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Innovation Centre Sunshine Coast

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UPDATE: People who missed the last SW, don't worry. We've created 'Silicon Coast', a group of former SW participants and passionate people who gets together, pitch ideas, and talk about startups. See more:

Ever wondered what it takes to be an entrepreneur? The professional and personal challenges, the high and lows, the failures and the success?

Well, come find out. 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 1800 past events in 120 countries around the world in 2014.

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!

Check out our Facebook page for daily updates: SWSC or connect with us on Twitter @SWsunshinecoast



May 2
  • Registration Starts
  • Grab some food and network!
  • Welcome
  • John Whiteoak: Starting your entrepreneurial journey
  • Peter Grant: Why startups?
  • Kat McArthur: Success Starts at Startup Weekend
  • Pitches Start
  • Attendees vote for the top ideas
  • Teams start forming and discussing ideas
  • Socializing
  • Venue closes


May 3
  • Venue opens
  • Fresh start full of energy, simple breakfast & coffee
  • Dean Alle: Intellectual Property Rights (Optional)
  • Tim Eldridge: Customer Validation and Insights (Optional)
  • Teams continue development
  • Lunch
  • Tim Kastelle: Business Model Canvas (Optional)
  • Call for needs & skills
  • Coaches help teams one-on-one. They are here to help!
  • Dinner
  • Mid weekend check-in, status reports, call for help
  • Finished for the day. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow
  • Venue closes


May 4
  • Venue opens
  • Simple breakfast & coffee
  • Call for help (this is self motivated, so don’t be shy)
  • Steve Huff: Pitching and Presentations (Optional)
  • Lunch
  • Coaches arrive… ASK QUESTIONS
  • Gut check. Start prepping for presentations
  • Dinner
  • Ben Duncan: Where to Next: Continuing the Entrepreneurial Journey
  • Judging & awards
  • Wrapup
  • Go home!
Tier 1 Sponsors

Steve Huff

Director, The Doble Group   |   LinkedIn

is a respected entrepreneur and start-up specialist. With over a dozen successful start-ups to his credit he has significant experience growing companies in both Australia and the US. In 2001, he founded Typefi Systems, a software company specialising in automated publishing solutions. As CEO, he led the Company through the start-up phase and through commercialisation. Typefi is now one of the most exciting software companies to come out of Australia. In 2005, Steve was named one of America’s most Innovative CEO’s by Forbes Radio and continued to move into new technologies. In 2008, Steve launched Sixty Second Parent and in 2012 he was appointed as CEO/Managing Director of Doble Telescopic Lighting Pty Ltd. (now called The Doble Group). , it is currently launching its patented off-grid solar lighting solutions to both the retail camping market and to the developing world through a partnership with The United Nations High Commission Refugees (UNHCR). Along with Unlimited Investments Group, Steve sits on the board of various organisations. Steve holds a Masters Degree in Business and Organizational Development from Western Carolina University and a B.A. in History from Greensboro College.

Tim Kastelle

Senior Lecturer in Innovation Management, University of Queensland   |   LinkedInGoogle+

I create value by connecting ideas. I do this in my teaching, research, consulting and blogging. My focus is on innovation, and I am most interested in improving innovation capability inside established organisations. Specialties: innovation, innovation management, complex network analysis, innovation systems, intra-firm networks, social network analysis, business model innovation, evolutionary economics.

Peter Grant

Peter has over ten years experience running start-ups as well as a long (20 year plus) history in executive roles across corporate and government. He has worked in various Chief Information Officer positions, as a State Director for Microsoft and as Vice president of Gartner Consulting. Currently Peter is working as an executive coach on 'interesting' consulting assignments. He also provides advice to a number of advisory boards in the university and government sector. Peter is a Fellow of the Australian Computer Society. He is an Adjunct Professor at Queensland University of Technology and the University of Queensland. He holds a Bachelor of Business and a Research Masters Degree in Information Systems.

John Whiteoak

Phd, Hons, AFAIM   |   LinkedIn

Dr. John Whiteoak has more than ten years experience as a management consultant working with many well-known organisations across a wide range of corporate management issues in Australia, New Zealand and the United Arab Emirates. As a company director he has written company prospectuses that have raised significant venture capital.

