Venture Up

Empowering New Zealand’s youth to think differently

Young Founders cohort
Who we worked with

Ministry of Youth Development and young kiwis

What we did together

12-week programme


Applied innovation tools

Since 2015, almost 250 youth (16–24 years old) have completed Creative HQ’s Venture Up programme, learning essential entrepreneurial leadership skills for their future.

Venture Up was launched in 2015, as an avenue for young founders to learn and develop their innovation capability as they begin to make their mark in the world. The first programme was formed as a collaboration between Young Enterprise and Creative HQ, sponsored by Wellington City Council and Victoria University.

Following the success of the 2015 pilot programme, funding from the Ministry of Youth Development and other partners has paved the way for the young founders programme.

“I’m leaving with a different perspective of what it means to be an entrepreneur, that moves away from the fantasy and hype.
My motivation to change the world has never been higher.

Sam Waayer, Venture up alumnus

How we did it

Partnering with Young Enterprise to form a pipeline of young founders, the Venture Up programme focused on teaching participants to manage time efficiently and strengthen self-motivation to stay on track and achieve their goals.

Venture Up’s 2021 programme ran from January to February 2021, with a mix of in-person and digital workshops, speaker events and coaching sessions. This immersive and practical way of learning ensures youth are equipped with the tools, techniques and mindset to practice innovation in the modern-day workplace or turn passions into successful ventures.

Venture Up’s 2021 hybrid model, saw a combined library of self-led innovation resources, alongside video content from former participants, startup founders from the wider New Zealand ecosystem, and support from the programme team both virtually and through strategically-timed in-person workshops.

The programme included:

  • Weekly coaching, with the programme lead – an experienced founder
  • Mentoring sessions on request, with subject matter experts, where participants received one-on-one advice on creating sustainable business models, brand development and marketing, and more.
  • And the programme culminated in an “Ultimate Business Day” event, where partipicants could connect in-person within the cohort, hear from founders and employees within startups, and build their networks.

The result

Since 2015, the Venture Up programme has had 247 participants, across its 8 programmes. The young founders have been spread out across Aotearoa, in both the north and south island, from Whangerei to Invercargill.

The programme’s focus on building an entrepreneurial mindset has empowered our participants to not only start their own ventures but also to take those thought processes into roles and work innovatively within existing organisations.

…A sign of real education is a change in behaviour – and we have surely seen proof of that tonight. These young people are the very people who are going to change things. They constantly challenge the routines we cling so tightly to by asking why not?’  – we want to seed our community with people like that!〞

Ian Williamson, Pro-Vice-Chancellor
Professor of Victoria University’s School of Business

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