Top UC entrepreneurs shoot for success at city event

More than 30 University of Canterbury (UC) students have spent the past 10 weeks working on their ventures full-time as part of the university’s Centre for Entrepreneurship (UCE) Summer Startup Programme.

The Programme provides budding entrepreneurs with mentoring and advice to help them fast-track their startups.

After a pitch battle last week, 26 teams have been narrowed down to a final 12 who will present at Thursday’s Summer Startup Showcase at The Piano.

The finalists will showcase their three minute pitch to a panel of judges and an audience of 300 at the Dragons’ Den-style event – a chance for people to see the next generation of Canterbury entrepreneurs in action.

The top 12 teams – involving 20 students – features several ventures with an ethos of environmental and social change. They include; WopWop – an application that promotes eco-friendly travel, GranSkills – a technology tutoring service for older people, ebb&tide – an ocean-friendly cosmetics company, and KiwiFibre Innovations – a startup using tī kōuka (cabbage tree) and harakeke (flax) material to create high-performance products such as skis and skateboards.

UCE Director Rachel Wright says Summer Startup is a great way to highlight and accelerate promising businesses and social enterprises.

“It’s an intensive and immersive experience that gives these dynamic students the support and advice they need to step up to the next level. There are some fantastic ventures in this year’s line-up and it will be exciting to see them progress.”

The UCE Summer Startup Programme offers several $5000 scholarships to ensure it is accessible to a wide range of students.

An overall Summer Startup Showcase winner will be announced at next week’s event and a People’s Choice award will be decided by the audience.

Winners will receive a share of the $1,750 cash prize pool and ongoing business support from UCE.

The UCE Summer Startup Showcase is at The Piano, 156 Armagh St, Christchurch from 5pm on Thursday 4 February. It is open to the public and tickets are available through Eventbrite.
The top 12 teams are: Bonnie Maree Bras – Bonnie Simmonds; bookitin – Hannah Ensor; LDS Gamebox – Kieran To’angutu; GranSkills – Amelia McLuskie, Emily O’Sullivan, Phoebe McCaughan; Limitless – Logan Schokking;TradeM8 – James Hamilton; WopWop – James Sunshine, Alexander Diprose, James Kwok; KarbenFiber – Maryam Shojaei; Employer Direct – Sam Walker; ebb&tide – Emma Glover, Lily Thompson; Foodie – Curtis Gray, Ruari Hockley, Josh Bingham; KiwiFibre Innovations – Ben Scales, William Murrell.
The showcase judges are: New Zealand Trade and Enterprise Customer Manager Anna Guenther, Christchurch entrepreneurs Ben Kepes and Peter Montgomery, and Aceso Health Chief Executive Gabe Rijpma

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