Past event…

Event Ended

Microsoft Campus

Microsoft Campus, 3012 William Nicol Drive, Bryanston, 2191, Johannesburg

Ever wondered what it takes to be an entrepreneur?

The professional and personal challenges, the high and lows, the failures and the success?

Startup Weekend is a global grassroots movement of active and empowered entrepreneurs who are learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures. It is the largest community of passionate entrepreneurs with over 1800 past events in 120 countries around the world in 2014.

The non-profit organization is headquartered in Seattle, Washington but Startup Weekend organizers and facilitators can be found in over 200 cities around the world. From Mongolia to South Africa to London to Brazil, people around the globe are coming together for weekend long workshops to pitch ideas, form teams, and start companies.

All Startup Weekend events follow the same basic model: anyone is welcome to pitch their startup idea and receive feedback from their peers. Teams organically form around the top ideas (as determined by popular vote) and then it’s a 54 hour frenzy of business model creation, coding, designing, and market validation. The weekends culminate with presentations in front of local entrepreneurial leaders with another opportunity for critical feedback.

Whether entrepreneurs found companies, find a cofounder, meet someone new, or learn a skill far outside their usual 9-to-5, everyone is guaranteed to leave the event better prepared to navigate the chaotic but fun world of startups. If you want to put yourself in the shoes of an entrepreneur, register now for the best weekend of your life!

Tech Bootcamp

We are proud to announce that for this Startup Weekend event Qualcomm, Microsoft and BlackBerry are running technology bootcamps prior to the Startup Weekend Event.

The Tech Bootcamp takes place on the weekend of 2nd and 3rd August at JoziHub. We are working hard to get one or two more technology companies to join the bootcamp and come share with us how to leverage their technology, so you can quickly and cheaply build out your business ideas.

Final Agenda has been posted on our blog page

Please note the Startup Weekend ticket includes entrance for the Tech Bootcamp



Aug 16
  • Registration Starts
  • Dinner & Networking
  • Welcome
  • Pitches Start
  • Speakers
  • Attendees vote for the top ideas
  • Teams start forming and discussing ideas
  • Business Model Canvas Presentation
  • Start to formalize teams and take an inventory of skills. Be honest, and direct about what resources and skills are needed for the weekend. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow


Aug 17
  • Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee
  • Teams formed and setting up workspace for the weekend
  • Customer Development Presentation
  • Lunch
  • Call for needs & skills
  • Coaches help teams one-on-one. They are here to help!
  • Dinner
  • Mid weekend check-in, status reports, call for help
  • Finished for the day. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow


Aug 18
  • Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee
  • Call for help (this is self motivated, so don’t be shy)
  • Pitching to Investor Presentation
  • Lunch
  • Coaches arrive… ASK QUESTIONS
  • Gut check. Start prepping for presentations
  • Dinner
  • Judging & awards
  • Wrapup
  • Go home!
Platinum Sponsors
Gold Sponsors

Darren Smith

Businessman. New media & web strategist. Strategic Marketer. Communicator. Networker. Idea engineer. Creative thinker.   |   LinkedIn

After graduating with a MSc. Electronic Engineering, I quickly chose to move into the sales, marketing & communications field, in which I have excelled these last 20 years, firstly in sales as a Sales Engineer (where I was awarded Rest of World Salesman of the year), latterly as a media executive (where I ran Technews Publishing, an award-winning media company I helped found).

My expertise focus on the pillars of sustainable business: "Content. Communication. Conversation. Commerce." ... and I am currently driving new business opportunities at SmartR Media.

A businessman & strategist, I specialize in media, marketing & communications, providing strategic insight into emerging trends, and practical execution of the possible today.

I have a deep understanding of media, new and old, of technology, new and old, and of the value of innovation in business.

Tendai Joe

Serial Entrepreneur, Business Development Executive, Social Media Consultant, Motivational Speaker, Entrepreneur, Online Reputation Manager and Digital Publisher   |   LinkedIn

I might not be where I want to be, but my journey and life story has inspired and continues to inspire people.

