AKLSW Winners 20130513

Auckland Startup Love Goes Regional, Taupo Times Lauds Local Boys

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An article in Thursdays Taupo Times talks about the two local boys who came to Auckland and took first place.

Two men on the winning team of five were from Taupo at Auckland Startup Weekend May 10-12 with a new product for tourists. Startup Weekend is an event where individuals pitch ideas, form teams, validate the market, build a prototype and create a business plan all in 54 hours. Taupo men Ashley Schroder and Gerald Speers had to travel to Auckland to attend the event currently not available in the central North Island. Both men agree that a Taupo area event could help nurture regional talent. Taupo economic experts concur, the wealth of talent in the central North Island is vast and largely untapped. Local entrepreneurs are able to compete at Auckland level, but there is a desire to retain and grow startups in the Taupo region.

ArriveSupplied, Taupo talent forms new company at Startup Weekend

ArriveSupplied took out first prize at Auckland Startup Weekend. The team’s e-commerce platform targets the international tourist market in New Zealand with potential channel partners like Hilton Hotels and Air New Zealand. Cofounder Ashley Schroder describes the Startup Weekend experience, “It was an incredible experience for me and I would recommend it to anyone interested in starting a business.

“As a developer, building a product/service for a business idea is easy, but I have learned many times in the past, just having a product, does not make a business. Startup Weekend taught me real world, tangible skills for fleshing out a product or service into a viable business model and then validating the customers and channels to market.

“To win with ArriveSupplied was great, it’s given our team an opportunity and the resources to really launch the business. It’s exciting and we’re looking forward to the challenges ahead.”

Taupo Chairwoman as Mentor to the Entrepreneurs

Enterprise Great Lake Taupo Chairperson, Sue de Bievre, was at the event as a mentor alongside some of New Zealand’s foremost experts in business, technology, design and marketing. Sue has been actively working to develop Taupo resources for entrepreneurs for several years, she see’s huge potential in Startup Weekend with a third of teams going on to create companies. “These figures represent significant opportunity for the Taupo area.” Says de Bievre,

“The wealth of technical and scientific entrepreneurial talent in the region is unusually high with large numbers attracted to the region’s geothermal industries. If we can tap into this wealth of talent, we have the potential to grow the region’s economy and startup ecology with significant results and community benefit. A Taupo Startup Weekend would be a major step in the right direction.”

NZICT Chief, Candace Kinser, echoes the importance of supporting startup initiatives and says that technology innovation is becoming New Zealand’s highest income producing sector, surpassing dairy by 2020.” (Candace Kinser, RadioLIVE with Andrew Patterson)

Startup Weekend

International facilitator Rowan Yeoman, puts it this way, “The idea for Startup Weekend grew out of Silicon Valley and has exploded to include Startup Weekends in 478 cities around the world, creating over 8000 new startup businesses. 1/3 of the companies coming out of Startup Weekend go on to create viable businesses. 1/3 of those businesses become highly successful. Rowan notes that Startup Weekend is about providing an inspirational experience.”

Growing Entrepreneurship in Taupo

Taupo ArriveSupplied cofounder agrees, “For me, Startup Weekend wasn’t just about building a business, even though that is what we did, ultimately it wasn’t actually the most important thing we did. I grew personally from the experience. Being thrown in with a group of people I had never met before, in that kind of pressure cooker, forced me to call upon my innermost strength of character. No matter where the team goes with ArriveSupplied, I feel like I have gained a lot from the experience. Funnily enough, fellow teammate Ashley Schroder is also from the Taupo area so go figure, we went to Auckland to meet each other and form a team. It would be great to have an event a little closer to home.” Gerald Speers.

Like the dairy industry, science and tech innovation can be centred in rural areas and small town New Zealand where opportunities for economic growth are sometimes more limited. That’s another reason Enterprise Great Lake Taupo Chair, Sue de Bievre, is advocating the entrepreneurial event. She sees huge opportunity for startup industry growth and development in Taupo’s IP rich geothermal environment.

Whatever happens next for Taupo, the region can be proud of her tech boys who took on the big city and won.