In a world where creativity, community and collaboration are increasingly the basis for new innovation, it has been a joy to witness the next generation of entrepreneurs emerging through the University of Canterbury Centre for Entrepreneurship (UCE) Summer Startup Programme. ThincLab Canterbury advisors have got to know many of the teams, in our capacity as mentors, speakers and pitch coaches over the last few months. Last week’s showcase event put the top twelve ventures up on stage with an opportunity to tell their story in front of an enthusiastic live (and virtual) audience.
From “immersive space tourism” to compostable bioplastics to a relationship advice app for teens, the fertile young minds of the 21/22 cohort expanded to fill the void across wide intersections of technology, environmental and social good initiatives. A special nod went to Holly Millar’s Dam Good Idea, collecting the “Presentation Award” on the night from UC Business School head Paul Ballantine and Showcase organiser Lisa Martin (pictured above). Particularly appropriate and well earned, not only because of the important health issue being addressed, but also after her graceful recovery from an inadvertent technical glitch due to a flat microphone battery.
Keynote speaker, Summer Programme grad and ThincLab alumnus Luke Campbell reminded us that, “it takes a village to raise a startup”. Nowhere has this been more true with so many supporters from across the Canterbury innovation ecosystem freely contributing their time in some way towards the Summer Startup Programme. The brainchild of UCE founder Dr Rachel Wright, next year will be the 10th anniversary of the programme. Let’s hope conditions will allow us to make the Showcase one of the most glittering and inspiring live startup community events on next year’s calendar.