Experiencing Startup Weekend Creative Tech 2018

By Simon Audus
QUT Creative Enterprise Australia’s Startup Weekend Creative Tech took place March 2018 at QUT Creative Industries Precinct.

I had the pleasure of attending this amazing event, held from March 2 – 4 at QUT’s Kelvin Grove campus, and found myself quickly immersed in creativity, technology and a hacking mentality.

I recorded the experience and have shared it in the video at the top of this page. 

It’s all about taking an idea, developing it and making it into reality

Startup weekends are centred around a series of activities designed to encourage entrepreneurship and bring together people from different backgrounds with different skill sets.

Teams are formed around specific ideas or problem statements and find solutions to them by ‘hacking’ the ideas throughout the course of the weekend. I saw teams come up with interesting and creative solutions to problems.

Startup Weekend facilitator and programs manager for QUT Creative Enterprise Australia (CEA), Philippe Ceulen, suggests that creative tech touches our lives every day. 

It’s the intersection where creativity meets technology

CEA’s startup weekend creative tech looks for early stage creative tech ventures as well as ‘hackers, hipsters and hustlers’ who are prepared to evolve and have the potential to go global.

The event encourages the development of unique opportunities for budding entrepreneurs who are interested in:

  • Wearable technology
  • Digital media and film
  • Music tech
  • Virtual reality and augmented reality
  • Robotics
  • Interactive content and the ‘Internet of Things’
  • Fashion tech and 3D printing
  • Games

Speaking to me during the hustle and bustle of the event weekend, Philippe Ceulen states that it is important to show people the first step towards externalising an idea.

“Something that lives in your mind while sitting on the couch, it’s great but it doesn’t really take you anywhere,” Philippe explains

“You can be sitting on that couch forever thinking you’re sitting on a pot of gold which is then never going to happen.”

“An important aspect of [the startup weekend] is inspiration. Inspiring people to know that these choices are available to them and that they can live the sort lives they want to live; creative lives.”

The 2018 Startup Weekend Creative Tech is judged by a panel of industry professionals and according to Philippe, this year’s panel was the most senior in the event’s three-year history

“Participants can expect some of the best feedback in the industry for the businesses they develop over the weekend,” Philippe explained to me at the event.

The judging panel included:

  • Brett Chenoweth, Chairman of QUT CEA, Chairman of Madman Entertainment
  • Professor Margaret Sheil AO, QUT Vice-Chancellor
  • Garry Visontay, Partner at Right Click Capital
  • Cole Wilkinson, Partner at Pitcher Partners
  • Michelle Eastwell, Partner at HopgoodGanim Lawyers

A startup event wouldn’t be complete without some prizes for all of that entrepreneurial creative tech energy and this year was no exception. Christina Jones – Marketing & Communications Manager CEA explained that the winning teams across the weekend took home a prize pool of tech swag and in-kind services valued at more than $30,000.

This was comprised of business development services and tickets to major festivals including The Design Conference. Other major contributors to the prizes included Pitcher Partners, QUT Business School, HopgoodGanim Lawyers, Digital Brisbane, Red Bull, BOP Industries, Optus Innov8, Changer Studios, Free Space VR, Myriad, Future Business Council, Future Business Generation, Vivo and OQCE”.

I also got the opportunity to speak with last year’s Startup Weekend Creative Tech winner, Majella Edwards. She is the co-founder and CEO of Sortal and was back again for this year’s event as a coach and mentor.

Majella draws on her own experience to offer some insights into the startup weekend process, and says that these kind of events are “really great for those collision of ideas, meeting new people and pushing your own assumptions and you’re own boundaries.”

She described herself as an artist / creative with a background in  photography and suggests that last year’s startup weekend event gave her the opportunity to meet a software engineer. Together they “were able to create something the world hadn’t seen before”.

The meeting of like minded people has a special energy, but when combined with the entrepreneurial spirit, creativity and some technical skills, anything seems possible.

The people from QUT Creative Enterprise Australia, are making people’s creative tech startup dreams become a reality.