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Startup talent put to the test

MARTIN MOORE
Last updated 12:36 08/05/2014
Garden Genie
WINNERS: Last year's winning team, Garden Genie.

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Aspiring entrepreneurs will be putting their business ideas to the test tomorrow at the Auckland Startup Weekend.

Roughly 80 would-be entrepreneurs and technical specialists will be meeting up and banding together in a 54-hour-long frenzy of activity to produce the foundations of new businesses.

Past competitions have helped spawn successful companies such as the smartphone app TranscribeMe!, as well as providing a space for entrepreneurs to experiment with new ideas and meet skilled people in their fields, Startup Weekend spokesperson Sabrina Nagel said.

"To make a startup happen, it's been shown you need a variety of skills. It's about getting people with ideas together with people who can make it happen," Nagel said.

Since it began in New Zealand more than 2000 people have taken part in Startup Weekends around the country - more per capita than in any other of the 111 countries to take part in the programme.

"I think they are of huge value to the startup community," director of startups at The ICEHOUSE business growth centre Ken Erskine said.

"They provide an excellent opportunity for people with ideas and capability to match up at an early stage to pull together the fundamentals of a new startup company," Erskine said.

Last year's winning team, which created a smartphone app to help people grow their own produce called Garden Genie, went on to win the e-commerce section of the Global Startup Battle.

"New Zealand has so much untapped potential in the tech space, Startup Weekend taps that potential and boy do the floodgates open. It's seriously awesome," CEO of the online sale technology startup Vend Vaughan Rowsell said.

At the end of the weekend teams are judged by a panel of figures from the startup and business community, with winning teams being awarded a variety of prizes aimed at helping them get their idea off the ground, such as office space and business software packages.

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