Startup Weekend for Designers

At Startup Weekend, we have three ticket types: Developer, Designer, and General (marketing, business, non-technical). In reality, you’ll probably get stuck into a bit of everything during the weekend, but it’s important for us to know as organisers that there’s enough technical talent in the room to build a few killer teams that create kick-ass products that work well and look good.

Unfortunately, it’s a global problem at Startup Weekend that we struggle to recruit designers. Ideally the ratio would be 1/3 developers 1/3 designers 1/3 general. We tend to get about 1/2 developer and 1/2 general with a couple of designers thrown in at Startup Weekend Sheffield. This is a shame as when we do have a good number of designers, the event is always much better than when we don’t.

So here’s my call to action for designers to get involved in the next Startup Weekend Sheffield (20-22 November 2015). And here’s 10 reasons you should attend. Feel free to get in touch to add anything you think I might have missed!

1. Meet and make friends with awesome people who are creating and building stuff from scratch.

2. Get advice and valuable face-time with expert mentors who could help you in your career.

3. Take the opportunity to promote yourself as an awesome designer.

Do all of these things at Startup Weekend Sheffield.

4. Oh, and have fun. Lots of fun.

5. At Startup Weekend Sheffield, you won’t be forced into teams with people you don’t like to work on ideas you don’t have a passion for. You get to choose the project you work on and the people you work with. You can even pitch your own idea and build your own team.

6. At Startup Weekend, you’re not limited by client requirements. When it comes to the creative concept, you are the designer and you get to choose.

7. Turn your daily workflow process on its head and experiment with iterative design and Lean UX. You might find you love it.

8. Collaborate.

9. Create a visually stunning presentation that secures you and your team the coveted 1st place title.

There’s so much a designer can get out of attending a Startup Weekend, it would be wrong to try and fit it all into this blurb. So check out the website, register, and see for yourself.

10. And use the following code for 20% off Designer tickets: DESIGNSW

Next event

Date: 20-22 November 2015
Venue: Electric Works, Sheffield (next to the train station)
More info:
Twitter: @SWSheffield
Awesome slideshare I found:

Fantastic teamwork, barely any sleep, a whole load of laughs, farrrr too many sweets!

1782077_553144098117191_483121715_nI attended startup weekend in March and November of 2014.

Nervous to arrive, and slightly new to the networking and entrepreneurial scene in Sheffield, the pizza table and friendly faces talking excitedly around it, immediately helped me feel welcome. There was a real mix of students, alumni, and working professionals, so conversations were easy, and there was a lot to talk about with people from different backgrounds.

Then came the pitching. I think pretty much 95% of the room were scared to pitch initially, but this soon fell away as one-by-one, individuals started having fun with the pitches and the audience really warmed up to them. By the end of the session, pretty much everyone had pitched in an idea (even if it was just to join in the fun of it with a crazy idea!).

Selecting the top ideas, and picking teams was reasonable easy as I went for the team with a fun but practical idea (the Gyrocup) and a team of uni students, grads, and 2 working professionals (so a nice mix). This then resulted in some fantastic teamwork, barely any sleep, a whole load of laughs, farrrr too many sweets (brought down by one member of the team in a binbag from Cadburys factory!), and an obscene amount of coffee and Redbull. But trust me, this is part of the fun of startup weekend…I mean, if you actually go home and sleep for more than 5-6 hours a night that weekend, you’re probably not getting the full experience! You WANT to be there working your socks off for your team, and you WANT to be in on the fun!


We came second overall in the awards, but the Gyrocup is still well known within the startup weekend Sheffield community to this day.


Since Startup weekend, I have started a business full-time after graduating, ran another business for a short while with a cofounder from startup weekend, and made a genuine friend who is also starting her own business as a result.

Connect with Natalie on LinkedIn

Register for the next Startup Weekend Sheffield


Stop Talking, Start Doing

How winning Start Weekend empowered me to co-organise the craziest Train Hackathon in Europe


What have I actually built?

