Sync The City 2016: What to Expect

November 7, 19:27

Sync Norwich, UEA and Norfolk County Council have joined together with other local sponsors to make this a weekend to remember. You will meet new people, learn more about the tech scene in Norwich, and work in a team to create your own start-up.


Sync the City is a crash course in creating and validating a tech startup business idea. It’s like a mashup of an episode of The Apprentice followed by a Dragons Den Pitch.

This website has all the details, but we thought we would give people an idea of what to expect from the event. For a flavour of the event please see the videos, photos, and news/blog articles from previous years.

There are a lot of talented people in Norwich and the surrounding areas, and this event is a great opportunity to bring people from the private, public and education sectors together to see what can be achieved.

“A fantastic opportunity to get people together from all walks of life to help enhance the digital offering through entrepreneurial thinking available in Norfolk. Norwich in particular has a great future as a Tech City and Norfolk County Council were eager to support this event to help showcase our local talent. Not only support through sponsorship but actually taking part in the event with pitches made from Library representatives, the Economic Development Department and Transport Management” Michael Cousens, Economic Development Officer, Norfolk County Council.

The Pitch


One of our favourite parts of the event is the initial pitching. If you have a great idea, you have 60 seconds to persuade your fellow attendees to join your team. However, time is limited, so if you want to pitch please make sure that your idea is viable for a 54 hour start up, and that you have the vision and passion to see it through.

Anybody can take to the stage and pitch an idea, you also don’t have to pitch an idea to attend. We will have a timer to check everybody is sticking to the 1 minute.

Roughly, your pitch should follow this format, make sure you practice it, and then practice it again, and then some more! Also remember you are pitching with NO SLIDES.

  • 10 sec: Introduce yourself
  • 20 sec: Describe the problem you want to solve
  • 20 sec: Describe your solution (e.g. explain the product)
  • 10 sec: What do you need to be successful during the weekend? ( people, skills, tools, etc

For further pitch tips; Please read the Quora article What-makes-a-good-startup-weekend-1-minute-pitch. Especially read the first answer, which says that the pitch is not really a pitch, it’s about recruiting. If youtube “startup weekend pitches”, you can also see pitching in action.

If there are a lot of ideas, we will hold a quick vote for the best ideas. We will then form teams around the ideas with the most votes. Last year we had over 40 people pitching.

Forming your Team

After the pitches, there will be an informal social gathering in which people form teams around those ideas. This is an opportunity for people to meet and connect, with the goal to find a team or recruit a team. The event organisers and some mentors will be on hand to facilitate this process.

Form your team

Form your team

NB: It’s important to note that you must move quickly to form your team. Also, if you pitch, you must attend the whole event. Even if your idea isn’t selected.

When teams are formed, you have to come up with a team name and define areas of responsibilities (development, marketing, project management etc), along with a rough project plan. You can also agree who is the team leader (it does not have to be the person who pitched the idea).

By the end of the Thursday evening, you should be in a team and have developed your plan to build your 54 hour startup.

Startups Begin

“It’s shown the basics you need to start up a company. It is doable in a short time if you have the right idea!” Tom Brown, 3rd year Business Management student, Norwich Business School, UEA


As a guide, over the next two days, your team will be expected to complete these tasks within your startup.

  • Define your Value Proposition (what you are offering, what problems you are solving)
  • Design the brand and Product name
  • Build a Minimum Viable Product (prototype) which can be demo’d during the final presentation
  • Define your Business Model or method to measure success (it can be an idea for social good, charity, communities)
  • Perform some Market Research
  • Create a Launch Page
  • Prepare a pitch to the judges
  • Pitch, Demo and Win!

Friday is all about working on your idea and completing the tasks. There will be check points for teams to give status updates and to request help.

Startup Pitches

Saturday morning, you will continue working through the remaining tasks.


After lunch, you need to start preparing your final pitch! Again, mentors will be on hand to support you.

Practice makes perfect.

Saturday night are the final presentations. The panel of judges will pick their Sync The City winner. This team will walk away with the top prize of £3000 in cash.

£3,000 winners 2015 – Everyday Spaces – Making Churches Everyday Places

£3,000 winners 2015 – Everyday Spaces – Making Churches Everyday Places

The audience will vote for the “people’s choice”. This team will collect a £1000 cash prize. It can be possible for the same team to win both the judges and people’s choice prizes.

£1,000 winner 2015 – docdirect – Agentless NHS: Saving us £1,900 per minute

£1,000 winner 2015 – docdirect – Agentless NHS: Saving us £1,900 per minute

We really hope you enjoy the event. It’s about meeting and working with new people, it’s about testing out your ideas and discovering fast what works or doesn’t, and it’s about creating something new for fun or for profit!

Sync the City will be held at the King’s Centre, King Street in Norwich from 17-19 November.

Guidance on rules for the event

  • Full Attendance – In order to claim part of any prize, you must attend on all three days, and be signed in by 10:00 on the Friday and Saturday.
  • BYO – you must bring your own laptop and power cable. You can also bring a desktop PC if you want.
  • Ideas – Multiple teams can work on the same idea. One person can pitch more than one idea.
  • Write Your Code Here – The project you present must be coded entirely during the event. The only exceptions are for publicly available frameworks/APIs and open-source code. If it feels shady to use the code, don’t.
  • Code Audits – Finalists could have their code audited to make sure it’s all new and legit by a developer appointed by SyncNorwich. Your code belongs to you and we won’t share it with anyone, but we will want to see it if you win.
  • Track Your Code – Use Git or an equivalent to track your code as you write it. It’s good practice, and if it comes down to an audit, it’ll help you prove your code is new.
  • Build Something New And Great – This isn’t an opportunity to promote your team’s pre-existing product. Don’t tack one tiny feature onto your existing product and call it a day.
  • Team sizes – We’re limiting the number of members per team at 8-12.

Startup Conference

During the entire event the mentors will be giving a serious of hands-on workshops and talks which are tailored to the event.

Please check here for the full agenda on workshops. You don’t have to send your entire team to each workshop, rather select 1 or 2 people from your team to go and then return with their new found knowledge. It’s also a good opportunity to build relationships with mentors to see you through the event.

We look forward to welcoming you!

The Sync The City Team

John Fagan, Fiona Lettice, Sean Clark, Susi Waters, Julie Schofield, Paul Cutting