Australia’s creative space off to a Startup weekend

Australia’s creative space off to a Startup weekend


QUT Creative Enterprise Australia (CEA) will host Australia’s only Startup Weekend Creative Tech event from 2–4 March. Across an intense 54 hours innovative teams of entrepreneurs will build, evolve, refine and pitch their life-changing ideas to a panel of judges.

Legal partner to CEA, HopgoodGanim Lawyers, is part of the creative industry startup space and has been involved with CEA since 2016. Michelle Eastwell, Partner at HopgoodGanim will be one of the four judges to pick the tech team with the most potential.

Michelle sheds light on what she will be looking for during the weekend and also talks about how Startups should legally prepare for a successful business future.

The key role for Startup judges is to see the grand finale of the participants efforts at the end of the weekend. Michelle says, “I will be looking out for really clever ideas that solve day-to-day problems.

Whatever the solution is they come up with, it needs to have the ability to be commercialised and also scaleable. One of the other key things I’ll be looking out for is a team who works really well together and looks out for each other.

“In this process you bring people with different talents together and you leverage those talents to get the best outcome.”

Over the high-energy 54 hours, the Startup ideas go through an evolutionary process. “They’re given feedback from mentors along the way. Different team members have different ideas,” says Michelle. “They may test an idea and after the feedback there may be a need to change direction. Business proposals often change significantly over the weekend.”

The event provides a huge opportunity to “collaborate with others who have the skills sets you need to push your idea further.” Teams are given access to a wide array of people to develop ideas.

“It’s always great to see the culmination of everyone’s hard work over the 54 hours so it is quite exciting to be part of the judging panel.

“I think all participants will come away with a huge learning experience and hopefully develop some great ideas as well.”

Michelle admits it will take participants out of their comfort zone to pitch to a panel of judges they don’t know, but believes “it will only improve that particular skill set.”

During the pivotal pitch, judges will be making notes and looking at assessment criteria. Once the pitches have finished judges get together to compare notes, score each team and agree on a final outcome.

Outcomes are delivered as quickly as they can “because we appreciate everyone’s on tender hooks waiting to find out how they have gone.”

It’s great that CEA is running Australia’s only Startup weekend for creative tech. It’s really exciting.

Michelle says Australia is slowly building momentum for support of Startups, “where we are now is streets ahead from where we were five years ago but certainly I think we do have a way to go before we’re providing the optimum environment for Startups in Australia.”

There are many ideas about how Startups need to be agile and adaptable to ultimately develop and succeed. However, from a legal perspective, Michelle advises on key things entrepreneurs should be aware of, such as a solid business structure and researching legal requirements. “This is so everyone knows where they stand. It’s a great idea to make sure you’re on solid ground from day one.”

Some pivotal points to legal business planning are:

  • Focus on how you’re structuring your business
  • What are the rights of the owners of the business, whether founders or employees with equity?
  • Who’s contributing to the development of your business idea?
  • Do you have the rights to IP that’s being developed or that you need for your business?
  • Do you know where everybody stands if there’s a disagreement?
  • Do you have a mix of employees or contractors and are you dealing with them correctly?

The cost is always a big thing for any Startup because there’s a limited budget. But there are key things entrepreneurs can do to get your business right from the outset that can help you along the way.

HopgoodGanim provides legal support to CEA members. Michelle says, “we’re trying to break down the difficulty of legal matters and the cost involved with that. The legal support is out there and there are people trying to take steps to make that more accessible in the Startup space.”

Other support includes access to resources such as videos, information sheets and seminars. These outlets provide useful information as a starting point for founders to consider. Resources are provided for a basic understanding of legal matters so it’s not so daunting.

“We try to make that information available to everybody so you can be familiar with that particular legal issue before you delve further into it with your lawyer.”

Don’t forget to lend your support to CEA’s Startup Weekend Creative Tech Brisbane.

Tickets are available here: QUTCEA Startup Weekend.

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