Techstars Startup Weekend 2019

A popular business startup event that has launched new companies and created connections across Plymouth and the South West is set for its fourth staging in April, with a new challenge for business brains and creative thinkers: 

How can our cities rejuvenate culture and tourism, post-pandemic? 

Organised by the University of Plymouth, as part of the iMayflower project, and aligned to the globally renowned Techstars Startup Weekend movement, this latest edition of the Plymouth Startup Weekend will focus on finding bold and innovative ideas that will make Plymouth a prime cultural destination for 2022. At the same time, it will also support the flourishing entrepreneurial community in the city and connect businesses with entrepreneurs and talent.

The culture and tourism industry in Plymouth accounts for nearly £70 million of economic output per year, with 365 businesses in the city classed as arts, entertainment and recreation. In line with Plymouth Culture’s recently announced strategy, over three days, teams of ambitious minds will be challenged to solve problems and forge creative ideas to protect the arts, live music events and iconic attractions for future years.

While coming up with innovative solutions, attendees will have the opportunity to work with expert mentors specialising in different facets of business. Among those who will be lending their expertise are Tony Richardson, Director and Commercial Development Consultant at LarkOwl; and Diane Mansell, CEO of Plymouth Waterfront Partnership Inc.pic. Rob Love, CEO and Founder of Crowdfunder UK, will be one of the guest speakers.

Emily Barrett, Knowledge Exchange Officer at the University, and lead organiser of Plymouth Startup Weekend, said: 

“An important part in everything we do is collaborating with the local business community and these events are no different. It is wonderful to have the involvement of so many local organisations supporting the growth of the entrepreneurial ecosystem and inspiring emerging talent and aspiring entrepreneurs from the city and beyond. By placing their support and expertise into the heart of our entrepreneurial ecosystem, they are helping to ensure a vibrant and growing economy in the heart of the South West."

Last year’s online edition drew 40 attendees, with 15 original ideas pitched and seven teams formed. Meanwhile 2019 winners, Big Sis, have now become a registered community interest company and have run a hugely successful crowdfunding campaign thanks to the connections made over the weekend.  

This year's event - being staged from 23-25 April - will again be held online due to the pandemic. Tickets are available and include one-to-one time with experienced mentors, and the chance to network, attend workshops and hear from the guest speakers.

Hannah Harris, CEO, Plymouth Culture, said: 

"Plymouth is uniquely positioned to grow dramatically as a cultural and tourist destination over the course of the next decade thanks to several years of significant investment, development and hard work in the sector. As our 10-year Culture Plan demonstrates, culture can be the engine that drives Plymouth’s economy. We see the cultural and creative sector interwoven with business and enterprise, which is why there couldn’t be a better time to focus this year’s Plymouth Startup Weekend on Culture and Tourism as we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic. We are very much looking forward to seeing the entrepreneurial talent on show that this fantastic event invariably produces and would like to wish everyone taking part the best of luck.”

Stuart Elford, Chief Executive of Devon & Plymouth Chamber of Commerce, added: 

"The Plymouth Startup Weekend has become an important fixture in the business calendar when we get to witness some of the brightest minds and creative thinkers of our business future tackle some of the most pressing issues in Plymouth today. The Devon & Plymouth Chamber of Commerce is proud to support the Weekend and equally proud to support the positioning of our cultural sector as a driving force for the city economy. I’m genuinely excited to see how the participants apply entrepreneurial solutions to rejuvenating tourism and growing our cultural identity for the benefit of all.”

For more information on the event, and how to register, visit the Techstars website. 

Techstars Startup Weekend Online, November 2020

Attendees from across the UK and Europe joined the Techstars Startup Weekend event organised by the University of Plymouth last November. Ambitious entrepreneurs collaborated with mentors and peers conceiving ideas to solve social, environmental and financial issues.

A digital platform for older citizens to decrease social isolation, a certification designed for restaurants to reduce their impact on the environment, a network for vulnerable adults to engage better with the arts and a VR app to encourage healthy exercise - these are just some of the ideas which came out of the innovation-packed Techstars Startup Weekend Plymouth Online.

Read more about the online event and the ideas developed here.