Building Back Better

A serious injury on a job site almost ended single parent Joseph Chapman’s career as a tradesman. But the Start Me Up accelerator programme got him off a benefit and on track to build something new.

Jointly facilitated by Ministry of Awesome and ThincLab Canterbury, the Start Me Up programme aims to support beneficiaries into running their own small businesses. The course starts with an open online classroom format that takes participants through business fundamentals. This is followed by a live accelerator component offering a tailored in-person approach to those selected. In 2022 there will be two accelerator cohorts, allowing wider participation. The course is open to residents of Christchurch, Selwyn and Ashburton.

Joseph, a self-confessed handyman who loves helping people, said that Start Me Up had provided the additional business skills he needed to get his property maintenance business up and running. With the retired, elderly population increasing and most local trades people tied up constructing hundreds of new homes across Canterbury at present, it was a market with unlimited potential. Most of his work came via word-of-mouth referrals or through his Facebook page. But he says Start Me Up got him thinking about the ways he could scale up to employing a small team in future.

Paul Spence and Geoff Brash, advisors from ThincLab Canterbury were involved in facilitation of the programme in 2021 and will be rejoining the presenter lineup once again in 2022. Topics covered will include entrepreneur well-being, validation of problem / customer / solution, revenue streams and market channels, interwoven with personal anecdotes and learnings sourced from the actual prior business experience of the tutors. Local guest entrepreneurs also drop by to share their experiences and enrich the learning.

Start Me Up is supported by Ministry of Social Development and ChristchurchNZ with the assistance of CECC and local Councils.