I was born in November 1982. I am the fifth in a family of 10 children, 8 boys and 2 girls. I am a former Zimbabwean street child who left Zimbabwe, after returning to school to complete my High School education. With only R150 and a dream. I came to South Africa at the end of 2005 through the Kruger National Park and landed in an informal settlement in Olievenhoutbosch.

My initial years in South Africa were filled with hardships including twice overcoming xenophobic attacks. I managed to maintain my focus on achieving my dreams and so have managed to rise above these hardships to start my own digital company and foundation, Trail of Hope Foundation, which empowers orphaned and vulnerable children to develop critical consciousness within their context of living.

I've been blessed to be featured numerous times on various radio and television shows as well as in a wide array of publications. I have also been fortunate to appear as a guest speaker at a number of events throughout South Africa.

Marcel Claassen

Sales leader. Specialist in customer experience and client value management   |   LinkedIn

Marcel is formally educated in finance and holds an MBA from the Gordon Institute of Business Science in Johannesburg. He has several years experience in small business banking and support, and is passionate about the role that technology can play in driving insightful new venture creation in South Africa.

In 2004 he assumed an executive role in an entrepreneurial venture owned by the First Rand Group, followed by a successful career in FNB’s sales leadership. It was here where he learnt the true value of impactful sales management, and gained invaluable insight into B2C/B2B sales and marketing. The contrast between the strictly governed competitive environment of banks, and the play-full ingenuity of small business, provides the ideal platform for insight extraction and new strategy formulation.

As the current Executive Head of Growth for FNB Business Banking, Marcel is responsible for all new sales and client value management across an integrated network of channels and hundreds of sales people - collectively driving a multi-billion rand business.

Marcel has won several awards within the industry and was recently featured as Think Sales Magazines’ “Big Deal” in the Jan/Feb issue. He is a part-time MBA lecturer

Paul Jacobson

Internet and content legal specialist and Web•Tech•Law's director   |   LinkedIn

I am a specialist Web and digital content lawyer and was the first lawyer to specialise in social media, social marketing and related trends in South Africa. I have focused on the space from a legal perspective since 2008 when I created a "new media" legal focus area in Jacobson Attorneys. I developed one of the first social media policies in South Africaearly 2010 when I created a social media policy for a global financial services firm based in South Africa.

I advise a variety of digital agencies, financial institutions and other businesses innovating in the social media space and of varying sizes on the many aspects of social marketing, content licensing, data protection and reputational harm.

As a general commercial attorney and Jacobson Attorneys' founder, I lead a small team in developing innovative legal frameworks for our clients which include small, medium and large businesses. Our focus is on creating smarter and more effective legal frameworks and not the usual repetitive and jargon-filled documents many attorneys churn out.


Martin Cronje

Entrepreneur   |   LinkedIn

Martin Cronjé is a software engineering coach and consultant with more than 15 years experience.

In recent years he has spent most of his time mentoring and coaching software teams to improve their delivery efficiency, quality or overall excellence. He has also consulted to- and coached numerous development managers, CIO's en CEO's in companies with a heavy reliance on software systems.

Martin has worked mostly on enterprise projects where he focussed his efforts on high volume mission critical solutions in the Financial Services and Government sectors on projects that directly affected the South African Economy and Democracy. He has an immense passion for software engineering and focuses his energy on the delivery of fit for purpose solutions whilst spending every effort to teach and empower those around him.

Jacques de Vos

Entrepreneur   |   LinkedIn

Jacques de Vos is one of the founders at nReality Systems - a software products, training and coaching start-up. He is a passionate software engineer that, for the past 9 years, has played key technical and leadership roles in a number of enterprise software solutions in South Africa's financial and telecoms sectors. Whether it is creating new software products, leading enterprise development teams or providing consultation and training, Jacques has an all-round passion for building real solutions.


Sam Beckbessinger

Head of Think at Quirk   |   LinkedIn

Sam is the Head of Think at Quirk where she looks after the Strategy, Data and UX Research teams. She's led digital marketing strategies for brands like Miller Genuine Draft, DStv, Sun International, Liberty and Investec. In 2011, she was awarded the Adfocus New Broom award for young talent in the industry.

