Paving the way for Auckland’s aspiring tertiary entrepreneurs

11 Jul, 2016
AUT Master of Creative Technologies student Alejandro Davila

Aspiring AUT entrepreneurs are receiving a welcome boost to turn their ideas into a commercial reality through a new student entrepreneurship programme.

Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED), on behalf of Auckland Council, has launched the Tertiary Student Entrepreneurship Programme 2016 to support Auckland students, equipping them with the confidence, skill and capacity to develop their entrepreneurial ideas.

Building a culture of innovation led entrepreneurship is a key driver for Auckland’s economic growth, as identified in the Auckland Innovation Plan, with aspirations for Auckland to become an innovation hub of the Asia-Pacific region.

Under the Tertiary Student Entrepreneurship Programme, ATEED is providing financial support for 10 new or enhanced entrepreneurial programmes being run by Auckland tertiary institutes, including our Co.Starters programme.

Almost 240 students have already signed up for courses and more than 500 students will be activity involved in, or successfully complete, courses by the end of the year.

AUT programme, Co.Starters, is a world-leading entrepreneurship programme being rolled out in Auckland and designed to equip aspiring entrepreneurs with the insights, relationships and tools needed to turn ideas into action.

AUT Master of Creative Technologies student Alejandro Davila created the first story-telling virtual reality experience in the Southern Hemisphere. He completed Co.Starters to learn how to take to product to market. The story, Green Fairy, will be shown to the public at Auckland Library on July 23.

“ATEED’s support has enabled us to offer the exceptional Co.Starters programme to our students. Twenty-seven people completed two Co.Starters cohorts earlier this year, with one participant going on to win Auckland’s Startup Weekend with an app that connects charities and volunteers, and another quitting her job so she can turn her idea into a business,” says Martin Bell, Director of Co.Starters.

“Our next move is to expand the Co-starters programme to South Auckland, with a cohort commencing in August that will focus on helping aspiring Maori and Pacific Island entrepreneurs,” he says.

Patrick McVeigh, ATEED General Manager Business, Innovation & Skills, says the Tertiary Student Entrepreneurship Programme aims to develop a large and capable entrepreneurial talent pool for Auckland.

“While Auckland is home to a vibrant entrepreneurial culture, more can be done to encourage and support entrepreneurship as a career path, with Auckland’s tertiary education providers being key players in supporting this.

“The Tertiary Student Entrepreneurship Programme 2016 enables us to work side-by-side with institutions to support young entrepreneurs on the ground to build businesses with export potential, an essential element in helping to grow our economy,” he says.

The Tertiary Student Entrepreneurship Programme is one of a number of programmes ATEED delivers to support entrepreneurship in Auckland.

Other programmes include the Lion Foundation Young Enterprise Scheme (YES) giving year 12 and 13 students the chance to set up and run their own business for a year; IDEAStarter for 15-24 year olds; and the DigMyIdea Māori Innovation Challenge for 15-18 year olds and those aged 19 and over.

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