Jo Allum

Jo Allum

Important for everyone – develop writing and editing skills #FREEworkshop #editingwriting

Here at Venture Centre we see, hear and know how important it is for founders and business owners to get real life validation and connections in order to progress the myriad of ideas they generate.

That's why today, after collating the calls for help and support from those who attended Venture Centre's "Entrepreneurs Everywhere #5" (#EE5) event last week, we are launching this new blog.

The new HASH tag for the New Zealand entrepreneurs.

"Help A Startup Hustle"

If you are a founder, or business owner looking for;
– customer/market validation of an idea,
– beta customers to test your new (minimum viable) product,
– intel from experts,
– general help from the community; 

then let us know here.

We will batch process requests for help each week (we're an independent social enterprise with a super-lean team:) and get them out via the networks we've been busy connecting.

Week Beginning: Mar 14 2015

Check out HASH tag and #passiton

#GrimTales Pre-sales of new product – book
#ArtMusicColab Ticket sales to support local art & music collaboration
#DEPtga #DEPwbdc Support councils funding to digitally enable people in Tauranga and Western Bay
#FREEworkshop #editingwriting Important for everyone – develop writing and editing skills
#listlocalevents Beta customers to list local events
#foodissues Beta customers for food allergy and dietary requirements planning service
#relax #rejuvinate Critical relaxation and rejuvenation series

The sun’s out. The sky is blue and we’ve reached the perfect spot to reflect on where we have been, how far we’ve come and where we want to go. We’ve got just over 8760 hours till the next significant rest stop like today's...

At the risk of sounding like my Mum, kids aren’t the same these days – and thank goodness for that!

Not only would it be incredibly sad if riding horses, bicycles, playing with skipping ropes and climbing trees were still the extent of amusements widely available (by the way, kids still do that too - at least mine do) – it wouldn’t bode well for the future of humanity, or the planet either!

Around twenty members of Tauranga Maori Business Association (TMBA) and representatives of Enterprise Angels got together last month to explore how they could help each other create more quality companies and economic success in Tauranga Moana, together.

Tina Jennen, Venture Manager of Enterprise Angels (EA) kicked off the evening with a comprehensive presentation about the Angel Investment process. She began by highlighting the recent activities of EA, including $9.5m of investment to date.

Tauranga’s entrepreneurs and angels collaborated to bring a special event to Tauranga this Thursday evening.

Claudia Batten on a visit to New Zealand from her current home in Boulder, Colorado connected with around thirty engaged members of the Bay of Plenty’s startup eco-system to share her experiences and insights around starting, scaling, squiggling and trust.

Floods and powerful gusts have swept across New Zealand this winter, conditions which have caused many kiwis to retreat indoors, hibernate or seek high dry ground.

Yet since winter started in the Central North Island, we’ve been extremely fortunate to experience a flood of new opportunities which have set a powerful wind at our backs to create a very bright, prosperous future.

In just over a month we’ve seen the launch of:

– Waikato Uni’s Agritech fund alongside a new Waikato Agricultural Hub, a co-operation between nine institutions;

– SODA's founder-focused incubator model in Hamilton, funded by Callaghan Innovation to support entrepreneurs behind early-stage, high growth potential ventures; and,

– WNT Ventures winning Callaghan support for a high-tech incubator based in Tauranga to commercialise problem-solving research with global potential.

Taken together these three initiatives put the Central North Island 'on the map' as a centre for ventures in New Zealand. All three exemplify the collaborative approach the region is well known for.

The University of Waikato's agri-tech innovation initiatives support the institutions strategy for a 'connected University' focused on adding value to key sectors. Prof. Alister Jones announced their model for engagement will "make it easier for industry to engage with the University”.  And to prove the point ,Vice-Chancellor Professor Roy Crawford made the announcement to a crowd of over 200 key agribusiness stakeholders.

The University’s new fund and hub will make best use one of the largest concentrations of agribusiness, agritechnology and agriservice companies in the country according to Professor Jones and is based on co-operation between nine institutions. Together they will make the most of Waikato’s formidable mix of educational and research resource and expertise.

Over in Hamilton, consistent conditions are predicted with the continuation of Callaghan Innovation's support of SODA's founder focused entrepreneurship services. “We are in the business of supporting people who start and build high-growth early-stage businesses and who have the vision and courage to take an idea and invest into making it a business reality," said Vanessa Clark, SODA’s acting CEO.

"Whether the people are recent graduates, scientists, employees or founders of existing businesses, SODA is here to offer them a variety of support services from entry level workshops and events to intensive incubation and growth programmes” says Clark. SODA will continue to build key partnerships with people and organisations in the Waikato, New Zealand and around the world that are on a mission to grow NZ Inc.

And the outlook for the Bay of Plenty brightened significantly with the third entrepreneurial front to sweep through. The announcement of WNT Ventures’ technology-focused incubator, a new entity operating with a market-based, profit-driven focus to establish and nurture businesses based particularly on complex technologies derived from research and development.

