It has felt like a long time coming but Venture Up 2017 has finally kicked off in Auckland!!! Every year, we aim to get bigger and better using the experiences in the past, to shape the experiences of the future. It has been a major decision to shift from Wellington where the last 2 programmes have been held, but one that was necessary in order for Venture Up to become a truly national programme! Another key change is holding a 3-day boot camp in early December before resuming the programme in early 2017 for the participants to get to know one another before reconnecting in the New Year.
The lucky participants who have been selected across New Zealand arrived throughout the day on Thursday 8th December with some flying up from the South Island, others driving from around the North Island, and some opting to walk from around the corner! This year, Wellesley Student Apartments have opened their doors to the young, energetic group with amazing facilities and friendly staff making it feel like home the moment you walk in! It was surprising how well the group formed a tight bond in such a short amount of time but a testament to the individuals coming with an open mind to learn as much as possible throughout their time on Venture Up!
Friday kicked off with orientation sessions around Wellesley Student Apartments followed by a visit to what would be their work space throughout the days on Venture Up – Colab at AUT. The room felt like it was purpose built to foster creativity with moving walls and plenty of space for our students to make it their own – and it was apparent when each of them settled in to get set for the weekend ahead. Bonnie Howland of Indigo & Iris was first on the list of many speakers to come through and share her experiences on how she started her entrepreneurship journey along with tips on how to survive an accelerator for our young leaders. The team got to know themselves and their personality traits through completing a Disc profile session, along with getting tips on how to give an elevator pitch before wrapping off the night with Chris Clay, an educator and inspiring speaker on the future of business through exponential technology and the implications it has for future generations.
Saturday was all about pitch, pitch pitching. Everyone managed to get an idea out or illustrate what they were passionate about followed by an intense mash up of teams forming where things got messy, stressful and one of the first challenges our individuals faced. It is safe to say that through the chaos, teams always seem to magically form and this time was no exception. 7 teams were formed ranging from reducing textile waste to tackling the problem of climate change.
By Sunday, our teams were feeling the effects of having early mornings and late nights. Business doesn’t exist between 4 walls, so teams were encouraged to get out of the building and talk to customers. Each team came back with a completely different perspective so it is safe to say there were multiple learnings from the first exercise. Robert Bruce from “Got To Get Out” then came to spark our group and got them thinking about their personal brand with a key message making sure you capture every opportunity that comes your way, but also creating ways too – “right place, at the right time, every time”. We wrapped the weekend finishing off with a resilience session followed by a retrospective on which each individual was encouraged to reflect on what they thought was the good, bad and learnings that came out of the weekend.
The boot camp has served its purpose of setting the tone for the rest of the programme so stay connected to follow the journey of our young aspiring leaders of tomorrow and their journey through Venture Up 2017!