our class a lot closer which was really nice. We still catch up; we had a reunion in mid March this year, which was cool.”

Are you looking for a new experience?  Read more about what is involved here.

BLOG POST written by Philippa Mynott, USC Public Relations Student

Anne Lawrence