I spent Easter driving round the beautiful Coromandel, hitting not only typical tourist spots such as Hot Water Beach (not as idyllic as suggested, more like a joint mass irrigation system!), but also less travelled routes such as the Tapu-Coroglen road and the Kauaeranga Valley. Some serious driving concentration required throughout. A highlight for me was the conversations at the Gold Mine Experience. As well as a tour through the mine, it was fascinating to hear that there was still gold in the hills, and mining was still taking place. Enjoyed talking to tour guide Alan, who was of Cornish Tin Mining stock. What a journey it must have been in those days. I also did a little bit of panning – found some gold, amethyst and ruby fragments, but won’t be giving up the day job just yet!
It’s been so rewarding seeing a group of social enterprises developing their business models during the Akina Launchpad Accelerator. You can meet the teams here. Yesterday, saw the pitch event at Shed 7 on the Wellington waterfront. The teams did themselves and the Accelerator proud with a range of great ideas presented to a very high standard. Best wishes to them all in future. There’s a lesson in how a supportive development process can really help the teams make a fit in what is often quite a complex regulatory and market environment. Pics below:
Great fun and great ideas at the 5 to 5 Business Bootcamp hosted by BCC at the UCOL campus. Year 11 students from the PNGHS and PNBHS got together in teams to test and develop business ideas. One lesson to learn from this event was how important it is to have an icebreaker activity when getting people together to work in teams for the first time. And so, much fun was had with spaghetti, string and a marshmallow…..
Nothing beats the excitement of live pitches from real early-stage companies as a fascinated audience witnessed at Massey’s ecentre on the Albany campus last night. 10 companies pitched to get feedback on their developing ventures, with a diverse range of products and services covered — several in the field of finance and some very cool shoes. Every chance of going from garage to global, as the ecentre promises. The message from the event from an audience point of view was how important to get the three elements at events like this
- the pitch
- the display
- the idea
all aligned and complementing (yet not repeating) each other. Certainly some excellent examples of that!
This month has seen me host two academic visitors to Massey – based in Palmerston North, but both paying visits to staff in Wellington and in Albany too. Many diverse discussions resulted, that will result in new projects down the line.
With my Southampton ex-colleague Melanie Ashleigh, the discussions centred on the notion of trust in early stage concept development. This topic reflects Mel’s background as a psychologist.
With Alistair Anderson from Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, the topic was more about context and the relationship between Manawatu’s history and new entrepreneneurs was shaping news ways forward for the region. Here’s Alistair teaching in Shane Scahill‘s class in Albany
Plenty of work and good writing to look forward to.
Good session across all campuses at Massey on Friday for the Women@Massey group facilitated by myself and Jo Bensemann. Organised as an informal discussion session with a foreword by the presenters, a range of topics were discussed. We began by talking about growth in interest in the subject at universities and the wider world over the last two decades. We also the different definition of entrepreneurship, going beyond the creation of economic value to a wider social and community function. We illustrated the initial part of the talk with examples from our own research, teaching and outreach activities. Jo presented some of her specific research on co-preneurship (husband and wife teams). I showed some pictures of student engagement during the live Start-Up weekend last year. A lively discussion followed, with the key highlights below:
- What is entrepreneurship really all about? Has it always been an attractive term for women and is that still the case? In the UK and US, the term has become far more popular and positive over the last ten years, though some still find it a little hard-edged.
- Do we need specific groups to support women’s entrepreneurship? Are they necessary, or should the mainstream support in the university amd wider support context be enough? Again views differ, though there have been many successful women’s networks in the past.
- How can we foreground stories of women’s entrepreneurship at Massey so that good role models can inspire and encourage others?
- Do we do enough to recognise all the different strands of activity, ranging across different sectors — high tech, crafts, agri-food, for example — and different groups of women – for instance Maori/Pasifika.
In the near future, we will be developing an Entrepreneurship and Innovation Special Interest Group and look forward to developing these discussions further.
Now 8 months in to my new job in New Zealand, and some milestones passed, like my first visit back to the UK over Christmas and my first visitor from the UK, a long-time friend from University days. So now into the New Year, and pleased to take part in the Grow North! initiative at the Albany campus yesterday, which looks at making the area the Silicon Valley of New Zealand. The VC, Steve Marahey, chaired a great panel of business and community speakers, including Auckland deputy mayor Penny Hulse, New Zealand, Institute of Economic Research principal economist Shamubeel Eaqub, KPMG executive chairman Ross Buckley, Ngati Whatua o Orakei Whai Rawa chief operating officer Kate Healy, Colliers International national director of research and consultancy Alan McMahon and Labour MP and housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. We then broke up into 4 concurrent sessions, where I joined the panel devoted to Innovation/Technology, chaired by Albany’s Professor Christoph Schumacher. For my part I noted:
- Digital innovation has a lot to offer some of the key areas referred to by earlier speakers, namely an ageing population, transport difficulties and the need to attract and make the most of talent
- We need to make the most of digital innovation, recognising that realising economic value is important, of course, but we also have to create social, cultural and community value too
- We need to create a vision for how we want to live our lives – and think about that long-term in the design of homes and businesses
- We have to have the right strategy to get there – the right digital infrastructure, the right education systems, the right support structures for the SMEs who will deliver much of that vision.
I look forward to being part of it
Graduation has always been one of my highlights of the academic year. Memories of precessing round the cloisters at Lincoln Cathedral, the wonderful international mix at Southampton. Today was no exception – back to the Regent – but so much more – after the ceremony, precessing through town met by townspeople, a pipe band and the town crier helped us on our way. And discovered the Massey Ram for the first time! A great sense of occasion.
Excellent insightful comment from our Industry Advisory Board today, as we start to develop the curriculum. Importance of teamwork, critical thinking and experiential learning stressed as key points. Jo Bensemann doing the talking here in lovely Wharerata.
Just amazing small business talent in the room at the Vision Manawatu awards dinner on Friday night at Silks Lounge, Awapuni. Pictures below capture the excitement in the room, and our Massey table. So many heartwarming stories of team and family success over 3 generations in the Manawatu.