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Cornwall’s first startup event creates seven new business opportunities!

Local entrepreneurs, creatives, developers, and business experts joined forces this weekend (Fri 20 to Sun 22 May) at Cornwall’s first Techstars Start-up Weekend, hosted by Falmouth University’s Venture Studio, Launchpad.

Over an action-packed three days, twenty-five ideas were pitched with the top seven chosen for development. Teams were formed, ideas product tested, validated, and honed at speed, culminating with a presentation night to a panel of judges on Sunday with the winners crowned!

The diverse range of business ideas included everything from how to link product designers with local manufacturers; a sustainable solution to luxury wooden wine boxes; an app that directly connects local fishermen with their consumers and a standardised certification of AI ethicality.

The winner, Your Home Finder, was on a mission to turn landlords away from the Airbnb model and consider long-term rents, demonstrating how the differential between a short-term let and its associated costs was less advantageous as a business model than renting long term.

Lucie Hackney, who came up with the original idea, said: “It was wonderful for our idea and team to be chosen as the winners for the weekend. We were really surprised as the standard of pitches was so high, they were all fantastic and innovative ideas.

“My biggest takeaways from the weekend were: learning yet another acronym – MVP, how important it is to focus on reaching those first 100 customers, and that standing up in front of a room full of people you do not know isn’t scary when you speak from the heart and believe in your idea.

“I had a wonderful weekend, I met and had conversations with lots of like-minded and inspiring people, people who I may not have had a chance to meet in any other walks of my life. From the get-go of the event, starting with the pitch evening on Friday you could feel the buzz and intensity in the room grow as the teams developed, pivoted, and then re-developed their ideas some more. The guidance from the organisers and mentors was fantastic giving us the support and confidence to dream big, develop our ‘why’s’ and really get into the creative thinking process.”

Henry Maples said “We are passionate about supporting tech businesses in Cornwall and pleased to help great initiatives like TechStars nuture the next generation of talented tech funders.

Techstars facilitator, entrepreneur, speaker, and author Roger Osorio added that the event was ‘an awesome weekend that was definitely in the top ten Techstars startup events he’d been involved with!’

Part of the globally renowned Techstars Startup Weekend movement, the event is designed to support and encourage budding entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs, creatives and anyone with new business ideas. The Techstars Startup Weekend Penryn was sponsored by PKF Francis Clark, Murrell Associates and Doyle Clayton.

Launchpad is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), Research England and Cornwall Council.

Image captions:

  • The winners, Your Home Finder, (l-r) John, Lucie, Irene and May
  • Participant group shot
  • Roger Osorio
  • Working in the studio