John is a recognised expert in high performing organisations, employee behaviour, motivation and leadership. In his capacity as a Management Lecturer John has worked with hundreds of Masters of Business of Administration (MBA) and Executive MBA students both in Australia and overseas. He also has published work on team effectiveness, employee engagement and motivation in many high quality international management journals.


Mike Clements

Head of School, School of Business, USC

Mike has extensive leadership and management experience at universities in Wollongong, NSW and Melbourne and now leads the School of Business at USC. He is passionate building strong relationship with business and industry to ensure relevant business education. His research expertise lies in supply chain management, operations and strategic management. Mike has held leadership roles as the Deputy Director of the Centre for Applied Systems Research, Co–Director of the Centre for Supply Chain Solutions (CSCS), along with previous membership of the Institute for Innovation in Business and Social Research, and the Social Innovation Network (UOW). Mike has a long-term interest with industry based learning collaborations and has successfully established a number of high profile industry linkages, along with the design and establishment of a number of experiential learning programs, one of which has been acknowledged as best practice by ALTC.

Danielle Duell


After a decade in the fashion industry, Danielle facilitated a number of Brisbane start-ups including Story Bridge Adventure Climb, Riverlife (adventure and function centre) and Riverlife Mirrabooka (indigenous experience). From 2010-2014 Danielle worked as CEO of the Spicers Group - a diverse portfolio including luxury accommodation group – Spicers Retreats, a collection of award winning restaurants, a number of day spas, an outdoor adventure park and a selection of cattle breeding enterprises and nature refuges. Danielle serves as Adjunct Professor to QUT Business School and consults to a variety of industries. She is also founder of Australian Harvard Women (a business network and series of events for Australian women who have studied at Harvard Business School) and People With Purpose. Danielle has an MBA in Strategy and Entrepreneurship and attended Harvard Business School’s Women's Leadership Forum - Innovation Strategies for a Changing World.

Ben Duncan

CTO, Atmail   |   LinkedIn

Having developed one of the first commercial Webmail products in 1998, Ben Duncan founded Atmail in 2001 and continues to be the driving force behind the company. With a strong background in software programming and user-interface design, Ben Duncan leads Atmail as a global innovator in the email-messaging space. Ben has built a company that has 40 million paid mailboxes, 4,500 customers worldwide including first tier ISPs, telecommunications companies, global corporations & government agencies. Having traveled around the world implementing Atmail for his customers, Ben is now based in the Sunshine Coast ‘Silicon Beach’ office and focuses on the company's products as the Founder CTO.

Mark Paddenburg

CEO, Innovation Centre Sunshine Coast   |   LinkedIn

Mark has strong experience in business, innovation and regional economic development. Mark is the CEO of the Innovation Centre Sunshine Coast (IC) which has directly supported the start-up and growth of approximately 100 businesses in sectors such as clean technology, ICT, creative industries and health technology. Mark's career motivation has been to secure business development outcomes for Queensland, particularly in helping entrepreneurs achieve commercial outcomes from their ideas and technology opportunities.

Tier 2 Sponsors

Yvette Adams

Director, The Creative Collective   |   LinkedIn

Yvette Adams is a serial entrepreneur having started 5 businesses from scratch, the first a newspaper when she was just 17, and 2 of which she has since sold. She is the founder and owner of The Creative Collective, a creative agency offering website design & development, social media, seo, ppc, emarketing, marketing, PR as well as an extensive array of training including webinars, BYO Laptop trainings and more. A multi-award winning business woman including winning the 2013 ICT Woman of the Year at the prestigious iAwards and the Commonwealth Bank Business Owner of the Year at the Telstra Business Women's Awards, Queensland in 2010 against 4200 applicants her latest online business is - an online portal for business owners wanting to find business awards they may be able to enter.

Dean Alle

Entrepreneur in Residence, Innovation Centre   |   LinkedIn

Dean Alle has a wealth of experience in entrepreneurship, commercialisation and intellectual property management. He has led major technology commercialisation projects with Australian Universities and Research Centres, spin off and start up companies, and corporates. Dean has worked as a Patent Examiner for IP Australia, as Intellectual Property Manager for several start-up companies at the Australian Technology Park Sydney, and as strategic advisor to commercialisation centres. Dean has a PhD in Atomic and Molecular Physics from the Australian National University.

