Alumni: Araina Pereira

Araina Pereira went through venture up 2017, aka the Auckland edition of our leading entrepreneurship programme for NZ’s young leaders. During her time at VU in Auckland, she worked on a validating a business idea called Tohu, a series of fully immersive workshops for highschool-leavers, concentrated on teaching basic life skills necessary to survive on their own.

Almost two years on, we caught up with Araina to hear what’s happening in her world and find out what impact Venture Up has made on her life today.


What were the top things you took away from the Venture Up 2017 programme?

  • A lot that can be achieved in 24 hrs when you know how to use your time wisely
  • To be successful, keep growing. Personally, I feel I grow most when I put myself in positions that require me to be teachable and stretch me – somewhere that makes me a bit uncomfortable and challenges what I know.
  • When networking, it’s important to look at how you add value as well as the value that you are looking to gain.

What has been your biggest achievement since Venture Up, personal or otherwise?

On the personal side, being able to juggle university papers with multiple tertiary providers as well as staying connected with the startup ecosystem has been something I’m really proud of. In a way, being able to juggle academic growth alongside doing what I love has been a big blessing but also stretched my capacity immensely.

Professionally, there are a couple:

  • Writing and publishing pieces around business and innovation for organisations such as the US Embassy, Idealog, Tearaway and different startups
  • Becoming a youth counsellor for the US Embassy, and a trustee for the Maisonette Trust and Headland Journal.
  • And being contracted for marketing and comms, then working to handle day-to-day business, by Misprint Co. – a Lightning Lab Manufacturing alumnus

Do you have any current projects on the go? And what’s inspiring you most about these projects?

Recently, I’ve have been appointed as a trustee (for the Maisonette Trust and Headland Journal) so I’m learning about governance and how I can add value in that area. I’m also still working as a freelancer – writing and doing media for organisations.

In preparation for 2019, my big focus at the moment is some more learning, to do some travel and to really stretch myself in various areas. My first step was a trip to the States where I spent two weeks visiting various companies in the Valley and getting to meet some awesome people, including Tom Kelley at Ideo!

For the next 3 months, I have the privilege of growing my marketing and comms skills and well as getting educated on blockchain, as a lab tech for the Centrality Accelerator.

I think what I find most inspiring of the things I’m working on at the moment, is that each challenge a different skill set that I have. Getting me super excited for my 2019 plans and goals, as well as helping me set some new ones.

What are your top tips for those embarking on the journey of creating a new business?

  • Have an awesome support crew! I’m blessed that my biggest fans are my family. They keep me grounded, are there when things go really bad, and also to celebrate all the awesome moments.
  • Know your optimum functioning time. Mine happens to be early morning – this means that I prioritise the tasks I really don’t want to do/the ones that I find challenging first thing in the morning. Get that over and done with, and then you’re away!!!
  • Quit the comparison, stay in your lane and work out how you’re going to be the best, don’t try to be someone else’s best.
  • Know your capacity, but also keep stretching your capacity. Often you can do and get more done than you think in the time that you have.
  • Always keep learning. Challenge what you think. Have people around you who will challenge your views.

What’s cool about being a VU Alumnus?

The team at Creative HQ always have your back!

The network of Alumni is also awesome, with everyone bringing something different to the table you can guarantee that someone in the network will either have the knowledge, skills or connection to someone who you need to know.