Sync the City – What to Expect

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.

The website has all the details, but we thought we would give people an idea of what to expect from the event.

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


Sync the City

The event really gets going when the 1-minute pitches start on the Thursday evening.  Anybody can take to the stage and pitch an idea.  We will have a timer to check everybody is sticking to the 1 minute. A single person can pitch more than 1 idea; likewise you don’t have to pitch an idea to attend.

Roughly, your pitch should follow this format, make sure you practice it, and then practice it again, and then some more!

  • 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.  Then 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 organisors and some mentors will be on hand to facilitate this process.

Sync the City

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.  Also, there will be presentations from all of the companies that are offering tools, APIs and data for teams to use during the event.

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

If you are keen, you can make a start!

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. Mentors will be officially available to support you after lunch.  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.

Saturday night are the final presentations. The panel of 5 judges will pick their Sync The City winner. This team will walk away with the top prize of £3000 in cash. 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 peoples choice prizes. Any team member pitching in the final can also enter their name into a prize draw to win £1000 worth of business support or consulting from Adapt+ for their existing business or startup.

Sync the City

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 20-22 November.

Participants will pay £25 to enter which will include food and refreshments throughout.

The event has been funded by HP, Norfolk County Council, NEMODE (New Economic Models in the Digital Economy), Rainbird, Adapt+ and the University of East Anglia.

To register

Anyone wishing to be part of a start-up team for the whole event, or interested in being an audience member on Saturday night only, can register and get tickets at  The website includes information about the agenda, judges and mentors, or contact the UEA Events team with any queries by emailing

Guidance on rules for the event

  • 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 and all teams must have at least 1 student member.
  • Full Attendance – Each day we will sign you in on your arrival.  If you want a slice of the prize money, it’s only fair that you fully participated!

Words: John Fagan & Fiona Lettice

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