Electra named winner of Australia’s first Techstars Startup Weekend for fashion entrepreneurs

[L-R, Philippe Ceulen, Rachel Burke, Electra team, Anna Rooke and Mark Gustowski]

Emerging fashion startup team Electra took home the title of Australia’s first Startup Weekend Fashion winner, following the conclusion of this weekend’s 54-hour marathon event, hosted by QUT Creative Enterprise Australia (CEA), in Brisbane.

Startup Weekend Fashion is a Techstars event, and part of this year’s Global Startup Weekend, which immerses people in an environment where they get the opportunity to learn what it is like to build a startup.

Electra was chosen from an outstanding calibre of pitches to be crowned Australia’s first Startup Weekend Fashion winner before an audience of fashion lovers and industry experts.

Brisbane based Electra produces innovative, sleek and modern jewellery that blends technology and fashion. They challenge the status quo by making products that are beautifully designed, self-expressive, fun and empowering.

Sarah Nelson, founder of Electra, said: “This recognition from QUT CEA and Techstars Startup Weekend validates our passion and enthusiasm, and gives us the confidence to take the next step with our business idea. The 54 hours provided a years worth of challenges and lessons. We learned about hope, overcoming fear, pushing the limits, doing what people say can’t be done, and most of all developed friendships that will last far beyond Startup Weekend.

“This weekend presented an amazing opportunity to develop our creative ideas, create prototype designs, build a team, with the support of world-class mentors and coaches. People who we would only ever dream of meeting.”

During Startup Weekend Fashion, participants had the opportunity to collaborate with like-minded individuals to explore an idea, build a simple prototype and apply lean thinking to solving problems in fashion. They receive coaching from entrepreneurial leaders and pitch their ideas to business minds and fashion experts such as QUT CEA Fashion360 Ambassador, Jonathan Ward, one of Australia’s leading fashion designers and former executive designer of R.M Williams.

The judging panel, which included Queensland fashion designer Rachel Burke and Anna Rooke, managing director of QUT CEA’s Creative Tech Ventures Fund, together with Jonathan Ward, were very impressed with the high standard of the pitches and the work of the teams but ultimately chose Electra.

Mr Ward said: “I have been inspired by the diverse creativity and the immense amount of work that everyone has put in over the weekend.

“Choosing a winner has been both challenging and rewarding given the diversity of talent. It was a close finish but ultimately it came down to dedication to creativity, excellent collaboration amongst the team members, and for the judges, the winners’ presentation and point of view translated really well.”

CEA CEO Mark Gustowski said: “Hosting and facilitating a Startup Weekend solely dedicated to the burgeoning fashion industry is an extension of our commitment to fostering this sector. Startup Weekend Fashion not only allows participants to collaborate and learn from one another but also receive valuable feedback from entrepreneurs and industry experts.

“At CEA, we now turn our attention to Fashion360, a six-month fashion accelerator held here in Brisbane. Applications are open until December 9 for those designers and entrepreneurs looking to advance ideas into a viable marketplace.”

For more information, visit: http://qutcea.com/swfashion/

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