Venture Up’s back, bigger and better, for 2019!


Creative HQ’s Venture Up gets ready for its fifth intake in 2019!

And this time around, Venture Up is bigger than ever before – with programmes set to run in both Wellington and Queenstown.

Today, Creative HQ announces the addition of a new location, Queenstown, for their short-term youth entrepreneurship accelerator Venture Up.

Applications for the Venture Up 2019 Wellington programme opened September 24 and close October 28. Applications for the Venture Up 2019 Queenstown programme open today (October 8) and will close on November 5.

This is the first time the programme has run concurrently in two different regions and the first time running in the South Island.

“We see Venture Up as a place where you can put creativity and innovation into practice and are delighted to host it down in Queenstown” states AJ Mason of Startup Queenstown Lakes.

Venture Up invites New Zealand’s future innovators to join the entrepreneurial ecosystem for the opportunity to learn leadership and collaborative working skills in an immersive environment. The programme empowers participants to independently manage their work-flow and team dynamic, providing a realistic experience of entrepreneurship. Both the Wellington and Queenstown four-week, full-time programmes are due to start January 21, 2019.

Since the inaugural programme in 2015, Venture Up has engaged 126 young adults from across New Zealand to build confidence and resilience at a key decision point in their lives, the transition between high school and further education or joining the workforce.

VU19 announcement

“Venture Up was an incredible opportunity to build on the skills and capability required to develop an entrepreneurial mindset. The mentoring, networking and ability to connect with so many like-minded individuals was a priceless experience.”

Steph Benseman – Bensé Apparel

Venture Up provides a hands-on entrepreneurial learning experience in a supportive environment to help build resilience, educate, and connect NZ’s future leaders. Venture Up supports the NZ Government’s introduction of ‘STEAM’ – rather than STEM – to focus on the ‘Arts’, humanities, and creative (and critical) thinking processes.

VU announcement

Speaking at Venture Up 2018’s Showcase event, Ian Williamson, Pro-Vice Chancellor Professor of Victoria University’s School of Business, commented that:

“A sign of a real education is a change in behaviour – and we have surely seen proof of that. These young people are the very people who are going to change things. They constantly challenge the routines we cling so tightly too, by asking – ‘why, not?’ We want to seed our community with people like that!”

While Venture Up runs over the summer break, it is no summer camp.

The programme is led by innovation specialists from Creative HQ, who bring their specialities, experience and connections, along with all of the components used in Creative HQ’s Lightning Lab accelerators. Broken down into weekly sprints, Venture Up introduces the cohort to fundamental tools, such as design thinking and agile customer-focused validation techniques before focusing on sales and brand ahead of a final showcase to friends, family and the wider startup community.

“The exposure to some of the top entrepreneurial talent in New Zealand’s ecosystem, coupled with the latest lean methodologies and design thinking techniques leaves participants moving faster, smarter and with a platform to launch into whichever direction they decide to pursue.

It is exciting to be expanding the programme to Queenstown where we can offer more youth the opportunity to take part in a proven model that expands the possibilities of youth starting on their own entrepreneurial journey.”

Lingy Au – Programme Director

VU19 announcement

What is Creative HQ?

Creative HQ empowers entrepreneurs in startups, businesses and government by developing innovation capability to enable a human-centric approach to promote change and positive impact. Through our incubation and accelerator programmes, we increase the number of high growth businesses that fuel New Zealand’s economy. Based on our 15 years of experience working with accelerated business models, Creative HQ now offers our unique Innovation Services to corporations and government agencies in New Zealand and abroad.

Creative HQ is a wholly-owned subsidiary of WREDA, Wellington’s Regional Economic Development Agency.


Venture Up is proudly supported by WREDA, Callaghan Innovation, Ministry of Youth Development, Young Enterprise Trust, Startup Queenstown Lakes & Queenstown Resort College.



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