This week I had the pleasure of working along side Zechariah Reuelu and Laurie Wilson to judge Whitieria’s entrepreneurship programme "Shark Tank" or student project pitch event.
Being involved in these types of events is a great way to give back to community. But it is by no means a one way street.
I came away with a whole bunch of things to reflect on that can I can apply to the development of Sub Urban as a sustainable social enterprise, as well as my own personal learning.
Of the 4 students teams most were from overseas - English is their second language and NZ is definitely a different culture. Their perceptions on a market for their business idea was a reflection on this. That was by no means a disadvantage - one of the teams proposed creating an app that would connect visitors to farm experiences (Farm U and Me) - enabling visitors to connect what they eat with where it comes from. Something perhaps New Zealanders take for granted - but could be a real draw card for asian tourists.
Whitireia is a wonderfully diverse tertiary provider with strong community links. And although another of the teams, Polywaka, didn’t articulate it in their pitch, their idea to create a pacific island experience that would bring tourists to Porirua was a fantastic social enterprise concept. Their passion for making the best of what Porirua had to offer was infectious.
Was there blood in the water in the shark tank? Well no, not really. The students did a great job of presenting and were pretty resilient to critical feedback :)
There were a couple of key points that Laurie, Zechariah and I really hoped the students would take away from this experience:
* Do your market research - who are your competitors and define your market. Zechariah fed back to the students that “data is the new currency”. Great quote I thought.
* And lastly, and most importantly, spend more time on your financial projections and assumptions. There were a bunch of great ideas but as “playing the role of investors" we did not have the information to enable us to to determine if the idea was going to fly.
And the winner? Joint Highly Commended to Polywaka and Farm U and Me and Commended to The Unique Paper Bag Company and Food Mate.
Well done Whitiriea students! And I hope to have the pleasure of being part of the Shark Tank judging panel next year.
Kathleen from Sub Urban