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Northlander Larissa Matheson found the Auckland Startup Weekend (June 15 – 17) so inspiring, she got herself down to the Wellington version (July 27 – 29).

Considering that two days before the Auckland event she’d never heard of the entrepreneur/business building competition, she obviously enjoyed the experience.

That may’ve been because she was, and still is, part of the Queen City’s winning team – SmileToday (Larissa's on the left of the photo). (SmileToday is a social entrepreneurship model where you not only donate money, you also donate a smile. The charity then gets to use the smiles however they like, but you also receive a smile in return).

But Matheson also wanted to have another go in Wellington at pitching her own idea around helping people practice their job interview skills.

The pitch was one of ten in Wellington that were successful, and NervesFree was born and developed as a modified concept. Under this model, jobseekers upload a video simulation of an interview, and through crowdsourcing, career professionals can provide feedback.

Jobseekers will pay for this service and feedback, and in turn the video advisors will be paid.

NervesFree attracted the all-important web developer, Paul Sinclair and designer/brander Mui Leng Goh to the team, complementing Matheson’s business development skills.

Matheson, who lives in Whangarei, says it was great to be in a room of “can do” people.

“It is really a unique experience, quite uplifting,” says the entrepreneur, who is also a mother to threeyoung children.

“I’ll probably go to another Startup, and next time wouldn’t mind trying to be on the other side [organsing, advising].”

This includes possibly trying to attract such a weekend to Whangarei.

“There’s probably a lot of like-minded people, who like being around positive and energetic sorts – but just don’t get the opportunity because of their location,” Matheson says. “It could be really good for the economy up there too. I think I’ll take it to the local Chamber of Commerce.”

Startup junkie looking to bring weekend experience to Northland

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