Shot at glory for wanna-preneurs

Melbourne is poised to host the country's first Startup Weekend-branded get-together where wannabe entrepreneurs form teams with strangers, and over two days compete to develop a prototype mobile application or web product.

Melbourne is poised to host the country's first Startup Weekend-branded get-together where wannabe entrepreneurs form teams with strangers, and over two days compete to develop a prototype mobile application or web product.

Melbourne will be the first Australian city to host the event from Friday 6 May to Sunday 8 May. Entrepreneurs convene after work on the Friday night to pitch a range of ideas where a digital technology solves a real-world problem.

From this, the 10 best ideas are selected, and attendees form teams based on their skill sets and preference. Teams work over the weekend to develop a proposal into a working prototype, and are competing for a range of prizes on offer.

A recent event in Auckland, New Zealand, attracted between 50 and 100 participants and typically five to 10 people are in a team.

Organiser Olga Titarenko said that the talent is typically split between technical (coders, designers) and non-technical (business, marketing, media).

"If you do have a great idea but don't have a) time b) resources and c) don't know where to start create it, this is the opportunity to bring your idea to life and have the resources that otherwise would cost you money."

"People are encouraged to start their own businesses and this event is hoping to create a community of like-minded people."

Sensis, Nokia, Melbourne Angels and software company Business Planning Tools have all signed on as sponsors and will act as judges and mentors to provide advice over the weekend.

The sponsors don't take any stake in the winning idea, and Titarenko said that it is up to the teams to divide up the intellectual property ownership rights of a prototype.

It is a not-for-profit event and the income from ticket sales ($99 for general attendance and $69 for students) is used to cover costs such as the venue and food provided for the entire weekend.

She hopes to take it on the road in the coming months.

"We have plans to make it bigger than it is at the moment. It will probably happen in Perth and Sydney in the next couple of months."

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