THE much-anticipated annual Startup Weekend Sunshine Coast had 43 people pitch their business ideas to a crowd of 200 at the Innovation Centre.
A marathon weekend of collaboration involving 13 teams of budding entrepreneurs led to the crowning of a 27-year-old journalism student and her team-mates as the winners. Jessie Lee and her three-member team have devised cloud-based wedding planning software, Hitched In, which would help a bride and groom stay in touch with their wedding planner.
"Brides want to know everything that's going on and might ask the same question more than once," Ms Lee said.
This could lead to a cumbersome amount of emails, texts and phone calls between the bridal party and event planner, she said.
The Hitched In software would allow the bride and groom to see the status of every step from date setting to wedding bells.
When flowers had been booked or a cake ordered, the wedding planner would update the Hitched In account, attaching the receipt. The customer would have access to the account, Ms Lee said, and could check these details at any time of the day or night.
The tool would also connect wedding planners with industry professionals.
Ms Lee said she first had the idea for something similar to Hitched In a year ago, but the weekend-long process of collaboration had seen "light bulb moments" that built detail around the concept.
It was the first time Ms Lee had put an entrepreneurial idea forward, and she was amazed at the result.
"It's pretty exciting," she said.
The team was guided by experienced businessman Lyndon Holzheimer.
The University of the Sunshine Coast student said she would focus on developing Hitched In when she finished her degree.
USC lecturer in entrepreneurship and lead organiser for the event Dr Retha Scheepers said the three-member team had been crowned the winner, narrowly beating a strong field of contenders.
"Winning certainly wasn't the primary objective of most people attending Start
up Weekend," she said. "Nobody fails here, everyone wants to see everyone else succeed and learn along the way. The future belongs to the ones who show up.
"The journey may have started at Startup Weekend Sunshine Coast. However, it continues and builds on the connections made creating an even stronger entrepreneurial Sunshine Coast community."
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