by Tina Olivero

Businesses Are Born at Startup

Industry event



Businesses Are Born at Startup

Maybe I’ll just start a new sleep device to ensure people on rigs are ‘work safe’ and have enough sleep.

Maybe I’ll create a new type of Rutter that stops ROV’s on a dime.

Maybe I’ll create a new holographic design program for ships so we can see in the third and fourth dimensions.

Maybe I’ll develop a new way to connect with the masses on the internet and sell my products there.

Maybe I’ll design software for the Internet Of Things.

These are the things that entrepreneurs focused on at Startup Newfoundland and Labrador last November in Holyrood, Newfoundland.


Startup Weekend in Newfoundland and Labrador is all about the what if’s, the maybe’s, the imagination, the wondering, the invention, the visualization and the creation of things that make the world a better, more efficient place.

A Startup event is where people come together and begin to build an entirely new future in just 54 hours. The Techstars Startup Weekend allows participants with an entrepreneurial spirit to learn, network, connect, and Startup a new idea. Techstars Right now, all over the world, over 10,000 Community Leaders are currently building startup communities with Techstars.


Techstars Startup Weekend is run by local organizers in over 700 cities and 150 countries worldwide. Imagine the energy and the commitment to building business communities and supporting entrepreneurs around the globe. It’s unprecedented.

At Techstars Startup Weekend, entrepreneurs are immersed in the enclosed business environment that supports the startup magic to happen. Surrounded by smart, passionate people with a suite of tools and approaches, participants take crazy giant leaps forward to creating a business that started from nothing and materialized into everything.

In just 54 rigorous non-stop hours, participants experience the highs, lows, fun, and pressure that make up the weekend at a startup. Startup is specifically designed so that entrepreneurs meet the very best mentors, investors, co-founders, and sponsors who are ready to help you get things started. Startup Newfoundland and Labrador The Fall 2017 Newfoundland and Labrador Startup was all about the sea, and what better place to ponder entrepreneurial questions about the ocean and its possibilities, than Newfoundland and Labrador.

Newfoundland and Labrador’s Startup event brought ideas to life in the world of marine and tech like never before. Posing real-world problems in the energy and ocean sectors, Startup participants put their talents together to develop solutions that would be sustainable and effective from the sea. It is like a mind race. What can we create? What will make a difference? What feels like a really good idea?


The excitement and creativity start to flow as participants pounce on what’s new and what’s possible!

The Startup entrepreneur takes an idea and turns it into action. At the end of the weekend, participants pitch to a team of judges that have a business background and resources to support that startup and quite possibly turn it into a $million if not $billion company. It’s happened.

On the first night, a room full of generated ideas begins to flow. The top ideas are posted on the board and participants get to vote on which ideas they would like to work on. The most popular ideas win and the weekend starts with teams who have chosen to work on an idea they love. It may not have even been their idea, but it’s an idea they can get behind. From there the rigorous process of defining the product or service, building out its features and creating a pitch deck for investment takes place.

The team with the best idea wins. Prizes align with business support solutions and included office space, marketing support, financial and legal services and much more. What a huge bonus to any company just out of the gate!


Stavros Messinis

Flown in from Greece, the veteran Startup Weekend Facilitator who volunteers with Tech Stars, Stavros Messinis shared his decades of Startup experience with participants. Stavros’s commitment is to economic empowerment, and he travels the world supporting great minds and great business Startups.

For this event, Stavros developed and delivered a clear guide for participants to follow that would allow them to bring an idea to pitch deck, in just two short days. A wealth of startup knowledge, Stavros shared his stories, direction, and wisdom with participants and guided them through the process of Startup in two days. He was brilliant.

Winning Formula

Over 100 people attended the Startup Newfoundland and Labrador event. The teams worked on their projects from Friday evening straight through to Sunday afternoon. The winning team was judged by an expert panel who selected “OceanWeb”. Their concept was an Internet of Things software device that enabled a logistical tracking solution for at-sea containers & en route supplies servicing offshore facilities. The well-deserving team members in a competitive Startup Weekend field are Gunnar Lehrling, Moustafa Elsisy, Sarah Loo Chin Moy, Tomisin Jenrola and Vineel Nagisetty. The team now qualifies for the Regional competition.

Other teams that worked smart, long and hard were:
Arena – an augmented reality tool for troubleshooting vessel systems when at sea;
HummingBird 1.0 – a novel variable pitch propeller design (epic 3D printed prototype!);
SleepWatch – a mariner sleep monitoring system and;
Amplify – an expert-affiliated marketing system.

Startups Take a Tribe Startups take a lot of organizing, planning, and work.

It takes a tribe to have a Start-up go successfully. It is a massive undertaking. Startup Newfoundland and Labrador was led by Startup advocate Roger Power who’s well seasoned in Startups in the province. He’s the behind the scenes guy who tirelessly designed the event from start to finish and gathered an esteemed volunteer community.


The Town of Holyrood

A major sponsor and the host of Startup Newfoundland and Labrador was the Town of Holyrood. A very fitting location given the theme of this event was Startups for the sea. Marjorie Gibbons spearheaded the hosting of the event and brought the entire event together with other volunteers like Gary Corbett, Nicole Evans, Cassandra Sharron, Elyse Summers and Tom Williamson. As well, community support came from entrepreneurship supports and sponsors like; IBEW, Marine Institute, The Telegram, Station Diner, ACOA, Buckle’s Contracting Limited, Memorial University, XXIX Venture Limited, ETC Gift Studio, HVAC Specialties, The Town of Holyrood, Chris Spurvey, Concierge Service, MUN – ETP, NEIA, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, and The OGM.

Participants were supported by coaches, mentors, and judges including, Will Martin, Steve Hawko, Tom Williamson, Andy Fisher, Andrew Smith, Ken Bruce, Andrew Smith, Erin Stapleton, Will Gough, Peter Howell, Kieran Hanley, Randal Power, Jeff Brown, Liam Fannigan and Tina Olivero. Would you like to be more involved in Startups?

Here’s how to get involved:
http://communities.techstars.com/ canada/newfoundland–labrador-nl-canada/get-involved

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