James Banks

CEO & Creative Director of Web3   |   LinkedIn

James Banks has been starting up and running technology businesses in Queensland for over half a decade. James has helped dozens of local and national brands, from startups to multi-million dollar companies, achieve success online through his award-winning digital agency, Web3. Through Web3, James specialises in mobile-optmised web design & development, WordPress websites, WordPress E-Commerce stores and Search Engine Optimisation. As a keynote speaker for WordCamp Melbourne 2013 and featured on WordPress TV, James is passionate about helping startup businesses on getting their business online quickly and affordably with WordPress.

Jimmi Bradbury

Director, New Pipers Limited   |   LinkedIn

Jimmi has extensive experience in the strategic management of businesses. He has managed the international business of Cyril Sweett Group Plc, growing the international arm from 4 to 1,200 staff over ten years. Under Jimmi’s leadership, Cyril Sweett Group Plc now has 44 offices in 18 countries across Europe, Middle East, North Africa, India, Sri Lanka, North and South East Asia and Australia. In addition the company has a further 1,600 people in 26 countries through alliances formed during this same period in Europe, Asia and North America. Much of this growth was achieved through a combination of Mergers & Acquisitions, Joint Ventures, Alliances and Organic growth, all of which was actively managed by Jimmi.

Tim Eldridge

Director, Eldridge Marketing   |   LinkedIn

Tim works directly with the CEOs of established companies, as well as start-up entrepreneurs, to assist them with business development goal setting, strategy development and stakeholder engagement. He has had over 20 years' experience in working with famous global brands and Fortune 1000 clients at senior levels, and has developed supremely customer-orientated view of their business. Tim helps these companies review their strategic marketing choices, and advises them how to put winning strategies into motion.

Mark Ferris

After practicing commercial law in South Africa, Mark spent the bulk of his career in Tokyo, Japan. Over an 18 year period, he founded or co-founded ventures offering services and solutions in Information Technology, Business Process Outsourcing, Market Research and Marketing Solutions. He developed skills in business development, corporate strategy, fund raising and team building and, on three occasions, sold these assets to third party investors resident in USA, Hong Kong and Japan. After relocating to Australia in 2012, Mark has been active as an angel investor, business mentor and board member. Outside of business, Mark advises a charity he co-founded, composes music and spends family time with his wife and 12 year old daughter.

Keith Grisman

Founding Partner, Property Only   |   LinkedIn

As the founding partner of Property Only, Keith has unparalleled expertise in all facets of property investing and development, and personally built a property portfolio across South East Queensland, including Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast. After purchasing his initial property at 17 years of age, Keith became a commercial sales and leasing agent with major firms. He gained a reputation as an expert in acquisition and facilitation of tenant led commercial projects. This experience matured into a 5 year full time development role at Reed Property Group culminating in 2006 as a Board member, Divisional Director of Asset Management and Development with a completed portfolio of works that included half a dozen residential high rise towers, an entire village centre, multiple child care centres, retail, showroom, Hotel and townhouse developments plus a future pipeline of works estimated at some $1 Billion. Over time, Keith focused his efforts on providing investors in the commercial, residential and industrial sector in Queensland with an unmatched level of service in property management, leasing and sales at Property Only. With the Sunshine Coast set for steady, long term growth, he is redirecting his focus to commercial developments. Having recently completed his EMBA at the University of Sunshine Coast, when not immersed in Real Estate, Keith can be found spending time with his young family or as a dedicated surf enthusiast travelling to find another perfect wave or just surfing his beloved Sunshine Coast beaches.

Zach Johnson

CEO, Atmail   |   LinkedIn

Zach has 25 years of demonstrated leadership, the past 15 of which have been in international business. He has managed distributed teams across several continents and worked with organisations of all sizes across multiple industries in dozens of countries. As CEO of Atmail Pty Ltd., Zach oversees all business functions and collaborates with the Atmail board and management team to develop corporate strategies and facilitate operational execution across the organisation. After proudly serving in the U.S. Army as a special operations soldier, Zach received a BA degree from the New School in New York City and has completed executive education programs with AGSM at UNSW and Harvard Business School. An American by birth, Zach has considered the Sunshine Coast in Australia his home since 2005.

