Venture Up


In 2014, Lightning Lab and Young Enterprise Trust teamed up to run Venture Up, a new startup business accelerator programme for Young Enterprise Scheme (YES) graduates and alumni.

Aged between 16-21, the inaugural Venture Up 2015 cohort created seven new companies in six weeks and presented them to mentors, investors, business leaders and startup supporters in Wellington.

The programme received overwhelmingly positive feedback with the Minister of Youth Development Nikki Kaye announcing that $300,000 from the Government’s Youth Enterprise Fund will go to continuing the work started with the Venture Up 2015 pilot scheme.

The structure of the programme is based on New Zealand’s leading accelerator programme, Lightning Lab, which was founded by startup incubator Creative HQ and has generated $5 million in investment for participating companies in two years.

During Venture Up, participants built the next steps of their YES venture and learn the individual skills and elements to be an even more amazing entrepreneur. The participants received overwhelming support from local leading business and technical experts and rubbed shoulders with a select group of the best young entrepreneurial talent from around New Zealand.

Through training sessions, coaching and the introduction of leading methodologies used by startups around the world, Venture Up is igniting the next generation of New Zealand entrepreneurs. Training sessions and workshop topics include product market fit, customer development, growth hacking, sales fundamentals, partnerships, marketing and governance.

You can read the full report on the 2015 programme here.

In 2016, a second Venture Up programme ran in Wellington with 10 companies created between 38 new participants, cementing the Venture Up model as New Zealand’s leading entrepreneur programme for young aspiring leaders. New tools, an introduction into new social media and a range of both mentors and speakers were introduced.

You can read the full report on the 2016 programme here.

To learn more, visit or check out our Facebook page & Twitter account.

To get involved, reach out to Oliviah Theyers-Collins,