Looking for a new experience?

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.


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


Participants at last years’ Sunshine Coast Startup Weekend will remember Marcus Eikeland as the enthusiastic co-facilitator in a green T-shirt, working on stage and behind the scenes, helping coordinate the successful inaugural event.

Many wouldn’t have known that at the time Marcus was only a recent arrival to the region, particularly given how well he immersed himself in the local community and developed a natural yet casual leadership style.

Now, you will often find Marcus in business airline lounges from Norway to Dubai to Silicon Valley USA, leading his own international business consultancy VONA.

Startup Weekend Sunshine Coast was an important step on this whirlwind journey.


Two years ago, to complement an already impressive career as a project manager for leading companies in Norway, the then 31-year-old Norwegian decided to do his MBA at the University of the Sunshine Coast.

After graduating in 2014 and returning to Norway, Marcus now has his plane ticket already booked for a special trip back to the Sunshine Coast for the 2015 Startup Weekend event, scheduled in May.

“There’s no place like the Sunshine Coast and there is no place or event like Sunshine Coast Startup weekend, anywhere else in the world,” said Marcus.

“My experience at Startup Weekends in Norway can not be compared to Sunshine Coast Startup Weekend. Last year’s Sunshine Coast event exceeded everyone’s expectations. It generated incredible impact both locally and across Queensland, as well as created #SiliconCoast, the largest independent entrepreneurial movement on the Sunshine Coast.”

“The people who attend Startup Weekends are one of a kind, they are enthusiastic, open minded and most importantly, entrepreneurial minded. This hub of energy uniquely attracts an extraordinary breed of people that think outside of the box.”

The weekend event is a 54-hour long workshop, which leaves little time to talk and more time to make things happening. The contestants will start working from the first night, where they will form groups and pitch their idea in front of a panel of judges by the end of the night. They will also be introduced to a new way of doing business, leaving them with a completely different perspective on things.

“The people at the Sunshine Coast are something special, they are much more dedicated and passionate than any group of people I have met before. Compared to other Startup Weekends that I have attended before, it seems that Australians take on more initiatives and take greater steps towards building communities that foster and support entrepreneurial activities.”

“Maybe it’s the Australian culture, maybe it’s the beautiful weather, whatever it is, the Sunshine Coast should be proud of its entrepreneurial culture.”

When asked to describe Startup weekend Sunshine Coast with one word, Marcus responded with AMAZEBALLS.

“Startup weekend is an opportunity of a lifetime, it was one of the most meaningful experiences of my life.”

Startup Weekend Sunshine Coast 2 May 2014


Marcus’ tips for future Startup Weekend Sunshine Coast participants is to leave your pride at the door.

“Startup Weekend is more than just entrepreneurship, it is about getting people together in to teams to create something fantastic.  This if one of those types of events where people do not care about your title.  In other words, you can be a student, a general manager or have no title at all; the only thing that matters is what you bring to the table.”


“More action, less talk.  And the future belongs to the ones who show up”.

More information about Marcus and his business Vona:  http://vona.no/

BLOG POST written by Thy Lam, USC Public Relations Student.


#SWSC2015 | How to participate

Buy a ticket for the experience of a lifetime

Join over a hundred entrepreneurs and first timers and immerse yourself in this three-day experiential entrepreneurship event. For a low fee of between $55-$90 you will have unlimited access to the brightest minds including established entrepreneurs and business people who have had global success. Bounce ideas off one another, imagine new business concepts and walk away from the event with a new-found energy and sense of purpose regarding your own business ventures. The event was a sell out success last year and we are expecting greater levels of interest in 2015. Secure your ticket now.

If you are a first timer and want to know more about the event, check out the FAQ page.


Following on from the success of the 2014 event and, after receiving many enquiries, we are now opening up expressions of interest to be a coach at the 2015 event. With limited numbers, we want to have on hand relevant experience and the best minds, to help guide our weekend participants. We are particularly interested in those with ‘lean startup’ coaching experience, including young entrepreneurs. Please email us on sunshinecoast@startupweekend.org and let us know your availability and interest, including a hyperlink to your LinkedIn profile or similar information. We would love to have you as part of the mentor team and look forward to talking with you.

What is involved in being a coach?

Please feel welcome to chat with us about roles and expectations, including your availability over the weekend (as we are not expecting you to be there 24/7). However we are expecting all coaches to be available for a pre-event coach briefing sessions where we will outline the event objectives and your role. Date to be advised.

We particularly wish to point out our startup weekend values. We believe in: Action over talking; Good intentions; Sharing, not hoarding; Bottom-up instead of top-down; Open dialogue instead of agendas and rhetorics; Experimentation instead of rigid structure. Startup Weekend is about education, the community and democratising entrepreneurship itself. For further information on core values please see this blog post.


Does your business have something of value you can offer to budding entrepreneurs? Perhaps you have business services or equipment you can offer? Or perhaps a priceless experience?  Perhaps your business is in catering and would like to sponsor some of the catering requirements? We would love to hear from you. Your investment will return significant rewards when you factor in the high-value target audience of leading business people and entrepreneurs who will be participating in the event. We are expecting approximately 200 active and highly engaged event participants, volunteers, mentors and judges over the 3 day weekend, along with brand exposure opportunities both pre- and post- event. Please contact sunshinecoast@startupweekend.org with your contact details and we will phone you to discuss opportunities.

Volunteer on the weekend

Not sure if you want to immerse yourself just yet but want to lend a helping hand? We will need general ‘runners’ over the entire weekend to help us with the logistics of creating a successful event servicing lots of different people. Perhaps you want to get event management expertise, or just know that there will be lots of cool people to hang out with. Either way, shoot us an email at sunshinecoast@startupweekend.org with your level of interest and your availability and we will see if we can find you a spot.

Organising team

Currently our organising team is full to the brim. However if you want to get involved in future years we encourage you to find another way to participate in 2015 and have a chat to us about opportunities for next year.

#SiliconCoast community member

There is no need to wait until the next Startup Weekend in order to join entrepreneurs, digital businesses and other passionate collaborative business people on the Sunshine Coast. That type of community already exists across the entire geography of the region. Many of whom are active participants in a group called #SiliconCoast, an online Facebook group and real life meet up group who get together approximately quarterly. Join in the conversation now. Put your hand up to help organise events. Share content and experiences. The more voices the better.