... since she hasn’t "come up with any amazing new ideas that are going to change the world and make me lots of money!" (her words)
However, as the conversation goes on, it becomes quickly obvious that Anne Blakeway knows more than a thing or two in this world of entrepreneurship!
"I have run two businesses with my hubby, Pete - the first a hotel and restaurant in the Highlands of Scotland, which we renovated over a period of five years and turned from a 2 star BnB to a 4 star award-winning country lodge.
With our second business, we turned a muffin shop in Tauranga CBD into a deli and cook school which, when we arrived in the Bay 14 years ago, had never been done here before.
So I guess in that sense, the more I think about it, we were entrepreneurial in that we took existing, fairly average businesses and turned them into something different by spotting a niche that hadn’t yet been filled.
More recently, I have worked at Comvita, which is a wonderfully innovative company founded by two entrepreneurs more than 40 years ago, and then Enterprise Angels, which facilitates equity funding between angel investors and entrepreneurs. I helped the Enterprise Angels’ team launch an equity crowdfunding website backed by angel investors - something which had never been done before in New Zealand.
I attended my first Start-Up Weekend last year and was struck by the amazing energy in the room - so many people buzzing with some great ideas and the mentors helping them channel them into some kind of a plan.
But there were also people who were there just to learn about the process of turning an idea into a business, which is great too. Six people from Comvita took part and it was good to get them outside of their usual work environment, which I believe is where creativity and innovation really starts to happen…almost when you’re least expecting it!
It’s also a great opportunity to find out more about yourself - how you work in a team and your capacity in terms of how much you can actually achieve in a very short space of time.
I’m not sure what advice to give for those attending this year! I guess it’s about going into the weekend with an open mind and trusting in the journey and the amazing team of talented volunteers who are there to guide you if you get into difficulties. And just have fun!"
Get support from those who have been before!
Jump in on 11-13 August and get your ticket Tauranga Startup Weekend here