tech startup

A popular entrepreneurial event that challenges people to develop a product, service or even an entire business in just 54 hours is set for its biggest-ever audience when it switches to an online format for the November edition.

The Plymouth Techstars Startup Weekend will once again offer budding entrepreneurs a chance to connect with mentors, industry experts, and potential partners, who will help them learn new skills and develop their business idea over the course of an intense two-and-a-half days.

This time, however, the event – which will coincide with Global Entrepreneurship Week – is changing format and will be delivered via a range of online platforms, courtesy of First Sight Media, to meet the challenges posed by the pandemic.

Among those who will be contributing to the weekend (13-15 November) include Toby G MBE, the multi award-winning hip hop artist and Founder of the Street Dance Factory; and Carly Britton, Head of Client Services at VUALTO, and a Women in IT Advocate of the Year for 2020.

Rupert Lorraine, Development and Partnership Manager (Creative Economy), said:

“This virtual edition of the Plymouth Techstars Startup Weekend is focused on supporting and growing our entrepreneurial community in and around the city. We see it as a really important opportunity for people from any background to come and develop new skills and be innovative, while staying safe in the current climate. The format may have changed, but the inspiration, energy and educational opportunities for entrepreneurs remains as strong as before, and we have a line-up of contributors who have all ‘been there and bought the t-shirt’.”

For the November weekend, participants will be split into teams and will work together on a business idea, designing a prototype, delivering pitches and receiving feedback from the judges, who include the Real Ideas Organisation, Creative England, Devon Chamber of Commerce and Plymouth College of Art (PCA).

There will be a number of innovative elements to the programme to replicate the energy of a live event, including dance workshops and lunch networking sessions. And there will be a range of prizes on offer, including two spaces at PCA’s six-week Design & Make training in 2021, free memberships into the Devon Chamber, RIO’s ‘Connect’ network and the Creative Industries Federation, and a creative consultation with Bull and Wolf.

Professor Chris Bennewith, Head of the School of Art, Design and Architecture, said:

“This event is for anyone and everyone interested in entrepreneurship – and judging from a record number of registrations, there are many people out there ready to get started! Whether you have an idea that you want to explore, or you are already a serial entrepreneur, the weekend presents an opportunity to become inspired, to collaborate and to innovate. Engagement with our community, and bringing people together, has never been more important than it is now and that is why we are delighted to be delivering the Techstars Startup Weekend events as a key aspect of the University’s civic mission.”

The Plymouth Techstars Startup Weekends are run by the University’s enterprise initiative, The Bridge, in partnership with Google for Startups. Previous winners have included a social enterprise supporting young girls’ mental health through physical and emotional literacy campaigns, and a mindful photography app aimed at parents.

This is the third weekend of its type, and is part of the iMayflower Project. iMayflower is supported by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport through the Cultural Development Fund which is administered by Arts Council England.

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