Sam's been with Quirk Johannesburg since they were a team of five (they're now a team of 100) so she knows all about the trials of growing a small business.

Sam talks and writes about technology, online behaviour and branding in a post-digital world. She co-hosts the ZA Tech Show, Africa's largest technology podcast, and The Brave, a podcast dedicated to exploring the work of innovators throughout the world. She's lectured extensively on brand strategy, integrated marketing communications and digital marketing, and is a course content developer for Vega.

In various other lives, she's a LARPer, reluctant activist, Linux-fan, zombie-devotee and fiction writer. She hangs out a lot on Twitter as @greenham_sam. She's not a big fan of either green eggs or ham.

Saul Kropman

Enterpreneur   |   LinkedIn

Saul is an enterpreneur of various different industries specialising in advertising and technology. He's also done a stint in publishing as a Product Manager and now helps train and recruit the best people for the booming digital agency market in South Africa.

Jaco van Wyk

Managing Director at SnapBill   |   LinkedIn

Jaco studied at the University of Pretoria in the fields of Computer Engineering and Multimedia. Born a risk taker and entrepreneur, he earned his experience through founding and managing several startups over the last decade.

Jaco currently heads up the development of SnapBill a flexible, cloud-based, billing system set to revolutionise the way individuals and SME’s handle invoicing, service provisioning and the collection of payments.

Julia Woods

EA to Michael Jordaan   |   LinkedIn

Julia Woods obtained her Bachelor of Business Science and Post Graduate Degree in Accounting at the University of Cape Town before returning to Johannesburg to complete her articles in Financial Services at KPMG. She spent four years specialising in financial derivatives and bank audit while also completing her Chartered Financial Analyst exams.

In 2008, she left South Africa for Sydney, Australia, to study a year-long course in music, theology and leadership. On returning back to South African shores, she was selected to join Rand Merchant Bank’s Class Of programme.

In 2012 she was invited to join First National Bank in the role of Executive Assistant to the CEO, Michael Jordaan. Julia resides in Johannesburg, pursues her hobby of music outside of work and enjoys good wine and the occasional triathlon.

Pierre Durand

Lean Leader for   |   LinkedIn

Pierre is the Founder and Chairman of the Lean Leadership Alliance, and currently consults on several hundred million Rands worth of projects for clients that range from small design and printing houses right through to the largest Telco’s.

He has extensive hands on experience in Organisational Change, Lean and Agile Toolset deployment, A3 Problem Solving, and Leadership Coaching. With the Experience gained over 7 years across European and South African industry he has the ability to assist with reduction of wastes in existing processes as well as reduce the concept to cash cycle time for new products and services.

Lucky enough to have learnt from some of the world’s best continuous Improvement and leadership coaches, Pierre’s favourite quote is “Those who say a thing cannot be done should get out of the way of those who are doing it” you can either find him on twitter @_Pierre_Durand_ or on the couch playing Skyrim.

Jason Hobbs

Entrepreneur, UX Evangelist and Founder - Human Experience Design   |   LinkedIn

Jason runs the consultancy Human Experience Design in Johannesburg. He's been practising design for the past 15 years and these days focuses on user experience and service design. His experience spans multinationals, enterprise, SME's, not-for-profit, government and arts and culture both here in SA, Europe and globally.

For the past 5 years he's been lecturing third-year design students in interaction design and design thinking at the University of Johannesburg. He also publishes his academic research through the University.

Jason is well known in the field internationally, frequently presenting at both academic and practitioner conferences around the world. His passion for design has lead him to foster the South African community around user experience design through the SA UX Forum (you can find it on Facebook) which he founded 7 years ago.

He also has a weakness for Burger King's double Whopper with cheese.

Media Sponsors
Justin Coetsee
Tyler Reed
Jarrod Hermer
Gert Louis van der Walt

Tech Bootcamp Agenda

by justincoetsee

SW Joburg has partnered with Qualcomm, Microsoft and BlackBerry to bring you a pre-Startup Weekend Tech Bootcamp. The Bootcamp will […]

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