‘No talk, all action’ as Nelson gears up for its first innovation event

Image: INNOVATE manager Matt Peacey
Another week, another start-up weekend, as the sunny city prepares to host its inaugural entrepreneurial weekend event, June 26 — 28.

Based on the Google Start-Up Weekend platform, the 54 hour event (held at Nelson NMIT campus) will bring together local ideas, know-how and elbow grease in the hopes of creating fledgling businesses from scratch.

“The Nelson Start-Up weekend is all about action,” says INNOVATE manager Matt Peacey.

“People get one minute to pitch their idea on a Friday night and then teams form around those ideas based what excites them and the skill sets they can bring to the table. The rest of the weekend is about executing that idea, market validating it, then developing business ideas around that. This is all building up to a 5 min pitch on Sunday night in front of the judges.”

“It’s very busy and little bit frantic, but really it’s about the process of striping all the jargon away and asking ‘what’s really required to make a business?’”.  

The event is run by INNOVATE, and supported by the Nelson City Council, the Nelson Regional EDA and NMIT, and designed to drive innovation, support entrepreneurship and bring together talented people from the all over the region.

“One of the things we're trying to do is start developing a community and see what people actually need. There might be some holes in practical learning, so forming those connections is what we’re looking to do with the event. The whole idea is to connect the people who have got the skills to execute an idea. We want to really bring the community together to build a thriving innovation hub in the city.”

“So yeah, it’s all about action — testing and refining ideas, pivoting in the face of problems, checking out the competition.”

Google Start-Up Weekends have proven a popular format for organisations looking to stimulate entrepreneurialism in their communities, with more than 1,500 in 726 cities so far, attracting over 123,000 would-be entrepreneurs.

“We aren’t the first New Zealand region to host a Google Start-up Weekend,” says Peacey, “but having attended Christchurch’s, I know it will provide Nelson’s participants with immense value.”

“It’s going to be an intense 54-hours of practical experience for people to validate a new business concept and become operational with a viable product.”