Meet the young entrepreneurs that just spent 6 weeks of their summer building startups from scratch.

38 of New Zealand’s brightest young entrepreneurs brought their A game to the capital last week, pitching the 8 businesses they have spent the last 6 weeks building, validating and pivoting with the support of Wellington’s startup ecosystem.

Venture Up, New Zealand’s leading youth entrepreneurship accelerator, hosted the Showcase at the City Gallery, its final pitch event to wrap up the 6 week immersive entrepreneurship accelerator aimed at 16- 24 year olds. Packed to the rafters with business mentors, founders, government, and members of the startup community, the event was an opportunity for the 8 teams to present their progress and pose an ask to help further develop their business beyond the programme.

Many of the teams boasted fully functioning offerings, some with client contracts already across the line, 1000+ databases of users signed on and test pilots confirmed, all impressive achievements for a short 6 week turn around. However the purpose of the programme is less about short term results and more about setting up NZ’s young leaders with the entrepreneurial skillsets that would continue to serve them well into the future.

Venture Up 2016’s 8 teams:

Part-Timer: An online platform that connects high school students with part time jobs through personalities, not CV’s

Intrude-a-lock: A device that offers peace of mind & security to help travellers identify where illicit baggage tampering has occurred while in transit.

Crave: A simplified online platform to solve social indecision around choosing what and where to eat at meal times for busy professionals around the city.

Influencer: A service that builds meaningful relationships between influential ‘Instagrammers’ and brands to create organic marketing.

MultiMenu: Simplifying complicated restaurant menus to make dining more accessible for tourists and anyone wanting clarity over what they are ordering.

Relay: A platform that allows for a peer to peer delivery network personal pick up/ drop off service to save your time so that you can do what you do best.

Story Unfolded: A web-based platform that harnesses the power of storytelling to connect small charities with potential donors

Youth on Board: A service that aims to expose old spaces to young faces, giving one of the most underrepresented demographics a voice through placing youth in areas of business providing feedback to board level.

The programme is the brainchild of Creative HQ and the Young Enterprise Trust, as a way to channel the energy of driven teens with an aptitude for business, many of whom will have taken part in Young Enterprise in their final years of high school and are looking for the next challenge. The programme is now in it’s second year, and having received $300,000 funding over 3 years from the Government’s Youth Enterprise fund after the pilot programme finished early last year. The programme is aimed at high school leavers who are just about to start their first year of tertiary study, and is not intended to replace traditional education streams but rather provide life skills and insight into startup thinking that will be beneficial regardless of careerpath.

Venture Up Final Showcase

Nick Churchouse, Venture Up Programme Director and Creative HQ’s Head of Customer Engagement, is wrapt with the impact of programme in it’s second year.  “Venture Up set a new bar in 2016 for empowering our leading youth entrepreneurs in New Zealand. During the last 6 weeks I’ve seen 38 ambitious individuals learn to engage with their customers, validate their assumptions, turn attitude and single-mindedness into vision and humility, and uncover new ways of creating their own impact on the world. Tauranga participant Sophie Shrimpton summed it up by saying ‘To Venture Up, thank you… you’ve successfully disrupted my life.’

To Sophie and each of the 37 others who are Venture Up 2016, thank you for your resilience, courage and drive. Your turn to disrupt.”

Young Enterprise Chief Executive Terry Shubkin says the programme has gone from strength to strength: “For two years running Venture Up has provided these bright young leaders with a place to really take the trainer wheels off and see what passion, drive and perseverance can create in only 6 weeks. The programme is a huge opportunity to get a foothold within the Wellington startup community – connecting teams with business mentors who want to see the next generation of entrepreneurs thrive, whether starting their own businesses or as switched on and driven future employees.”

youth entrepreneurs nz

One such business mentor for the 2016 programme was Jessica Venning Byran, Flick General Manager of Brand, who says it has been inspiring to see the students really embrace the potential of a business career, and particularly an entrepreneurial business career at such a young age. “I was so impressed with the drive and gumption of all of them. Having more people in the business community with a really strong entrepreneurial ethos is only going to spell amazing things for Wellington and the whole of New Zealand.”

Venture Up is generously supported by the Minisitry of Youth Development, Callaghan Innovation, The Young Enterprise Trust, Wellington City Council and Victoria University of Wellington. 2017 is set to be the first year Venture Up will run an Auckland and Wellington programme in tandem, with both programmes open to high school leavers from around the country. You can find out more about the programme at

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