What a roller coaster ride it has been! In December 2016, 35 of NZ’s young entrepreneurs from around the country descended on AUT’s city campus, about to start work building their entrepreneurial ventures at Colab. Little did they know about the ride they were going to take and friendship that were about to be forged within the Venture Up family.
With a shorter week due to Waitangi weekend, the teams surged ahead with a sense of urgency as the final pitch showcase was only 2 days away! A Lightning Lab alumni, Angie Judge of Dexibit, joined in and shared what pitching was to her, the experiences of what it was like to pitch for investment, and practical steps that our Venture Up participants could do to get them into the right mindset. If all else fail, remember the step rule of where you are, and where you want to be…
The afternoon had a group of very special Venture Up alumni consisting of Lila Alexander, Emily Tasker & Steph Benseman – all from the inaugural 2015 cohort. The participants learnt about who they were, what ventures they worked on, how they found going through an accelerator programme and what they are working on now. It was fitting to see the engagement levels from the students as they prepared to answer tough questions around their ventures moving forward.
Perhaps for the first time ever, the work space was opened later that night for participants to work through and make sure they caught up on areas they were falling behind and it was safe to say that most stay back to seize the opportunity. Pitching and pitch practice was a feature throughout the last week lead by Creative HQ’s Nick Churchouse, which paid huge dividends in the lead up to the showcase night.
A short field trip the following day over to The Aviary, a co-working space for designers and cool folk wanting to make cool stuff happen took place with all teams getting up and pitching in front of the team at Pitch Studios. This was a great way to get up and practice practice practice which the teams found incredibly useful.
Alas, the day finally came with the specialist one woman army Katy Mclean, events manager of Creative HQ helping manage the day from start till end – eternally grateful for the contributions on a well run event. 7 teams got up to pitch with 7 success stories and 1 amazing night filled to capacity as over 150 people from sponsors & stakeholders to friends and family joined together to see what has taken their sons/ daughters away from them & where their funds & resources have gone.
The final day had the students check out of Wellesley Student Apartments – their apartment they made a home over 6 weeks ago to end the programme with one final retrospective at the work space. A day where they could relax, acknowledge how far they have come in such a short amount of time, gain closure on what an amazing experience it has been, and figure out the next steps moving forward to take – especially with different team members heading off on different paths of life.
That is all from us here for now from the team at Venture Up! I hope you have enjoyed the journey thus far with our participants and have found value throughout the programme. This is only the beginning for our 2017 cohort and I cannot wait to see the amazing things they will achieve in the future!