What Aotearoa lacks in size, you can bet we make up for in big thinking (thank YOU, no. 8 wire mentality!). And it’s these big and innovative ideas that are developing some groundbreaking businesses and social enterprises right here in the land of the long white cloud.
In Gisborne, on NZ’s beautiful East Coast, the sun is not the only thing locals see before anyone else; a hotspot of entrepreneurial activity, Gisborne is a place where fresh ideas and our Kiwi passion for innovation and adaptation are embraced wholeheartedly.
They’ve just held their very first Startup Weekend Tairāwhiti, and it was a huge success – whoop whoop! Never heard of a Startup Weekend before? It’s a pretty simple idea, really (the best ideas are, right?!). Startup Weekends are a global, grassroots phenomenon where local visionaries come together with mentors and experts to develop and grow their business ideas in a short space of time. It’s collaboration at its finest!
The big Weekend
From 27th – 29th April, Startup Weekend Tairāwhiti brought together 60 of Gisborne’s most creative and collaborative minds to consider the economic and social theme of ‘Impact’. They had just 54 hours to network and learn from one another in a quick-fire process which involved pitching their ideas to other attendees, fleshing them out as a team, and putting them forward for judging.
Sponsored by some good local, innovative businesses and organisations (including Activate Tairāwhiti, Eastland Community Trust, and Air NZ), the goal of Startup Weekend Tairāwhiti was to help attendees with their networking and capacity-building, as well as building confidence around pitching their ideas to investors.
By the end of the weekend, ten teams had come through with some awesomely innovative business ideas that had a big local focus, particularly in the areas of tourism, and research and development. The winning team, Experience Hinerupe, pitched a business plan that showcased the East Coast’s Maori culture, offering visitors the very special experience of staying on Hinerupe marae, near the East Cape Lighthouse.
In second place was 1:4 Community, a cost-effective childminding service that covers school holiday periods to help local households maintain their incomes and local businesses to maintain their economic productivity. Snugtech, who is currently in talks with Callaghan Innovation and private investors, came in third place for their insulation product which uses environmentally-friendly wool and hemp.
Learning from the best
The startup process can be an intimidating one – after all, there’s lots to learn! Thankfully, Startup Weekend Tairāwhiti had a number of top-notch mentors on hand to give sound advice and share their expertise, including ZeroPoint Ventures co-founder Jane Treadwell-Hoye, Callaghan Innovation advisor Phil Anderson, and Banqer co-founder Kendall Flutey. Participants were able to learn from them one-on-one and gain invaluable feedback to drive their startups to the next stage.
Making an impact
The Startup Weekend theme of ‘impact’ is a good one, we reckon. That’s because we all have an impact (good or bad) on those around us, and the world we share. Here at Flick, we’re focussed on positively impacting our customers and the wider environment by delivering Kiwis a fair deal on their power with access to wholesale pricing, and honest information on the environmental impact of our electricity use. So we were pretty chuffed to see the Flick and Eastland Group EVs in action during Startup Weekend Tairāwhiti, transporting the mentors around Gisborne. Flick yeah!
Mentors traveled in carbon-free style in the Flick Electric and Eastland Group EVs (they’re pretty darn cute, huh!).
Startup Weekends bring with them big positives, by helping local communities to create tangible and valuable solutions to real-world problems. We can’t wait to see what lies ahead for these inspiring businesses and the driven folk behind them. Ka mau te wehi!