I am Sally, 22, a Chinese girl who has always wanted to start her own business. With a background in linguistics and social psychology, I love to observe problems in life and try to solve them in the smartest way. One thing that I have learnt about how to start up is to ‘start fast, learn fast, and fail fast’. I started joining business competitions, playing around with theories and creating pitch decks.  In the process, I faced challenges like co-founder problems, cultural barriers and technical difficulties. All these experiences are still invaluable to me, but something seems to be missing.

What can you do in 54 hours?

You can go hiking, camping, to an outdoor concert or to the beach for a break. But how about building an actual workable prototype? From generating ideas and forming teams all the ways to innovating business model, building a working prototype and pitching it in front of judges and investors? Is it possible for someone with zero experience like you?

The answer is YES!

What have I done during Startup Weekend Sheffield?


I formed a team with these awesome people: Elizabeth, the NHS insider and innovator; Pete, the magical developer; Nima, the entrepreneurial doctor; Laury, the genius PhD in Physics; Hidayah, the developer ninja and Jamil, the all-rounded engineer.

We instantly clicked with each other, identified the problem of missed doctor appointment, and decided to work on Appointment Dr, an interactive SMS system for patients to book, cancel, rebook and swap appointments. We managed to perform customer validation, reaching out to general practitioners (GPs) , patients, and department heads of hospitals.

The most exciting thing was that our idea had been pivoting from the first hour till the end. Now you can imagine that we have 54 hours of heaven and hell – you kept on shaping your business with the most talented people who you could imagine in all kinds of ways. There was a moment that we started to shout at each other and could not bare to breathe in the same room with each other’s presence; but eventually, we got back together and worked towards a common goal: building the product. As expected, we actually built a long-lasting camaraderie and friendship.

What happened after winning SW Sheffield?

In the end, we were lucky to win the first prize at Startup Weekend Sheffield. We didn’t carry on with the project after identifying with a thorough market research. Yet, this experience has opened my eyes and empowered me with a seemingly impossible confidence – you can co-create anything in 54 hours, with the right people and right approach.

During the event, I met River, an all-rounded techie entrepreneur and we talked about co-organising a hackathon on a moving train. So here we are now, running our SECOND crazy hackathon on a moving train, travelling at 200km/h. This time, the Department of Transport and the rail industry is providing full support for  making the greatness happen. I have fallen in love with giving back and empowering more people like myself; and have also co-organised a variety of hackathon and SWs, such as Ameehacks and Macau Startup Weekend.


The 54 hours has changed my life. And my life at the moment is dedicated to creating life changing 54-hours for those who embrace innovation and make amazing things happen.

I believe that when a cool idea becomes a real life innovation, it will benefit millions of people whom you might never meet in your life.

Stop talking? Start doing?


There’re loads of ideas popping out. There’re loads of problems waiting to be solved. Have you taken any actions other than just putting it down on your Eureka notebook?

Go to a Startup Weekend or hackathon! Form a team with random talented people and build it over the weekend! I guarantee you that the 54 hours is definitely gonna be AMAZING!!

Sally is now a marketing associate for Hack Partners, the co-organiser of the legendary Hacktrain. She is also doing a MSc at Imperial College London and founded Startground, an invite-only community connecting quality start-ups to Investment in China.

Global Startup Battle Tracks and Prizes


Startup Weekend Sheffield
November 20th, 2015


Startup Weekend Sheffield is one of over 250 Startup Weekend events taking place around the world during Global Entrepreneurship Week and what better way to celebrate than with a Global Startup Battle? I can’t think of one!

Prizes this year include:

  • All expenses paid conference trips
  • Startup resources and tools
  • Free workspace at top coworking spaces around the world
  • Mentorship from top tech companies
  • Founder trip to Seattle

More to be announced. Keep track of prizes.

Previous Sheffield successes for Global Startup Battle include: Goodvidio (final stage in the Innovation Track) and Airstoc (semi-final stage in the Champions’ Track). That was back in November 2013 and in the last 18 months, they’ve raised almost £1m between the two companies. Could that be you in a year’s time? Only one way to find out!
Register for Startup Weekend Sheffield

You can’t enter Global Startup Battle without first attending one of the GSB Startup Weekend events taking place in November (unless you participate in the all new Open Track — more details coming soon), but due to the many tracks available, you don’t even have to win to get involved. You can attend in whichever city you like… Sheffield will be the best of course. Only kidding. But not really.

