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Universal College of Learning

I've Never Been to Startup Weekend.  What's It All About?

Startup Weekend Dunedin 2K15 from Jose Mathias on Vimeo.

Startup Weekend is a global grassroots movement of active and empowered entrepreneurs who are learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures. It is the largest community of passionate entrepreneurs with over 400 past events in 100 countries around the world in 2011.

The non-profit organization is headquartered in Seattle, Washington but Startup Weekend organizers and facilitators can be found in over 200 cities around the world. From Mongolia to South Africa to London to Brazil, people around the globe are coming together for weekend long workshops to pitch ideas, form teams, and start companies.

All Startup Weekend events follow the same basic model: anyone is welcome to pitch their startup idea and receive feedback from their peers. Teams organically form around the top ideas (as determined by popular vote) and then it’s a 54 hour frenzy of business model creation, coding, designing, and market validation. The weekends culminate with presentations in front of local entrepreneurial leaders with another opportunity for critical feedback.

Whether entrepreneurs found companies, find a cofounder, meet someone new, or learn a skill far outside their usual 9-to-5, everyone is guaranteed to leave the event better prepared to navigate the chaotic but fun world of startups. If you want to put yourself in the shoes of an entrepreneur, register now for the best weekend of your life!



May 22
  • Registration & Networking
  • Dinner Time
  • Welcome to #swpalmy
  • Fire Pitches Start
  • Attendees vote for the top ideas
  • Teams start forming and discussing ideas
  • Home to sleep!


May 23
  • Doors Open, Coffee - Yum!
  • Brekky & Coffee (mmm, coffee!)
  • Teams formed and setting up workspace for the weekend
  • Lunch
  • Call for needs & skills
  • Coaches help teams one-on-one. They are here to help!
  • 1 minute updates
  • Dinner
  • Practice Pitches
  • Home to sleep!


May 24
  • Doors Open
  • Breakfast & Caffeine Time
  • Practice pitches round two
  • Lunch
  • Practice pitches round three
  • Dinner
  • Awards
  • Home Time!
National Sponsors
Fuelled in Palmy by

Warren Bebb

CEO - Biolumic

Warren Bebb is an experienced marketer and business development professional, including overseas posts with NZ’s biggest multi-national. He has spent the last 8 years working in and with startups and brings considerable early stage market development and commercial expertise to the company.

Dr Jo Shaw

AJ Park Law, Wellington, Senior Associate

Jo is a chemical patent expert in the AJ Park Wellington office. She joined AJ Park in 2002.
Jo works for clients in the chemical, pharmaceutical, biotechnological, food and natural products industries. Her work involves:

Conducting patentability and freedom to operate searches
Filing and prosecuting patent applications
Drafting patent specifications
Advising on patent validity and infringement
Advising on patent filing strategies
Leading patent training sessions and seminars.

Before beginning law, Jo spent 18 months as a post-doctoral research fellow at the Scripps Research Institute in San Diego, California. Jo's technical background is in chemistry and biochemistry.

Shareena Sandbrook

Managing Director, Frogparking.

Shareena has a Bachelor of Business Studies in Marketing from Massey University, A Postgraduate Diploma in Management Studies, and an Executive MBA from Waikato University.
Shareena has business management experience in a wide range of industries, including investment banking, HR, retail finance, patents/intellectual property, and aviation.
Shareena has an extremely strong customer focus, shaped around building sustainable long-term relationships, and effectively communicating in a way that shapes the competitive advantage of the company.
Frogparking is the third thriving start up company that Shareena has been involved with. With innovation at the core of all three ventures, Shareena has demonstrated success in bringing great ideas to the global market.

Paul Wood

CEO, Cinema Holdings.

Paul started in a Uk based Hospitality career working my way up from an assistant Restaurant manager to a Senior BDM (Business Development Manager) within a Gastro Pub Chain before moving to NZ in Sept 2005 where I ran the Food & Beverage within the Casino at Sky City Auckland for just over 2 years, moving on to the nation GM of Starbucks NZ within RBNZ late 2007 for just under 2 years. Then from August 2010 I have been CEO of Cinema Holdings/Downtown Cinemas running 4-5 cinema complexes over 5 locations.

