Business start-up event shows ‘you’re never too old’ to try something new

Ronald Ragen met Alexandra Diethelm and Jennifer Steingraeber on Friday.  By Sunday, they had held Marlborough's first Startup Weekend, impressing Judge Stephanie Benseman, right, in the process.


Ronald Ragen met Alexandra Diethelm and Jennifer Steingraeber on Friday. By Sunday, they’d held Marlborough’s first Startup Weekend, impressing Decide Stephanie Benseman, proper, within the course of.

A “strain cooker” competitors, a cross between The Apprentice and Dragon’s Den, has uncovered entrepreneurial expertise in Marlborough, and he is 80 years outdated.

Ronald Ragen signed up for Marlborough’s first Startup Weekend final weekend seeking to attempt one thing “completely totally different”.

Ragen was paired with fellow rivals Alexandra Diethelm and Jennifer Steingraeber, and collectively they labored on a enterprise thought referred to as “Canine Alone,” a one-stop store for vacationers who wish to discover dog-friendly locations in New Zealand.

Ragen described the 54-hour competitors, from Friday’s assembly to Sunday’s look earlier than the judges, as a “problem.” However that is what attracted the enterprise proprietor to IT within the first place.

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“It was getting out of myself, trying on the world and dealing on a completely totally different expertise with full strangers and beneath a variety of strain.

“In order that was the draw for me, and it is a kind of issues, you are by no means too outdated to do it.”

“Canine Alone” took the highest prize on Sunday, an added deal with after Ragen celebrated his eightieth birthday on Saturday evening with the remainder of the contestants, 35 in all.

“The good factor about all that is that it generated group.

“We weren’t working in competitors with one another despite the fact that we have been totally different folks engaged on totally different ideas.

“There was a way of group, amongst a complete group.”

“Spray Hub”, an app for vintners, took second place.


“Spray Hub”, an app for vintners, took second place.

Eight groups met on Friday evening. Second place, on the finish, went to an app for vintners to assist them arrange their workloads. Third place went to a teen card recreation.

“One concern I had was whether or not I might have the bodily and psychological stamina to work in these circumstances, as a result of it was packed, and I actually imply continuous,” Ragen stated.

“[But] It was so thrilling that it might have gone on longer. That stated, for [the end]I used to be completely exhausted.

“By way of the achievement, it was spectacular. The entire course of was revealing. It opened up issues within me that I wasn’t conscious of, like the flexibility to see challenges and alternatives and make them actual,” Ragen stated.

Tourism specialist Alexandra Diethelm, 37, who got here from Auckland for the occasion, cherished working along with her crew.

“We had some heated discussions, however they have been extraordinarily productive and invaluable.

“All of us get alongside very well, we pay attention to one another’s recommendations in addition to mentors, and we take the very best a part of every suggestion to create Canine Alongside.

“Though we did not comply with my authentic thought, I really feel like we created one thing over the course of 54 hours that may have an actual future as a viable enterprise.”

The team behind


The crew behind “Why,” an academic card recreation for teenagers, got here in third place.

Startup Weekend Marlborough venture supervisor Tracey Inexperienced stated she was impressed by the “huge transformation” enterprise concepts went by means of from Friday to Sunday.

Inexperienced thought that fifty% of them might proceed as actual companies.

“However we’ve to let the mud settle, a few of them will most likely nonetheless discuss it.

“We hope to see some converts, however the actuality of those occasions [is]lower than 1% change into companies.”

The Startup Weekend idea started in america 15 years in the past. The Marlborough occasion was organized by Enterprise Belief Marlborough and Marlborough District Council. One other begin weekend, at Marlborough, was within the works for July subsequent yr.

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