Preparing entrepreneurs for success

29 Jan, 2021
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Launching a business is hard work and many fail to make it past the idea stage, but the CO.STARTERS programme at AUT is boosting the success rate for aspiring entrepreneurs.

Southern Studios director Geoff Holmes says CO.STARTERS and some final-year papers in his Bachelor of Business at AUT were the catalyst for starting his own creative production studio.

“They provided the framework that simplified an extremely complex business landscape, enabling me to not only build my business, but to grow our clients’ businesses as well.”

Geoff opted into the ten-week CO.STARTERS programme at the end of his degree, wanting to build his own business but lacking the right experience.

“I knew I wanted to create something within the production and advertising industry and gave myself two years to make it work. I was super green, hadn’t run a business before, and I was looking for anything and everything to upskill myself so I didn’t fail.”

Geoff, who now runs an award-winning studio, says CO.STARTERS provided valuable mentoring and helped him focus on critical steps including developing his business plan and honing the company’s point of difference.

CO.STARTERS has also been the launching pad for a VR company, a meal kit business, a food producer specialising in plant-based, allergen and planet friendly products, and a beverage company successfully tackling the Australasian energy drink market with a clean alternative.

Led by programme manager Sabrina Nagel, CO.STARTERS was established at AUT in 2015 and is based on an international programme designed to foster entrepreneurial ecosystems and equip people with the skills to launch a business.

Director of entrepreneurship and innovation, Martin Bell, says the results have been impressive.

“CO.STARTERS has proven to be an empowering foundation for aspiring student entrepreneurs.

“Graduates of the programme leave with the insights and tools they need to take the next practical steps in building a sustainable business. Perhaps most importantly they become part of a growing CO.STARTERS community with a better understanding of how to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams.”

Image courtesy of Southern Studios

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