River City Labs launches its first Startup Weekend Brisbane Women hackathon

- September 23, 2015 2 MIN READ

Brisbane startup coworking community River City Labs has announced the launch of its first Startup Weekend event targeted to women, to be held this October.

The hackathon, which will take place across the weekend of October 9-11, aims to empower, foster, and mentor women-led startup companies in a collaborative environment and inspire them to take risks and develop innovative thinking.

Peta Ellis, general manager of River City Labs, said the space is excited to be launching its first event tailored to women.

“We are certainly not discouraging men’s involvement by any means; the overarching goal, however, is to empower women to have a go and to unleash their skills and ideas around design, development and creation in order to better facilitate their startup growth,” she said.

Ellis and fellow event organisers Jo Ucukalo and Emily Gilhome believe women have a unique and fresh take on design, development, and creation which is vital to the growth and evolution of startups.

“We know that the women of Brisbane are full of creative and entrepreneurial talent, and in a safe environment that inspires risk-taking and innovation we know they will create something amazing.”

The idea of a safe environment for female entrepreneurs and women in tech has been growing through global events and initiatives. For example, Canadian VC Vicki Saunders was inspired to launch SheEO, a female-focused funding initiative and incubator after her experiences as a mentor in traditional incubator and accelerator programs, where she said she often saw women uncomfortable with their ‘bro culture’ and activities tailored to male tastes.

However, Marina Paronetto, founder and CEO of Powerhousehq and facilitator of the October event, said that the Weekend will be a “win-win opportunity” for all involved, men or women.

“Not only does it help in building a bridge for those women who might not ordinarily feel comfortable partaking in a startup event, the startup community itself benefits as it’s been found that having women and men working together on a startup actually yields better results and higher chances of success,” she said.

Paronetto organised a Startup Weekend Melbourne Women hackathon in May last year.

Like any other Startup Weekend event, participants will pitch their ideas, join teams, design and launch a final product, and evaluate the strength and weaknesses of their startups with mentors.

Rene Chappel, strategy manager in Suncorp’s Corporate Shared Services division, has been announced as one of the event judges.

River City Labs last held a Startup Weekend event in June, which saw 200 people attend on its opening night.

Find out more about the Startup Weekend Brisbane Women event here.

Image: Participants in the Startup Weekend Brisbane event in June. Credit: Michael Tucker Productions.