So, check out some of the tracks you could enter and the criteria for entry:
Champions’ Track
Great in the Making
The Innovators
Disruptors and Big Ideas

More to follow. Keep track of the tracks.

You gotta be in it to win it! Get your Startup Weekend Sheffield ticket now!


Just do it! Develop that warrior spirit.

Attending the StartUP weekend (SW) competition in November 2014 was the most useful and eye-opening experience I had as an undergraduate.

I had recently completed my placement year in Brussels working for an EU public affairs consultancy. While the job was a great experience, and living in the EU capital certainly had its advantages (gauffres and frites in particular), I realised it was not for me.

I wanted to have a go at developing my own business idea, or at least I wanted to learn more about what the process entailed, before deciding to apply for a conventional graduate scheme.

Suddenly a new appetite for entrepreneurship had opened up for me and although I hadn’t fully engaged with the University of Sheffield Enterprise beyond my role as a Social Innovation intern in second year, I had now realised the immense value it held and what it could teach me about the process I had become so passionate about.

I was sat in the Politics Department when I received Sam’s email. Written in its characteristic warm and friendly style, it instantly hooked me. I saw it as a sign to finally take a leap of faith and pursue the business idea I had come up with in Brussels. The price deterred me at first, but then I saw it as an investment in my education, and it most certainly generated great returns.

Here are a few of reasons why:

The People

Having fun at Startup Weekend!

The people I met during SW are the most important element of the event. There was a contagious positive energy in the room which made me realise that building a business can be fun and that the people I surround myself with can genuinely help me come up with better ideas (on a side note, I do believe it was the impromptu dancing session at 7 pm on the Saturday that allowed us to be natural, friendly and open).

More specifically, the process of creating a teamaround the idea I pitched was incredible. Since I had only met them that Friday night, it was challenging to align our views and build something together. We talked, ate, agreed, ate, disagreed and then ate some more, until we finally reached a group resolution and transformed the original idea into something different but exciting. Even though we didn’t win, we all felt a huge sense of accomplishment and pride for what we had achieved in just over 30 hours.

The Business Knowledge

You may be aware that the world of start ups contains one too many acronyms and business jargon which for someone like me who studied Politics and International Relations was not easily accessible. During SW I learned what many of those terms meant, i.e. USP, MVP, ROI, lean canvas, customer validation, pivoting etc, and the next time I heard them I felt really smug and cool as I knew what they meant.

The Collaborative Edge

Even though this was a competition that could have potentially led the teams to becoming the ultimate GLOBAL winner, people still managed to find the time to offer their skills to the wider group. For instance, graphic designers helped marketing folks in other teams, or web developers chipped in when others got stuck. Also, the coaches available on Saturday were extremely helpful in overcoming obstacles and thinking creatively about problems. Overall, this easily accessible pool of support created a friendly and warm environment throughout the competition.

The Pitch & The Final Presentation

Giving the final presentationThese two moments were a personal challenge. On the Friday night I decided to pitch and this was huge because I am quite a nervous public speaker. Yet, after successfully delivering the speech and passing that hurdle, I felt so much more confident and thought that if all else failed, at least I had pitched and got over the initial nerves in front of so many people. Also, on the last evening, I helped deliver the final presentation to the judges. I spoke clearly, overcame my nerves and kept within the time limits, and this made all the difference to my public speaking skills (which are thankfully getting better…)

The Aftermath

As I said, our team did not win any of the three places, however this didn’t stop me for pursuing my dreams, furthering my interest in entrepreneurship and connecting with like-minded people.

First, SW brought some really awesome people in my life who I am happy to have bounced ideas off, shared ups and downs with and get business and life advice from.

Second, it was because of SW that I worked with a client around the original idea I pitched and gained more insight into the challenges and opportunities of the process.