Local Supporters

Gareth Lawrence

Founder, MediaSculpt

Managing director and founder of MediaSculpt - who have provided software development services to US based corporate clients in the financial services sector for over 12 years

Lyn McCurdy

Director External Relations and Enterprise UCOL

Lyn loves business. During her 19 years in New Zealand Lyn has been involved in start-ups, joint-ventures, economic development and consulting. Now at UCOL, Lyn continues her connections with business and industry through linking UCOL and its students with industries that are shaping the region, and New Zealand.

Jason Driscole


Jason is a Chartered Accountant and partner at Morrison Creed Advisory Limited ( He has many years of accountancy experience, working with a wide range of clients in a variety of industries and has a strong focus and interest in business and property investment related clients.

Jason enjoys working with new technology and is always interested in ways of engaging with clients on a more efficient basis. It's not about us understanding the numbers, but about showing their clients how their business is performing and how improvements can be made.

Sue McMaster

ANZ Business Banker

currently working for ANZ in Business Banking, lending to Businesses ranging from startup's to the long established. Previously worked for 'not for profit' organisations with key responsibilities around finance and external relationships. Other experience includes management of swimming pool complexes and gyms, Café/Deli, accountancy. Spare time is spent training and coaching Ironman Athletes to achieve their goals.

Jeremy Campbell

Director of Planning and Analytics at UCOL

Jeremy has worked in the private and public sectors and has strengths in Business Intelligence and Business Strategy.

Jeremy takes a creative, people focussed approach to his work and enjoys projects that really stretch the limits of our imagination.

Dr Lorraine Warren

Dr Lorraine Warren is a Senior Lecturer in Innovation and Director of the Centre for Strategic Innovation in the School of Management. Currently based at Massey University.

Andy Whitson

Account Manager.

Andy works at Colman Creative and is the man to help take your idea to the next level, and get you thinking 'outside the box'.

Lianne Simpkin

Economic Development & Communications Manager - Tararua District Council   |   LinkedInGoogle+

Lianne is a Kiwi who returned from Brisbane, Australia to reside in rural New Zealand as she remembered it as a child.

Spanning over 30 years, her extensive commercial background has involved several industries including finance, contracting, the motor industry and Local Government.

Lianne has owned several businesses in the hospitality sector and her latest achievement is the development and establishment of the Tararua Business Hub for small and medium business capability advancement.

In addition to being the Economic Development and Communications Manager for the Tararua District

Trudy Pearson

Trudy has a background in the Finance and FMCG sectors as an Human Resources Manager, a former business owner of an online sporting goods store and values her role as a parent.

Her heart has been internally wired to assist others achieve greatness & is one of the foxes from The Brown Fox Collective based in Palmerston North. The Brown Fox is a social enterprise committed to developing a creative, resilient and sustainable community by working with local and regional makers, food producers, artists, performers and creative small businesses to increase their networks, connections and sales opportunities. She is also the person to have on your team when it gets all serious at Karaoke.

Justine Godsall

Graphic Design / Illustrator

Justine, is a magician with pen, PC, pencil or crayon, turning the mundane in to massive. A talented graphic designer/illustrator/photographer skilled at taking your brand to the next level. Justine’s aim is to take over the world one illustration at a time.
Check her:

Geoff Hunter

Hardware/Software Engineer

Geoff is a BEng (Mechatronics) graduate from University of Canterbury. Loves all things to do with electronics and software.
Currently working for Beta Solutions, a small consultancy, designing high-tech products involving circuit boards, software and mechanical enclosures. Build and maintain websites for myself and a few others in my spare time.
Also love music (been a DJ and play the piano/drums) and sports (currently playing handball).

Bette Flagler

Communications Whiz

Bette trained as a scientist, when she arrived in New Zealand from San Francisco she hung up her microscope and started writing about science and the commercialisation of research. She worked for a variety of New Zealand publications before founding Sugar Bag Communications with her business partner. Bette has been awarded for her strategic communications work and spends most of her time editing, working with companies and organisations on their marketing, communications and wishing she was outside with her dog, in the garden or on her bike.

Martin Goodyer

Commercialisation Manager

Martin works with the smallest Fred-in-the-Shed to the biggest players around, helping them get a piece of Callaghan Innovation’s $115 million a year worth of government R&D investments. His technical background gives companies the confidence they are working with someone who understands R&D.