Chris McKenzie

Co-Founder, Squibly   |   LinkedIn

Chris’ professional career spans HR consulting, strategic sourcing, key account management, project management and corporate real estate management. He’s spent a lot
of that time building internal service businesses for large companies and designing and pitching strategies and investment cases to senior executives.
Escaping the workday grind in 2012, Chris was able to leverage over a decade of experience as a corporate purchasing manager into Crack into Corporate - a consultancy that generates
corporate leads and advises on sales execution for health & wellbeing experts who wish to move into corporate wellness. In 2013, Chris joined fellow co-founder Daniel Smith at the helm of Squibly, a SaaS application that helps SMEs build their sales based on effective recommendations from
existing clients. Chris is an avid fan of business model generation and Lean Startup principles, using them on
a daily basis when working with clients.

Geoff Moller

Director, Geosys Pty Ltd   |   LinkedIn

Geoff Moller is a Trademarks and Intellectual Property (IP) advisor, business strategist and management consultant. He works with businesses to help them protect and profit from the IP surrounding their respective brands. Geoff holds an MBA (Master of Business Administration) and is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management (FAIM). He has been a convener for Sunshine Coast and Caboolture regions "Mentoring 4 Growth" panel under the Department of State Development, Infrastructure and Planning. Geoff works with clients across Australia on their respective trademark needs, intellectual property challenges and general business strategies.

Danielle Neale

CEO, Bespoke   |   LinkedIn

Recently named in the Sydney Morning Herald as a Rising Star in ICT, Danielle is the iAwards Panel Lead Judge in the Hills Young Innovator of the Year Award, Non-Executive Director on the Board of Women in Technology (WiT), and CEO of software development company, Bespoke. She has an intimate understanding of the software development process, is an experienced graphic designer and a serial entrepreneur specialising in lean startup and collaborative ventures. At age 23, Danielle started and sold her first business in under 2 years with two young children by her side. She is the Vice President of the Stepping Stone Clubhouse and speaks, writes and consults on technology innovation in both the business and non-profit space. Danielle brings practical experience from the “School of Hard Knocks”, no shortage of creative ideas, volumes of energy and an inspiring presence and attitude.

Gideon Shalwick

Founder,   |  

Gideon is an expert in developing revenue-generating customers through online media, particularly blogs and video content. He is empathetic to the challenges facing emerging entrepreneurs, having bootstrapped five start-ups of his own. Gideon currently runs one of the top blogging training brands in the world and is working on a new business that will assist main stream video content producers create better videos and reach bigger audiences.

Melanie Summer

Owner, Flash Fotos   |   LinkedIn

Melanie Summer was born and raised in Germany. She left home at 16, continued her education working to put herself through school and then trained for 3 years to get a diploma in Real Estate and Property Management. At the age of 24, she left Germany with her then partner, to sail to the Caribbean – a journey that ended up lasting for three years and around the world. Returning to Germany, she married her partner and they chose to permanently leave Germany and call Australia home. After separating from her husband, she needed to reorganise her life as a single mum. She started a small book keeping company specialising in helping small business in the Whitsundays, north Queensland. However, after three years she decided to return to the Sunshine Coast, where she took the opportunity to establish Flash Fotos. Her dramatic learning curve over the next three years saw her contemplate bankruptcy and then turn her business into the success that it is today. As she says, "I always knew I’d land on my feet but I just wasn’t sure if I’d be wearing high heels or running shoes." Melanie won the National Telstra Small Business Award 2011. Melanie is an inspirational story and a very engaging speaker and writer. She now helps small business owners to "grow out of their business" by transforming their business into an independently operating enterprise while living life to their fullest potential.

Tier 3 Sponsors
Marcus Hølland Eikeland
Retha de Villiers Scheepers
Adam Humphrey
Catherine Kitney
Scott Duffield
Past Events