Third, it was after SW that I actively started searching for job opportunities and programmes related to entrepreneurship, which led me to where I am today: a member of the New Entrepreneurs Foundation (NEF) 2016 cohort and the Operations Manager of a Soho-based healthcare startup.

I applied for NEF after SW and 11 months later here I am tackling this massive journey of becoming an entrepreneur. I have used SW to illustrate a wide range of examples, skills and knowledge in my interviews, and I genuinely believe I wouldn’t be on the NEF programme having not shown some serious grit and passion during that cold weekend in November.

At the end of the day, for me attending SW was all about putting myself in really new, sometimes really uncomfortable but mostly really awesome situations, where I learned new things about myself and the world.

I strongly believe that we live in a world that belongs to learners, achievers and creative thinkers, people who can really show grit, passion and determination to make bold things happen.

SW Sheffield was a fantastic first opportunity for me to develop that warrior spirit.

Now it’s your turn. Whatever the outcome is, it holds no risk. Just opportunity.

Just do it, I know you will have an excellent time. Who knows, you might also change your life in the process and be part of that next big idea.

Perpetual peace,


Any questions you may have, don’t hesitate to give me a shout. I’m always up for connecting with interesting people. Here’s where you can find me:

TWITTER    @mihagruia

Get involved in the next Startup Weekend Sheffield!

I found myself immersed in 48 hours of collaboration and positivity

OverHear Winning Team
That’s me, 3rd from the left!

I first attended Startup Weekend in November 2014, following a suggestion from a friend and previous winner. As an enthusiastic computer science student I had attended numerous hackathons in the past and was immediately struck by the difference in atmosphere. In contrast the highly competitive, 24 hour, energy drink fuelled coding binges I was so used to I found myself immersed in 48 hours of collaboration and positivity.

Startup Weekend attracts a diverse crowd of individuals from a large range of backgrounds, and by the speed at which ideas progressed the advantages of this diversity quickly became apparent. Being from a largely technical background I had little experience of concept validation or customer interaction but the amount I was able to learn about these topics with the help of my teammates was immense.

However, Startup Weekend has proven to be more than just a learning experience for me. I was used to developing software to solve problems that were of interest to me, but following the weekend I had gained insight into how I could apply my skills to produce something meaningful. This inspired me to attend my second Startup Weekend in June 2015 that my team and I won.

Perhaps the best aspect of the weekend is that winning is only one of many indications of success.

Interaction with the coaches as well as the public had not only provided the basis for significant improvement in the concept, but had inspired in us confidence of the real world value in what we had developed.

Events following the weekend moved quickly, and through the contacts we had obtained over the course of the weekend we found ourselves negotiating for the opportunity to be the official provider of mobile applications for Tramlines festival. This provided an entirely different experience, actively seeking out opportunity for our fledgling business. We were successful and over the course of 3 weeks in the run up to the festival we produced mobile applications for iOS and Android that were downloaded almost 3000 times. The enthusiasm we had from our experience at Startup Weekend was vital as we had to dedicate many sleepless nights to development, but the sense of achievement that resulted was incredible.

I think what I managed to achieve in the 3 weeks from the start of Startup Weekend to the start of Tramlines with a team of people I had never met before really is a good example of what the weekend and entrepreneurship generally is about. Working with people you’ve never met before is a very effective way of developing ideas and products to solve problems for people you have never met, and I can’t recommend it enough.

My two Startup Weekends have given me opportunities that would not have otherwise arisen, useful contacts and through my experience following the event an invaluable demonstration of how I can apply my skills (something I have exploited fully whilst applying for graduate schemes). Whether you are at university or not, if you have an interest in gaining experience and progressing your abilities whilst trying to improve the world around you, Startup Weekend is certainly one of the best and most enjoyable ways to get started.


Sponsor Startup Weekend Sheffield






Interested in Sponsoring Startup Weekend Sheffield for Global Startup Battle 2015?

Our November event falls during Global Entrepreneurship Week and will be our seventh Startup Weekend in Sheffield. This year, we’re moving venue to The Electric Works in the city centre just a stone’s throw away from the train station and we’re increasing our capacity to 75.

