A fun, weekend event at which you get to form your own team of fellow participants and learn-by-doing how to launch a business, in 54 hours.

What is Startup Weekend?

A fun, weekend event at which you get to form your own team of fellow participants and learn-by-doing (with the help of experienced people) how to launch a business, in 54 hours.

All Startup Weekend-ers are part of a global network of over 45,000 Startup Weekend alumni. Every participant, organiser, facilitator, sponsor, mentor and judge becomes a part sharing the mission to inspire, educate and empower individuals, teams and communities to solve problems and succeed together.

Dates for next event: like Tauranga Startup Weekend on Facebook to be the first to know!

Why Tauranga Startup Weekend?

Tauranga has an active and growing entrepreneurial community who are committed supporters of new business people & ideas. 

Enterprise Angels, Mackenzie Elvin, PriorityOne, Findex, Basestation and Venture Centre are all key organisations which are an active part of the entrepreneurial eco-system in the Bay of Plenty.

The people in these organisations, coupled with local government councils and many other local businesses, volunteer time and/or sponsorship, actively supporting our Startup Weekend event and its community.

They do so to help fulfil the shared vision of the Bay of Plenty becoming a significant centre for enterprising ventures in New Zealand and the world. [Read more here about our community vision for Startup Weekend]

Tauranga Startup Weekend event shines a spotlight on Tauranga and the Bay of Plenty as a premium location in New Zealand where talent wants and CAN live and work: afresh, green-fields centre for innovative business ventures, born in a collaborative community of active supporters of new growth.

As a non-profit community organisation the event relies on 100% community support, involvement and volunteers to give their time to convene, organise, run the event, provide sponsorship and pass on the benefits of their business experience through mentorship. However, the most important thing Tauranga Startup Weekend relies on is ENGAGEMENT and ENTHUSIASM. Its community recognise that the value of a Startup Weekend for all is learning something new & getting connected together.

Every event builds on the last as the Tauranga Startup Weekend community grows in number & experience and works towards the goals the community has for the Bay of Plenty and its emerging entrepreneurs.

Let’s see what we can generate again this year!

How does it work?

Startup Weekend applies the same formula wherever it is run – it starts on a Friday evening and runs for 54 hours solid.

It begins with open-mic 60-second pitches & small teams form around the best, most viable concepts.

Teams spend Saturday & Sunday focused on customer development, validating their ideas & building prototypes with the help of experienced mentors and an organised mentoring programme.

On Sunday teams demo their products at an exciting ‘pitch night’, get feedback from a panel of judges & win startup prizes.

Who is it for?

This event brings budding creatives, designers, developers, marketeers, product managers, business management, start-up enthusiasts & members of the community together.

On average, half of Startup Weekend’s attendees have technical or design backgrounds, the other half have business backgrounds, are employees or students. This year in Tauranga we have local government representatives taking part too. 

Startup Weekend results & early growth in NZ

Globally about 30% of the ideas do startup for real, and participants form companies post-event.

In New Zealand it has been more like 15%.

Startup Weekends first started in New Zealand in Christchurch in January 2012 with Auckland, Wellington, Palmerston North and Tauranga all running events before the year was out.

Each of these cities ran events in 2013 and Hamilton and Hawkes Bay joined in the fun.

Since 2012 SW in Tauranga resulted in the formation of five new companies that are still running. 

Plenty more participants in the Bay of Plenty have changed roles or have ideas in formation as a result of their participation.


Why participate in Startup Weekend?

Share ideas, form teams, and support each other to build products & launch startups which solve problems – all in one 54 hour weekend.

- Try before you dive in!

Startup weekends are NOT designed or intended to start companies (although it does happen!). They ARE designed to be a simulation of the experience of doing it – exploring and constructing solutions, collaborating with people who have different ideas experience and skills. You get the chance to fail, recover, fail again, and recover again (x 5+), in a safe supportive environment. The weekend provides a useful litmus test for what life is like as an entrepreneur.

- Deep & wide relationships 

Through active participation in the act of creation participants, mentors, sponsors & judges develop deeper relationships than a typical networking event. Participants become part of a community which has strong connections and a shared language locally, nationally and globally. 

- Improve your odds

As a Startup Weekend-er you are more highly regarded by formal incubation and acceleration programmes such as Wharf42 here in Tauranga or Lightening Lab and Ice House in other centres. These centres invest money and resources in growing businesses and have a highly competitive entry process. Startup Weekend-ers are also much more attractive from an Angel investor perspective.

- Learning by doing

Startup Weekends are all about learning through the act of creating.  Don’t just listen to theory, build your own business, with help, and test it as you go. Whether you are just beginning to think ‘entrepreneurially’ or have been doing so for a while, the exposure and practice Startup Weekend gives to the latest (and constantly updated) business thinking, world-class best practices, tools and methodologies is incredibly valuable.

- Build your contacts

It’s excellent fun, but this isn’t just a happy-(54)-hour! Startup Weekend attracts your community’s best makers and do-ers. By spending a weekend contributing to building a scalable company that solves a real-world problem, you will build business contacts and possibly walk away with a job or even a future investor in your startup business.
- Find people you can partner with to launch a business

We all know business is not only about the idea or one person – it’s about team and doing it, together! Sharing a startup Weekend experience is hands down the best way to find people you can actually launch a business with – co-founders, key partners, service & product suppliers, services and more. You will connect with people you like, who can do the things you don't or you’re not good at, don’t know or provide things you don’t have.
- Learn something new, for real

Step outside of your comfort zone. With a whole weekend dedicated to letting your creative juices flow, Startup Weekends are perfect opportunities to test out a new idea, try something different. You can experiment with business ideas, validate (or invalidate!) them in a risk-free, fun environment and record real results.
- Get face time with successful people

Local and National business people with actual experience starting from scratch, launching and building businesses give their time to Startup Weekends as volunteer organisers, mentors and judges. Get one-on-one time and work alongside movers and shakers in your community.

- Prizes

A package of startup business prizes from the community backing you to be winners that can help a team more forward.



Instigator is a curated suite of programmes, events, and workshops designed by Venture Centre to support the digital and entrepreneurial capability of individuals and their communities. It exists to inspire and equip them with the skills, tools, mindset and connections they need to build impactful ventures and prosper.


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