WNT Ventures incubator, a collaboration between four future focused organisations based in Tauranga will identify suitable intellectual property (IP) protected idea or technology that may not have an associated entrepreneur. It will then work to build a team around the intellectual property, building up a venture to the stage where it is attractive to angel or venture capital investors.

A fund, a hub, founder focused services, pathways to commercialisation including education, industry and entrepreneurial collaboration, plus capital and resources – right now the forecast is good for venture-growing activities in the Central North Island.

As business owners, of all sizes, we’re often compelled to go it alone, stick with what we know, keep to our immediate network.

Often we see it as part of being a ‘real’ New Zealander, after all, we’re original and unique, “self-made” men and women, are we not? We’ve done what it takes to get where we are, made the necessary sacrifices.

For many of us, business has become a carefully-orchestrated game of stretching immediately available resources and sticking with the tried and true methods we’ve used for years.

Calling in extra help would be like cheating or failing… right?

People might think we’re not capable?

Not so.

In fact, growing your network, connecting with new resources that can help you launch, improve, change, is not only one of the easiest ways to prevent burnout yourself, it’s also one of the best ways to grow your business as a whole.

If running a business is a game, then consider it a team sport – and the skills of networking and delegation are the best power-ups available.

In fact, it would be a mistake not connect, bring new people, from businesses and organisation’s with skills, resources and services to help you win, on to your team....

This Tuesday Tauranga Maori Business Association are hosting an evening to introduce you and make a connections with some valuable team players here in Tauranga.

You will get an introduction to what they do, specifically what to look for, what services you either can’t or don’t want to do that they can help you with.

Finding and making new connections can be a nerve-wracking process. TMBA’s event this Tuesday 22nd will make the process less anxiety-inducing – you’ll know what and who to look for.

The main presenter, Tina Jennen, from Enterprise Angels will give you an overview of the services, products, resources, and partners they work with to help you answer questions like;

* Is my idea worth turning into a business?
* What do I need to do to turn my idea into a business?
* How do I get investment for growing my business?
* Who can I connect with help me with all this?

In addition TMBA member Carla Beazley (Rythmz Dance Co) and Andrew Coker (Priority One) will also present.

You don’t have to be a member of Tauranga Maori Business Association to come to the evening but numbers are strictly limited so please RSVP to

The evening begins at 5.30pm, Ignition Co-Working Space, Ground Floor, 29 Grey Street, Tauranga.

It was an honor and pleasure for several coworkers and I to be involved in hosting a Chamber of Commerce BA5 event at one of Tauranga’s coworking spaces, Ignition, last year.

We planned the evening to be a lot like our coworking day-to-day, make it an event that would create real connections, and viewed it as an opportunity to add value to all the professional people in the room.

Months of intense collaborative work by local entrepreneurial leaders has paid off as Minister Steven Joyce announced today the launch of New Zealand Central North Island first technology incubator.

After a rigorous assessment process and final recommendations from an independent panel, the Callaghan Innovation Board approved the application from WNT Ventures, a Tauranga, Bay of Plenty based organisation, formed specifically to respond to the opportunity.

WNT Ventures combines the talents, skills, knowledge and considerable resources of four of Tauranga’s most innovative organisations. Wharf 42, Newnham Park, Titanium Industry Development Association (TiDA), and Quayside Holdings, the investment arm of the Bay of Plenty Regional Council. They came together to put their combined capabilities – commercialising ICT, primary sector, manufacturing from metal powders – into one winning combination.

Minister Joyce said today the “collaboration bodes well for developing and growing new companies in our high tech sector, which is crucial to growing our economy. If we can work smarter across industries and improve our access to innovation we will have a competitive edge in this dynamic and challenging sector.”

The Incubator Support Programme from Callaghan Innovation will deliver support and funding to WNT Ventures’ technology-focused incubator, a privately owned business focusing on commercialising complex intellectual property.

WNT’s bid is a huge win for the three-quarters of million New Zealanders in the Central North Island and it will benefit New Zealand as a whole. The bid has received immense support from the entrepreneurial community, particularly in Tauranga, Hamilton and Waikato, and is key to the long-term vision of success co-created by the people who live and work here.

“We’ve got to drive and get young people in here, we’ve got to drive innovation in here, we’ve got to really drive this community to be successful,” said Steven Saunders, CEO of Newnham Park in recent interview about his own work as an Angel Investor. The WNT incubator is a very real demonstration of this drive which Peter Wren-Hilton of Wharf 42, and Ian McCrae of TiDA share.

With this degree of focused energy, investment of capital, hard-won knowledge gained through experience from mature entrepreneurs, and support from Callaghan Innovation, the opportunity to grow globally successful ventures from the enterprising community in the centre of New Zealand has today become considerably greater.

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