The wheels on the Startup Bus are rolling on towards South by Southwest (SXSW) 2011

As a bit of a tech enthusiast, I'm always interested to hear about the latest news from the trade show and conference circuit over in the US.  And there always seems to be a new idea, company or gadget launched at one of these things!

It's not just US entrepreneurs that make the trip down to this Texan Mecca of Tech - the festival is now a global mix of gadget-laden, entrepreneurial goodness all blogging, tweeting and sharing their ideas.

Enter StartupBus.com, a business dreamed up by Australian entrepreneur Elias Bizannes who was facing a 48 hour trip down from San Francisco for last year's SXSW.

He decided to hire a bus, grab some coders and entrepreneurs, break them into groups and see if it was possible to create a viable business and launch it in while on the road. It worked and the Startup Bus was born.

Last year's winners were DateBrowsr, a resource that ranks online dating profiles through a user grading and DormDorm - the Hotels.com for dorm rooms. Both winners got interest from Austin-based incubator The Capital Factory. Now StartupBus.com lists Microsoft and AT&T among its sponsors.

This year, there's a fleet of six, high-tech omnibuses setting out from five different cities all in competition to see who can think of the best idea before Austin.

The 'buspreneurs' as they came to be called are already on their way - and a winner hasn't emerged yet, but the teams are already hard at work putting their start ups together. Just from checking out the list, there could be a few good ones in there.

TripMedi anyone? - For medical advice on the move. Or how about WhaIMiss - described as "Spark Notes for pop culture".

All the action from the various buses, their progress and even their stocks can be tracked and monitored on Startupbus.com. The teams are constantly tweeting their updates from the road using the #startupbus hashtag.

"StartupBus isn't just about putting people on a bus and having them launch businesses: that's the excuse," Bizannes posts on the company's blog. "The real driver behind the concept was to get people working together so they can form an alumni network and develop some raw experience together, that in turn makes them more likely to succeed with their future entrepreneurial ventures."

It's just proof that good ideas come can come from anywhere. So next time you're staring down the barrel of that 2 ½ hour train journey from London to Liverpool - set yourself a challenge to come up with a start-up idea and a way to make money from it. Then drop us a tweet and tell us about it!

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