Aspiring entrepreneurs to head to Cork for Startup Weekend

29 Mar 2013

Cork Startup Weekend organisers. From left: Jane Ronayne,; Siobhan Finn, Cork Innovates, Will Martin,, and Ernest Cantillon, Cork Business Association. Image credit: Diane Cusack

University College Cork will be the setting for Cork’s first ever Startup Weekend next week, as coders, self-starters, designers, marketers and business minds will be teaming up to pool their resources during a marathon 54-hour networking session in order to come up with innovative ideas for new ventures.

The entrepreneurial movement Startup Weekend was founded in Seattle in 2007 and since then has morphed to host such 54-hour events in cities around the globe, including in Dublin in 2011 and 2012.

It was while doing a master’s in global entrepreneurship that Will Martin decided to set about organising a Startup Weekend in Cork. His master’s involved doing semesters in Barcelona, Taiwan and San Francisco.

“I signed up for a Startup Weekend in San Francisco last September. It was a great experience,” says Martin.

When he came back to Ireland he mentioned the idea about hosting a Startup Weekend to Ronan O’Dubhaill from the IGNITE incubation centre at University College Cork (UCC) who he says was very enthusiastic, and the idea grew from there.

The Cork event will kick off on Friday, 5 April and will run until Sunday evening on 7 April.

“We want to attract developers, designers and those with non-technical expertise, including those with marketing, PR, accounting and legal skills,” explains Martin.

Shaping start-ups

On the Friday evening people will get 60 seconds to pitch their business idea before start-up teams are formed.

“We’re expecting a lot of developers. They will be forming teams with people with diverse skills. All of the teams will be organically formed by the attendees themselves,” he says.

During Startup Weekend there will be mentors on site to help teams refine their business ideas. A team of judges will also pick the winning start-up on Sunday evening.

The judges will include Gareth Keane, an investor at Qualcomm Ventures; tech investor and Dragons’ Den star Sean O’Sullivan; Connor Murphy, co-founder of Datahug; and Pat Phelan, CEO at Trustev.

There is still time for people to sign up for Cork Startup Weekend, according to Martin. The event, which will take place at UCC, costs €50 to attend, but readers of Silicon Republic can enter the promotional code ‘siliconrepublic’ when registering online to avail of a 20pc discount. This offer will be available until midnight on Monday.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic