Top marks for Lessonista at Cambridge Startup Weekend and support for resource triggered by Japan disaster
Enough energy to boost the National Grid was generated by the inaugural Cambridge Startup Weekend at St John’s Innovation Centre, which finished tonight (Sunday) after a marathon 54 hours of mentoring, brainstorming and pitching ideas for a new business.
There was enthusiasm to burn at the first of these US-style hothouses to be held in Cambridge.
Overall winner was Lessonista whose pitch was an online facility to provide lesson-sharing plans for teachers. Belongingsfinder.com - which won the ‘Best Social Enterprise’ award – is a classic example of thinking on the hoof. Belongingsfinder.com allows victims of this week’s natural disaster in North-East Japan and related areas to report their lost objects and upload images of found personal belongings. As soon as the website finds matches of lost and found requests people are connected to help recover their losses.Rosedene Video care won the Best Healthcare prize and CPR Volunteers the Best Mobile award. Sonnet and touch paperwork were the other finalists. One of the keynote speakers, Professor Alan Barrell, praised the organisers and the event sponsors - including gold sponsor Business Weekly – for encouraging budding entrepreneurship.He said: “The Cambridge Startup Weekend was wonderful - inspiring. But what a pity that nobody from Government - not even locals MPs - was there over the three days of the event to see the wonder of these young people who have started or are starting businesses. We need more encouragement, moral and financial support from government for our inspirational young people.” Another keynote speaker – Dr Shai Vyakarnam, who is director of the Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning (CfEL) at Cambridge University, urged start-ups to be more cash conscious earlier in their life cycles. Cashflow was vital to sustain even a young business, he said.A third keynote speaker was Billy Boyle – co-founder of Cambridge-based Owlstone Nanotech.• Photograph by Alan Bennett - Media Imaging Solutions, www.mediaimagingsolutions.com, tel: 0781 499 4934