Tricia Falkner

Associate Head of School of Photography Arts and Design

Tricia, has been working with programmes of Music, Performing Arts, Interior Design, Photography and Bachelor Applied Visual Imaging.
My career path is chiefly as a Professional Photographer for 30 years – working in the area of Medical and Scientific, portraiture, weddings and commercial photography. Running my own business for 15 years and teaching for 12.
Areas of specialty are creative thinking, problem solving and photography. All in all a person who is passionate and energised about learning and helping people to learn and succeed.

Daniel O'Regan


I am an award winning public relations professional with over 18 years experience in public relations and journalism throughout New Zealand.
I am an accredited member (APR) of the Public Relations Institute of New Zealand
I live on a lifestyle block in the beautiful Pohangina Valley from where I run my own consultancy, Daniel O'Regan Strategic Commuications Ltd.
Specialties: Strategic communications, media relations, media training, social media, profile management, stakeholder and community engagement, project/event management, crisis communications.

Jane Donaldson

Technology Transfer Advisor

Jane is a trained accountant who has worked for the big guys in London and SMEs in New Zealand. All that experience gives her a good understanding of how business operates. She snifs out research that has business potential.

Aakash Sarin

Business Manager, ANZ   |   LinkedIn

Aakash moved to Palmerston North in 2006 where he completed a Bachelor of Business Studies majoring in Finance and International Business. He then went on to complete post graduate studies in Banking and also Financial Planning whilst working for the ANZ.
Currently working as a Business Manager for the ANZ, Aakash works with his clients to expand and grow their businesses sustainably. Aakash specialises in financing start-ups and has a connection to over 450 businesses in the wider region.
Aakash had an extremely unique childhood, and spent a vast amount of his youth on large ships (reefers) where he spent most of his life travelling the world with his parents – in fact the decision to move to New Zealand came only after carrying cargo from South America and docking in Napier.

Stuart Edmunds

Stuart is involved in a number of startups focussed on addressing the skills gap in industry. Additionally he recently founded the New Zealand Institute of Sales. This is the only national, cross-industry professional organisation dedicated to elevating the sales profession in New Zealand through professional development, peer networking and industry awards among members who support, work-in and lead sales organisations.

Nick Gain

Start-up Coordinator

Nick is the Start-up Coordinator at BCC, he is involved in the latest start-ups and investments at BCC. The hows and whys of business was regular dinner conversation, and he lives and breathes it. After trouping around Melbourne, the Philippines and Thailand with his family, Nick came home to study accounting, finance and marketing at Massey.

Tanya Robinson

Stakeholder Relationship Manager-Dairy Pasture to Plate

Prior to working with Agresearch Tanya was based with the Grains Research Development Corporation in Canberra, Australia as a program manager for almost seven years. Her portfolio included prioritising, procuring and managing research around soil, farming systems, dual purpose crops/pastures and climate change for the Grains industry. Several areas of her portfolio had cross sectoral engagement with the beef, dairy and wool industries. Prior to this Tanya worked in farmer extension in cropping and grazing regions as a catchment coordinator with the New South Wales Government and as a Landcare Coordinator with Granite Borders Landcare and Inglewood Landcare community groups on the QLD/NSW border. Tanya has a Bachelor degree in Applied Science - Animal Studies specializing in nutrition and genetics as well a Bachelor degree in Agricultural Science (Hons) - Rural Technology. She completed a research Honours on a project entitled ‘Germination ranges of Calotropis procera’ with the Tropical Weeds Research Centre (QNRM) in Charters Towers.

Tanya currently works with Stakeholders in the off-farm sector of the Dairy industry. These may include food processors, packaging, food service, quality, testing, speciality ingredients, forage innovations and plant and fungal technologies. The portfolio and relationships between the Stakeholders and Agresearch is aimed at delivering quality science and high value products and innovations to strengthen the New Zealand Dairy sector.

James Bell-Booth

Startup Manager, BCC.

James is a successful business development and sales professional. He has successfully lead all areas of sales and channel development for software export companies into North America, Asia and Great Britain. Among his client relationship are leading companies in the computer hardware market including - Intel, AMD, Dell Inc, HP, Acer, ASUS & Sony Corp. James' passion is helping New Zealanders take their products, knowledge and passion to the world.

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