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Melbourne students limber up for start-up hackathon

Wednesday, 21 March 2012 | By Michelle Hammond

University students in Melbourne will have just 48 hours to launch web-based start-ups from scratch this weekend, as part of their participation in Startup Hackathon Melbourne.


Organised by Amir Nissen, founder of Student Entrepreneurs at the University of Melbourne, the hackathon will be held at co-working space Inspire9 in Richmond.


The event is also supported by Ninefold, Flippa, ThoughtWorks, WeAreDigital, Altima Interactive, 99designs and Mountain Goat Beer.


“Teams of entrepreneurial IT and design students from universities around Victoria will be coding madly to launch web-based startups – from scratch – in 48 hours,” the invitation said.


“Each team will conceive and develop their idea over the course of a weekend and, on the final day of the program, pitch their start-ups to a group of investors and developers.”


According to Nissen, the event is designed to give students a “crash course” in tech start-ups, in true hackathon style.


“For most students it will be their first experience of start-ups. We’re looking to invite some of the cooler people in the scene to share in the excitement,” he says.


The following week – on Friday, March 30 – Student Entrepreneurs will present a conference titled ‘Making Melbourne: Building a Global Entrepeneurial Hub’.


Held at Fitzroy Town Hall, tickets must be purchased by 5.30pm this Friday.


According to Nissen, the event is designed to “engage the younger generation in the entrepreneurial ecosystem around Melbourne”.


“The speakers lined up all have a fairly intimate knowledge of what’s happening in start-ups around Melbourne,” he says.


Nissen says a key element of the event is a pitch competition, based around the question, ‘What could Melbourne do better?’


“The best solutions will be filtered, and the event culminates with the finals pitching on stage for resourced and connections to make their ideas happen,” he says.


“Finally, we’ve corralled a few entrepreneurs working on initiatives in the space to come down and pitch what they’re up to.”


“This should provide a good mix of people doing something in the space, with people looking to learn more and get into start-ups a bit more seriously.”


Meanwhile, registrations are now full for the SAPI-Pollenizer hackathon, which invites entrepreneurs to compete for a share in more than $50,000 worth of prizes and perks.


The hackathon will be held on March 24 and March 31, so teams will have one week to work on their final product, which must integrate the Sensis API.