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Silicon Lakes

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Nov 15
  • Doors open - registration starts
  • Dinner & Networking
  • Welcome & Speakers
  • Pitches Start
  • Attendees vote for the top ideas
  • Teams start forming and discussing ideas
  • 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


Nov 16
  • Doors open
  • Continental breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Team Check-ins
  • Mentors available 2pm-4pm
  • Mentors finish
  • Dinner
  • Finished for the day


Nov 17
  • Doors open
  • Continental Breakfast
  • Mentors available 10am-12pm
  • Mentors finish
  • Lunch
  • Time to finalise pitches
  • Dinner
  • Judging & awards
  • Wrapup
  • Go home! (Everyone is invited to the pub to unwind)
Premiere Sponsors
Gold Sponsors

Rick McElhinney

Judge (Business)   |   LinkedIn

As a civil/structural engineer, Rick moved from Australia to Canada in 1981. By 1985 he has formed his first technology company and relocated to the US. The company listed in 1987 and became known for providing technology to engineering companies.

Since returning to Australia, Rick has invested in and provided advisory services to a number of manufacturing and IT corporations. He was involved in establishing and has chaired Founders Forum Limited since its inception in 2000. The Founders Forum is a network of business angels who syndicate their efforts in assisting start-up companies through investment and mentoring. Rick is involved as an equity partner and maintains various levels of involvement in a number of Australian companies.

Ian Connor

Judge (Developer)   |   LinkedIn

After moving from Brisbane to Boston to work on Lotus Notes/Domino, Ian spent years learning how to build software and software teams the right way.

Working at Iris Associates and then for IBM showed him the spectrum of software development methodologies. After co-founding and selling Pubget in the publishing and medical library space, he is now a convert to TDD and lean startup methodologies. He likes to build a minimal viable product and give the business the ability to quickly iterate and find its footing.

In March Ian moved back to Brisbane and he’s building the technology team for Enthuse as their CTO.

Glenn Tozer

Judge (Government & Business)   |   LinkedIn

Glenn is the Councillor for Division 9 at City of Gold Coast and represents 35,000 residents of Mudgeeraba, Highland Park and the Hinterland at the City of Gold Coast.

Glenn is also the Chairman of one of the Gold Coast's fastest growing media organisations, community radio broadcaster Juice Media Ltd (Juice 107.3FM).

Previously, Glenn spent over a decade with companies such as Fairfax, Rydges Hotel Group, Sensis (Telstra) working with SME's and all levels of government on advertising and marketing campaigns, and event management.

Rick Anstey

Judge (Business)   |   LinkedInGoogle+

Rick has over 30 years' experience in the Information & Communications Technology industry, including 20 years of building and running his own companies.

With a career spanning 35 years and more than 28 years building and managing his own companies his specialities include: capital raising, corporate advisory, funds management, technology and innovation.

Silver Sponsors

Alistair Smith

Patent Attorney   |   LinkedIn

Alistair is qualified as a patent attorney in the UK, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. He specialises in the preparation and prosecution of patent applications in the areas of physics, computer software, business methods and electronic devices, including their application to the medical, biotechnology and cleantech areas.

Sonja Ceri

Social Media Marketing   |   LinkedIn

Sonja is part of a generation that can proudly call themselves digital natives. Holding a Master of Economic Geography from RWTH Aachen, Germany.

Sonja pursued a career as a professional journalist in Germany, working for the Chamber of Industry and Commerce as well as for newspapers and magazines.

As the Founder and Chief-Editor of the Media Bootcamp (a boutique media and communications firm), Sonja is working closely with and sponsored by local Gold Coast Councils, to educate and empower small business owners in their respective local community, to gain the media-based expertise they need for their own “skills security”.
Also, the competencies to reshape their organisations into more connected, savvy, 21st century enterprises.

Bryan Vadas

Crowd Funding & Business   |   LinkedIn

Bryan Vadas has been involved in international business for almost 20 years, consulting to multi-nationals like Vodafone, Del Computers and BHP right through to governments. His consultancy firm, Time Masters (Australia), operates around Australia and globally, primarily in project management and management consultancy, and is heavily involved in commercialization of startup ideas and companies.
Bryan has played a key role as advisor to many startups under both State and Federal government commercialization schemes and is regularly engaged by organizations in both the private and public sectors to provide mentoring and facilitate strategic planning.

His passion for small business and startups drove Bryan to start iPledg – Australia’s most broad based crowd funding platform. Whilst largely unheard of in Australia, crowd funding is the fastest growing form of ecommerce on the planet, assisting creative, commercial, charitable and community projects raise funds for their projects. Since its inception, iPledg has not only facilitated the funding of a wide range of projects, but has been white labeled around the world. Bryan has been a catalyst in bringing about change to federal legislation to allow equity crowd funding, having met with Commonwealth Treasury to initiate new thinking in this space.

His drive, energy, and enthusiasm for the startup space are infectious, as he continues to bring new thinking to conventional wisdom and push entrepreneurs to realize their dreams and potential.

Ian Connor

Developer   |   LinkedIn

After moving from Brisbane to Boston to work on Lotus Notes/Domino, Ian spent years learning how to build software and software teams the right way.

Working at Iris Associates and then for IBM showed him the spectrum of software development methodologies. After co-founding and selling Pubget in the publishing and medical library space, he is now a convert to TDD and lean startup methodologies. He likes to build a minimal viable product and give the business the ability to quickly iterate and find its footing.

In March Ian moved back to Brisbane and he’s building the technology team for Enthuse as their CTO.

Fiona Evans

Business   |   LinkedIn

Fiona works within SME’s to improve their efficiency and effectiveness. Through a structured approach to strategic planning, process development and marketing, she distils complexity into simplicity and delivers tangible results.

