Startup Weekend Derby was a great success!

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Sponsoring the event

Well that was fun! When’s the next one? Spark Agency was recently presented with the opportunity to sponsor Startup Weekend as they entered the city of Derby. Startup Weekend Derby was held at Derby University’s Kedleston Road Campus and as somebody who’s never been to Derby University, I must say what a great venue to hold such a wonderful event. Spark Agency’s Director Paul Harrison attended this very university and graduated just under a year ago. Paul often tells me how great the University of Derby is for inspiring and supporting entrepreneurship, which is why it’s such a perfect location for this type of event. We’d like to extend our thank you to the University for being a fantastic host and letting us use your wonderful facilities. Spark Agency is a digital marketing agency built up of a team who have creativity running through their veins. As such, it’s fair to say we weren't going to pass up on this opportunity of sponsoring Startup Weekend Derby.

Amongst the sponsors were our friends over at RDS Global (experts in cyber security) and inni Accounts. Being able to sponsor events alongside companies such as RDS is a fantastic experience for us. We made some great friends at the event and we were lucky to see six teams of incredibly talented and enthusiastic individuals get together and take a concept to a business in just 56 hours. Once the 56 hours were up, the teams presented their business idea to a panel of Derby based business experts in order to gain mentorships and investment from Derby’s brightest business men and women. Startup Weekend is a global programme that offers budding entrepreneurs the opportunities to meet new people and collaborate on business ideas. We were also informed that Startup Weekend is in more countries than Starbucks!

The Spark award for creativity

Spark Agency Award for Creativity Winners

We were presented with a wide range of ideas from which to choose, but one business idea really stood out for us and claimed the Spark Award For Creativity. It was Group&Go’s simple but stylish mobile application that showed a strong element of design, creativity and innovation that we decided deserved the award.

During their pitch they even talked about the future of taking the mobile app to the next level. They even considered beyond the consumer market, talking about the ability for the technology to be extended to business use. Whilst at the event we provided the team with some digital marketing advice regarding how social media marketing would be vital for them to reach their target audience. I had the honour of presenting the Spark Award For Creativity to the team and gave them the following words of inspiration, “Group&Go have a great idea, however it’s an idea that will be copied very quickly as they start to gain attention. They’ll have to get a firm grip of their target audience and attract as many users to their mobile application as quickly as possible. Digital marketing in terms of great branding, social media management and social media marketing is what they need in order to attract the required audience to make the business a success”. I also after hearing their presentation realised how much I would personally appreciate a service like this. I’m looking forward to potentially having the chance to use this application in the future.

The rise in digital businesses

It was pleasing to see all business ideas pitched were very focused on being a digital based business and maximising the potential of digital marketing. The group’s use of digital marketing ranged from subscription based websites to mobile applications with all being marketed through social media channels. Even Startup Weekend were on their game with the social media after utilising the hashtag #StartupDerby on Twitter to create a digital feed of the day's events.

Do you believe you’ve got what it takes to own Startup Weekend? Find out when Startup Weekend comes to your city and sign up today on their website (www.startupweekend.org).