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Startup Weekend Sunshine Coast concluded on Sunday night with a wave of energy and an overwhelming number of connections made between budding entrepreneurs from all walks of life.

The marathon weekend commenced on the Friday night with over 200 in the audience listening to 43 raw concepts pitched in under 60 seconds each. Participants then formed in to thirteen teams who worked furiously all weekend to prove their concepts and ready themselves for the grand finale on Sunday night.

Collaboration was clearly a theme with many teams creating tools and ideas that connect, share and improve productivity in many different shapes and sizes.

The Startup Weekend winners are a team called Hitched In, led by 27 year old Jessie Lee a final year Journalism student at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC).

“Hitched In is an online platform that connects brides with wedding planners, and in turn connects wedding planners with industry professionals, resulting in better communication and most importantly, happy brides,” said Jessie.

Hitched In_2

The three member team including from left to right Racheal Rose-Rehardt, Simon Doonican and Jessie Lee were crowned as winners on the Sunday night and narrowly beat a strong field of contenders.

“Winning certainly wasn’t the primary objective of most people attending Startup Weekend,” said Retha Scheepers, USC lecturer in Entrepreneurship and lead organiser for the event.

“Nobody fails here, everyone wants to see everyone else succeed and learn along the way.  The future belongs to the ones who show up,” said Retha.

The judging criteria included topics such as customer validation, execution and design as well as business model viability.

Many of the teams reached out to communities that they were trying to target resulting in thousands of customer survey respondents and interviews over the course of the weekend.

The journey may have started at Startup Weekend Sunshine Coast however continues and builds on the connections made creating an even stronger entrepreneurial Sunshine Coast community.

To stay connected join the Silicon Coast Facebook page.


Anne Lawrence