Earlier this year, CO.STARTERS@VentureCentre for founders of new businesses launched in the Bay of Plenty. A nine-week programme, it equips local people with ideas, and the commitment, to launch a business with insights, relationships, and tools.
CO.STARTERS is hands-on. It supports people to get ideas out of their heads and test them ahead of launching a business or extending an existing business into a wider market or new product line.
Participants are supported and mentored by local entrepreneurs who’ve already been there, seen it done it. They can’t be facilitators or mentors unless they have gone through all the ups and downs of starting a business themselves. In the words of Venture Centre co-founder Jo Allum “it’s a place where people come together to start businesses together”.
Sessions are three hours, once a week. The first cohort was facilitated by Maria King and Katheren Leitner.
Maria says CO.STARTERS is a bargain, “at under $1000 for nine weeks of support and vigourous validation, I wish it had been available back when I started. It would have saved me hours of time and money”.
“The key to starting a business well is to test your great idea and ensure customers actually want to pay for your product. Once you know, you know. You can’t unlearn stuff! So it’s all valuable, even if the first attempt you make at business idea won’t work,” she says.
Kurt Cordice was among the first group to complete the CO.STARTERS course. He is a recent immigrant to New Zealand, coming to us from Canada via the Grenedines and Korea. He describes himself as a global citizen who is trying to figure out how he can help his new community. And his business idea, Global Swim, will do just that by offering water safety and swimming lessons designed for multicultural participants in a diverse range of languages.
Kurt himself is a free diver, swimming and scuba diving instructor. He says Global Swim will partner with existing programmes with courses delivered in English, but with supplementary materials provided in a wide range of languages. He says Global Swim’s aim is to use empowerment, inclusion and togetherness to bring New Zealand’s high rate of preventable drownings (73 per cent) down.
Kurt says he was familiar with the format of CO.STARTERS and found it an excellent experience.
“All business starters need to do this work, but the magic comes from it being part of the Venture Centre community – and run at Basestation. It is fertile soil to land on. Everything you’re learning in the group, from facilitators and the other starters is reinforced through what Venture Centre does and supports within the community,” he says.
“CO.STARTERS is important, but the link between the two is what makes it so special. I’ve not seen anything like this before.”
The second intake of CO.STARTERS will be in February 2018. Email us to register your interest today.
- Venture Centre works to connect people on enterprising journeys - with each other and the mindset, skillset, toolsets, networks and resources they need - to build an ecosystem that delivers real-world, learn-by-doing events, activities, projects and experiences, and more... This would not be possible without the support of Tauranga City and Western Bay of Plenty District councils.
If you would like to add your support or get involved with this work to help build entrepreneurially capable, digitally and commercially empowered communities who contribute and benefit from the resulting prosperity and wellbeing, we’d love to hear from you. Feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.