Almost 150 young, would-be Auckland entrepreneurs have taken the opportunity to test their business ideas by entering the inaugural IdeaStarter - a competition which backs young people to turn their energy and ideas into opportunities.
IdeaStarter called on Aucklanders aged 15-24 to share their business ideas for a new product or service, with 60 team and individual entries received from a total of 146 candidates.
Fifteen IdeaStarter winners were announced at the IdeaStarter Summit held on Thursday, 28 May in GridAKL, Auckland’s innovation precinct in Wynyard Quarter.
Winning ideas included ‘bio-corridors’ that connect people and habitats, organic solid perfumes, an app to teach young children Pacific Island languages, and a youth-focused interactive news platform.
The winning teams and individuals were each presented with a business tablet and will also receive two mentoring sessions with a business or social entrepreneur.
IdeaStarter is part of Youth Connections, supporting youth employment and enterprise in Auckland, which is primarily funded by The Tindall Foundation and Auckland Council.
“IdeaStarter has presented Auckland’s young entrepreneurs with a chance to test their business ideas, and they’ve taken it with both hands,” says Sir Stephen Tindall, co-founder, The Tindall Foundation.
“These entrepreneurs now have an opportunity to refine and develop their products and services, working with business experts who will act as mentors to help them bring their business ideas to life.”
IdeaStarter entrants were supported through Idea Generator sessions to help them crystalise and progress their ideas before they entered.
Judges sought ideas that have the potential to be the ‘next big thing’, are compelling, well communicated and innovative, and have the customer in mind.
Patrick McVeigh, ATEED general manager economic growth, says IdeaStarter is a stepping stone towards Auckland’s goal is to become an innovation hub of the Asia-Pacific region.
“For Auckland to become an innovation hub we need to grow a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, and enable talent, growing skills levels and getting young people into sustainable career pathways,” he adds.
“IdeaStarter has a critical role in these areas, providing opportunities for young Aucklanders to develop their skills, and succeed and innovate.
“I am looking forward to following the progress of these young entrepreneurs as they develop their ideas and their career paths.”