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RIP Paul Callaghan – watch him once again at StrategyNZ 2011

Sad to hear over the weekend that Sir Paul Callaghan, 2011 New Zealander of the Year, world class scientist and advocate of a smarter New Zealand, lost his long battle against cancer. Click here to read his obituary on Stuff.co.nz.

If you haven’t watched his talk from last year’s StrategyNZ conference, take this opportunity to watch him again. Inspiring, factual and irreverent – a great presentation.

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Christchurch Startup Weekend – 54 hours, 10 new businesses created, great fun.

What did you do last weekend? I was privileged enough to be on the mentoring team at the first ever Christchurch Startup Weekend, held at the Westpac Business Hub. (As an aside, continued kudos to Westpac for providing such an excellent facility for the city’s business community, for FREE!).

The event follows the well-established international Startup Weekend format (see http://startupweekend.org/ for more details). Around 80 participants pitch ideas on the first night, and then coalesce into teams – in this case 10 teams. After that it’s ALL ON, and the teams work full-on all weekend to create a new startup internet business and pitch to judges on Sunday night. Judging criteria include market validation, business model and execution. The teams had built functioning websites, smartphone apps and social media presences by the end of the weekend, as well as conducting real market research and developing financial plans.

It was good to see the event opened by Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker, who is genuine in his encouragement of young entrepreneurs as the future of our totally Earthquake-transformed city. Good on you, Bob – Christchurch needs to be a Startup City from now on to take advantage of all the opportunities.

A great summary of the event is on Kalena’s blog at http://www.ask-kalena.com/personal/incubation-and-innovation-at-christchurch-startup-weekend/ – really worth a read.

Pictured on stage: the winning teams Tsk (1st), Keeping Tabs (2nd) and Media Mansion (3rd – 14 years old and up!)

Basically: a marvellous event for education, ideas, teamwork and above all networking. Congratulations to the organising team including Vanessa O’Neill, Alan Froggatt, Mike Zeff, Justin Scott and Christine Moore.

And the best news…. we’re going to do this every 6 months from now on. Get your ideas ready for the next one!