As a judge at Nelson’s first StartUp Weekend, Nelmac Chief Executive Lee Babe came away confident that the level of innovation in the region has never been higher.
“In the industries Nelmac works in, change is not just inevitable, it’s constant” says Babe. “The entrepreneurs, designers and developers at this event were really pushed in an intensive timeframe and environment to develop ideas into actual functioning, validated and financially sustainable businesses. That’s what innovation is all about. It’s about asking -What’s the solution to a particular problem? How can we improve? Can we measure it? Is it sustainable? From an investor’s perspective – will someone pay? At Nelmac, those are the questions we know our customers expect us to be asking.”
The Nelson 54 hour StartUp Weekend kicked off on Friday evening with 27 pitches and 55 participants –with 10 pitches selected as projects for the weekend. From solutions to address health and safety at work, and streamlining the building specifications process, through to making films family-friendly and new models for temp staff recruitment – the range and depth of ideas was outstanding. Using the facilities in the creative industries G Block at NMIT, one team was even able to construct a prototype of their product for the home brewing industry.
After a weekend of intensive work and coaching from mentors who volunteered their time and expertise, the teams did their final pitches on Sunday evening in front of a judges panel comprising business leaders, angel investors and developers. Two of the projects were announced as equal winners: Bleeep for their model to provide an overlay on films watched online to make them more family-friendly, and Keen for their innovative concept to connect employers and temporary workers.