Startup Weekend is aimed at developers, designers, marketers, entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs. They are people who love to create and build. They are people who make things happen.

We also engage external support providers in the form of coaches, judges and speakers. Their job titles usually include things like Serial Entrepreneur, Digital Strategist, Investor, Software Engineer, and UX/UI Designer among others.

This is an opportunity for you to reach and meet passionate entrepreneurs who are either actively working in or on a startup, who are thinking of starting a new business or who have a strong interest in startups and the startup ecosystem. The potential reach is particularly large for this event as it ties into Global Startup Battle.

Global Startup Battle is:

  • The biggest startup competition in the universe
  • More than 250 events and programs over 10 days
  • Where over 30,000 entrepreneurs from over 100 countries rally together in the name of innovation and community each year
  • Recognized as a premier Global Entrepreneurship Week event
  • A life changing event with a legacy of high performing, long lasting teams emerging

A look back at 2014:

  • 236 events in 83 countries
  • 1.5 million hours of work on innovations, companies, and technology
  • 1.425 million tweets in 10 days
  • 1.3 billion eyeballs
  • 1,000 video entries and over 321,000 votes
  • 3,200 new startup teams

2014 Infographic

Earlier this year, we successfully crowdfunded Startup Weekend:Music and Literature in Sheffield, raising £3000 from over 70 backers, including members of the startup community, previous attendees and local and national companies.

Get in touch with Samantha (@SamanthaJDeakin) if you are interested in sponsoring the next Startup Weekend.

Current sponsors include: TechNorth, The University of Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam University, and Electric Works. See full list.

Packages available:

Silver (Meal) – £500 (7 available)
Sponsor either all breakfasts, all coffee, or an individual lunch or dinner meal.

  • Company name/logo listed on the website
  • Public thanks sent out on Twitter/FB and in the wrap-up email
  • Thank you & recognition during the meal you sponsor
  • Thank you during the facilitator presentation sessions on Friday and Sunday
  • Opportunity to display a sign on the food table
  • Hand out materials, swag, and/or other related materials (perfect for companies looking to advertise their job vacancies)
  • 2 free tickets to Startup Weekend Sheffield (November event)
  • Invitation to the presentation evening on Sunday

 Gold – £750 (3 available)

  • Identified in all media materials for Startup Weekend Sheffield
  • Company name/logo listed on website 
  • Public thanks sent out on Twitter/FB and in the wrap-up email
  • Thank you during the facilitator presentation sessions on Friday and Sunday
  • Opportunity to place a banner stand at the event
  • Hand out materials, swag and/or other related materials
  • 3 free tickets to Startup Weekend Sheffield (November event)
  • Invitation to the presentation evening on Sunday

Platinum – £1000 (2 1 available)

  • Custom survey of the Sheffield Startup Weekend community
  • Invitation for a guest blog post on the website 
  • Offer a prize to an individual via raffle/vote. (e.g. iPhone, netbook, software)
  • All benefits of Gold Sponsorship

Premier  – £2000 (1 available)

  • Invitation to address the attendees for 3 minutes
  • Invited to set up a booth for your product/service during the event
  • All benefits of Platinum Sponsorship

Want to reach out but don’t see the perfect package for you? Get in touch and we’ll create something from scratch.

Get in touch with Samantha (@SamanthaJDeakin) if you are interested in sponsoring the next Startup Weekend.

Next Startup Weekend set to be 'Electric'

helter skelter

Startup Weekend Sheffield
November 20th, 2015

Guess what! The next Startup Weekend Sheffield is just around the corner and we have a couple of awesome announcements to make. Here goes…