Fiona has over 20 years experience as a high performance executive. She commenced her career with PricewaterhouseCoopers and qualified as a chartered accountant. Fiona then gained post-graduate qualifications in marketing while working across the eastern seaboard of Australia and internationally as an ‘agent of change’. Fiona’s unusual blend of skills combined with her acumen in strategy, marketing, negotiation and finance are invaluable to any business. She has worked with iconic brands such as the Brisbane Lions, GE Capital Finance, Wunderman Cato Johnson and Queensland Rail. Her specialty is substance over hype. Her portfolio life includes directorships, community work and writing.

Danny Maher


Danny Maher has had over 20 years in the IT industry in executive, management, sales/marketing and technical roles.

Danny is a professional commercialiser of innovation and an executive level, multinational business leader in software development, internet technologies, data communications, network management, Software as a Service and Cloud Computing.

Danny has worked extensively at executive level throughout the Asia Pacific region as well as spending a number of years in senior positions in the USA and the UK. 8 of the organisations Danny has worked in at a full time capacity in the last 13 years have been acquired via trade sale (on average one every 20 months).

Brett McCallum


Brett McCallum is an Entrepreneur with over 20 years’ experience in IT working for some of the largest companies in the world. Brett owns and runs a number of businesses with offices in Australia, USA and London.

Brett is a successful Business Coach, Guest Speaker, Educator and High Profile Risk Taker Brett backs his ability across multiple fields. A specialist in Micro Economics and making money through new business Brett’s enthusiasm is contagious. With 7 Start-ups under his belt (5 wins and 2 losses) Brett is of the opinion if you are going to fail do it quickly and if you are going to succeed do it even faster.

Jonathan Worboys


Jonathan Worboys works with founders and business owners to develop strategies to achieve maximum impact in their market, and draws together expert teams and resources to support projects.

Using his sales expertise combined with his experience in co-founding and raising capital for businesses, Jonathan has learned to communicate the maximum potential of an idea or business to achieve buy-in at a premium from investors and the market place.

Applying his experience in engineering high yielding sales systems, Jonathan enables companies to increase their capacity to appeal to their market and stakeholder community, engineering the buy-in factors to attract clients, end users, and investors.

His work shows that you can take a raw idea and achieve buy-in from investors and development partners to create value and jump-start ideas into funded enterprises.

He is passionate about turning great ideas into thriving enterprises that can impact the world’s social, economic and environmental issues.

Lauren Edwards

Business Marketing

Lauren is a Brand Strategist and Marketing Specialist with over 25 years experience working within world leading advertising agencies, as a corporate brand manager and owner of her own agency.

Lauren is passionate about creating the extraordinary with astonishing people, especially start-ups and small business owners who dream BIG

At the Silicon Lakes development weekend Lauren will be outlining the importance of having a stand-out brand that means something. If you want to be successful in business, your brand needs to clearly communicate your essence. Lauren will share with you the 5 steps to having a brand that SINGS and provide attendees with a complimentary brand guidebook.

Steve Dalton


Steve Dalton is a Software Engineer, Entrepreneur, Maker & connector. In frustration at the lack of cohesive tech community on the Gold Coast he co-founded the Gold Coast TechSpace in 2011 based on the worldwide Hackerspace model.

Steve is a Silicon Lakes Ambassador, helping to connect the local developer community with the local startups. His expertise is in Tech Education, Software, Electronics & Robotics.

Greg Beaver


Greg is a start-up technology specialist with unique cross section of experience and a proven track record in strategic/business planning, investment readiness, accessing government grants, private equity, capital raising and international commercialisation.

He is currently the Principal of 20 20 Innovations and Investments, an advisory service dedicated to sponsoring the successful commercialising Australian innovation. He has been the co-founder of a number of start-ups and has mentored and supported many other early stage enterprises and has a wealth of experience along with all the well-earned battle scars and victory stories.

Andrew Leitch

Transformational Leadership / Creativity Coach   |   LinkedInGoogle+

As a leader, you may have tried many different things to bring yourself and your business, or organisation into balance. Workshops, conferences, team building and many other activities. Somehow there never seems to be a lasting balance between business, family and personal fulfilment, and you feel like you are back where you were before all that effort – feeling frustrated in one or another key area of your life. Balance seems so fleeting: and so you move to the next new thing.

Andrew works with leaders from all walks of life. From parents through to the CEO of a major company we are all leaders in our own right, and we are all searching for a more balanced way of being. Research is showing that the more balanced life we lead, the more productive we are. This may go against many old beliefs and ways of doing business, but many people are finding that this new way is in fact much easier, and a much more fulfilling way of operating. This new way of doing business requires one thing : a new level of presence. This means having a greater understanding of who you are, and what your fundamental beliefs are. This is a much deeper process than personality types, or trying to change our mental process, it gets to what is at the very core of your being and why you are in a place of leadership. At this core level of self lies all of your creative energy, and the ability to connect with others in a meaningful way. These two aspects, relationships and creativity, lie at the heart and are fundamental to any business.

Bill McKeague


I have a passion for startup tech business. So often we have great technical or application innovation and this fails to translate into new business within the Australian landscape.

Recently I have been the commercialisation manager at one of the University of Queensland's businesses that bridges 7 research centres in support of transferring new technology to the mining industry.

I have a broad background across mining, telecommunication and defense industries with roles that include commercialisation, business development, account management, and engineering technical roles in both product and service businesses.

As an engineer my career journey has lead me from technology stuff through systems and projects to building new businesses being the most challenging and satisfying undertaking.

Event Partners
Greg Burnett
Aaron Birkby
Sharon Hunneybell
Tanya Lipus
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