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Te Ara Hihiko, College of Creative Arts, Massey University, Mt Cook, Wellington


NZ’s first education-themed Startup Weekend!

Startup Weekend is where entrepreneurs, developers, and designers get together to form new businesses in a 54-hour marathon of inspiration, perspiration, collaboration, and fun! We attract people with all skill levels in a friendly, welcoming, yet challenging environment.

Wellington Startup Weekend EDU will be the first Education focused Startup Weekend in New Zealand and follows closely on the heels of Sydney Startup Weekend EDU.

Startup Weekend Education (SWEDU) was founded on the belief that entrepreneurship is the most powerful force to positively impact education outcomes. We are a global initiative that brings people together over the course of 54 hours to launch startup companies and projects that have the ability to drastically improve the educational experience for various types of learners or have a positive impact on the education sector. Only two years old, SWEDU has already expanded to 16 cities across the world, and we are excited to give everyone an unprecedented opportunity to play a role in creating the future of education. SWEDU is part of the wider Startup Weekend global initiative.

More than simply a themed Startup Weekend event, the SWEDU programme is designed to drive change and innovation into the education sector by using the awesome power of the Startup Weekend format.

What’s different? SWWLG EDU has the same rigour as a normal Startup Weekend, running from pitchfire to pitch night, Friday through Sunday. The main difference is the make up of the room, which includes Educators and the criteria for judging on Sunday. We’ll post more info on this soon.

Until then, get your ticket, get your education thinking cap on and keep an eye on the SWWLG EDU website for the build up events.

Why attend a Startup Weekend?

  • Learn how to startup through doing it instead of just reading about it
  • Build your network by spending a weekend with Wellington’s doers and makers
  • Meet potential co-founders, there’s no better way to find people you want to work with
  • Step outside of your comfort zone – Try your hand at something new
  • Actually launch a business – Over 36% of Startup Weekend startups are still going strong after 3 months
  • Get face time with local tech and startup leaders as coaches and judges
  • Join a global community of over 45,000 Startup Weekend alumni, all on a mission to change the world

Want more reasons to come?

10 reasons for developers to come to Startup WeekendWhy designers and creatives love Startup WeekendPhoto gallery from our Startup Weekend in August 2013 

What happens at Startup Weekend?

Startup Weekend Wellington Education edition starts on Friday evening 29 August, with an icebreaker game and dinner, and then people pitch their businesses concepts to the crowd. 10-15 concepts will attract viable teams around them. By late Friday night, you will have sketched out your concept in some detail and everyone will have roles assigned and an inkling of how they’re going to achieve their goals over the weekend.

Saturday morning is all about validation – you’ll be contacting potential customers and finding out if there’s really a market need for what you’re building. If not, you’ll need to pivot based on the information you’ve picked up by “getting out of the building” and talking to people. Meanwhile, your developers and designers will be furiously building your products (or mock-ups), and your team will be attracting partners, advisers, and customers. You’ll need to start preparing your final 5-minute presentation on Sunday morning, because your team will need to pitch it by dinner time. After that, prizes will be awarded to the best teams.

Where you go from there is up to you. Exciting businesses have come out of Startup Weekends, but the real value is in the skills, new friends, and access to resources you require.

Whether you are just want to find out what the world of startups is like in a fun environment, you’re a developer or designer looking for the next big thing, or an entrepreneur looking for a team to turn your idea into reality, Startup Weekend is a fantastic way to test your own abilities and meet great people along the way.




Startup Weekend Wellington August 2013

More photos from Startup Weekend Wellington August 2013 courtesy the wonderful Mark Tantrum


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Michael Dowse


Michael is the founder of Go Vocab, a language-learning app used in high schools all over the world. He has contributed to several startups in education and other industries. Michael has a background in product design and development, but is particularly interested in startup business models. He's also a Startup Chile Alumni, and perennial startup weekend runner-up.

Andrew Preston


Andrew is the co-founder of Publons, a company formed out of the inaugural Lightning Lab class in 2013. Its mission is to speed up science, by making peer review in academic publishing more efficient and effective. Having grown up in New Zealand, Andrew received his PhD in physics from Victoria University of Wellington, and was an active researcher at Boston University prior to starting Publons.

Ed Strafford


After attending an Educational Development Conference as a 13 year old, Ed came to the conclusion that people running education had some strange ideas. Since then, Ed decided to get amongst it and has worked as a teacher, education researcher, and teacher educator. Currently he is helping the Ministry of Education on curriculum innovation.

Peter Dixon


Peter is the CEO and co-founder of Storypark a social enterprise that’s helping teachers, parents and families extend children's learning. Storypark has users in 70+ countries and is quickly scaling after recently closing a major round of investment. Peter has conceived, grown and worked with a range of enterprises locally and abroad, mostly focused on education, design and social impact. He co-founded design agency The Church, helped bring Semipermanent to New Zealand, and loves supporting people to make ideas happen.

Samantha Dixon


Sam’s background lies in building strategy, creating integrated campaigns, and all things digital. She has worked across a number of industries, including automotive, retail, banking and FMCG. Sam also helped to sculpt their enterprise, and previously lived a secret life as an architect. She is passionate about creating experiences that deliver on business problems and makes a difference.

Anna Brown


Anna is a design educator, researcher, and practitioner at the College of Creative Arts at Massey University. Her research focuses on creative leadership, collaboration, and design-led innovation. She teaches in the visual communication degree, and her personal research interests lie in an established discipline of innovative book design. Anna also leads a research team at Open Lab, an enterprise design environment that works on projects utilising user-centric design thinking.

Geoff Nixon


After a career in finance, mainly managing his own hedge fund in the USA, Geoff founded a US-based online remedial reading business in 2006. Since moving back to NZ in 2013 he has been actively involved in startups, including as the mentor-in-residence at the 2013 Lightning Lab and as chairman of an online English language tutoring startup, LearnKo.