  1. Ticket prices set at just £35!
    That’s right, this isn’t just the Early Bird rate. This is the only rate going. Due to us raising sponsorship early this year, we’re able to offer tickets at this extremely discounted price. That’s a fantastic weekend-long event with seven meals, access to expert coaches and mentors, the chance to win great prizes and entry into the Global Startup Battle for just £35. Bargain by anyone’s standards.
    Get your £35 ticket now!
  2. Global Startup Battle bigger and better than ever!
    Did someone say Global Startup Battle? Yup. Over 250 Startup Weekends will be taking place during Global Entrepreneurship Week and the best teams from each of these events will get the opportunity to battle each other on a Global Stage for the chance to win awesome prizes. These are yet to be announced but previous prizes have included free trips to Silicon Valley, New York, mentoring from Google and more…
    Check out this year’s Global Startup Battle cities
  3. Startup Weekend set to be ‘Electric’ in November
    For the first time ever, we’re moving out of the Enterprise Zone and into the Electric Works for the entire weekend. As well as just being a really cool, creative environment to hang out and work in for 54 hours, it is THE place to be for creative and digital companies in Sheffield… and it has a helter skelter. And yes, we’ve organised it so you can have a go :p
    Check out the Electric Works and its indoor helter skelter

So what are you waiting for. There’s just three huge reasons to register for the next Startup Weekend Sheffield and that’s before we even get to the fantastic coaches, judges and speakers we’re lining up for you.

Get your ticket now and join the Startup Weekend Sheffield community

Full event info

Sheffield Startup, Airstoc, is hiring!

airstockStartup Weekend alumni startup, Airstoc, is hiring their first full time employee. They’re after a Software Engineer, preferably somebody who has been through a Startup Weekend or similar event. The new hire will start this September!

We’re pretty excited about this. This is the first startup to come out of Startup Weekend Sheffield that has gone on to create jobs within the digital sector in Sheffield, and that makes us feel all warm and fuzzy 🙂

I am personally excited about this because I know Giles, Andre and Manu pretty well now and I know how much blood, sweat and tears has gone into building Airstoc into the company it is today. The first hire of a startup is a real landmark. You could be that first hire!

Download job description: Software Engineer

Good luck. And here’s hoping we’ll be posting a few more of these in the next few months.

UPDATE: Wait, hold the phone! Here are a couple more. Tempted to apply for the Digital Media Executive myself :p Nah, I’ll let you go for it…

Sales Manager
Media Executive

Drum roll please… [#SWMusicLit WINNER ANNOUNCE!]

Startup Weekend: Music & Literature (Sheffield, UK)
June 26-28th, 2015

What. A. Weekend.

I knew after the first few minutes on Friday evening that this event was going to be something special. Startup Weekend always attracts the most interesting, creative and genuinely lovely people. And this event was no exception. I thoroughly enjoyed the company of every single one of the 27 attendees, 7 coaches, 5 judges, 3 organisers and 6 volunteers. Absolute stars, every one of you.

Team leaders rushing to write on the flipchart for Half Baked
Such energy in the room right from the beginning!

If you’ve been following along on the hashtag, you may have already ‘OverHear’d (hehe) who the winners are. But if not… here’s the Leaderboard.


Over Hear
A website which simplifies finding and attending gigs and music events



Over Hear
A website which simplifies finding and attending gigs and music events



All you can eat audiobook streaming



Compare the Market for sheet music



All you can eat audiobook streaming



All three of these teams had solid presentations, got out of the building and spoke to their potential customers and users and built something workable that people would not only want, but would pay for. They offer real value propositions that solve real problems and meet real needs in the music and literature industries.

Pretty happy OverHear
Pretty happy OverHear with Oliver Higgins (center) and Ian (far left) from Santander Universities, our Partner for the event.

Some have mightier mountains to climb than others. Bookify would essentially be taking on Audible (Amazon) and OverHear would be taking on the likes of EventBrite and Skiddle. But you have to admire the tenaciousness and audacity. A refreshing can-do attitude from some amazing teams.

Other ideas pitched included…

An App feature which makes your playlist continuously evolve.
A scannable wallpaper to ‘taste’ and buy books
Research Path: A platform for efficient and organized research paper writing






This group more than almost any Startup Weekend cohort I can remember was more than up for all the silliness I had in store for them, really getting into the fun and energetic spirit of Startup Weekend. And here are the photos to prove it.

Click the image to see entire album
Click the image to see entire album
 We hope you can join us next time. Until November everybody!