Callaghan Innovation is a government agency which supports the commercialisation of innovation. UC Engineering will host Callaghan Innovation on Thursday 7 May from 4-6pm in Undercroft 101. At the UC hosted event, Chris Thomson, CI Aviaton Sector Manager and C-Prize organiser will be speaking.
One of the company’s main projects is to advance the development, and application of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technologies in NZ. This will be especially useful in the developing industry of New Zealand film-making. This year Callaghan Innovation will be running NZ’s first C-Prize competition to develop the “next generation of UAV technology for the screen industry”. The competition winners will receive $50,000 and an expense paid trip to the 2016 NAB show in Las Vegas! Check out the event on Facebook….
Jorgen Ellis has triumphed with his companyKitset Assembly Services before he’s even finished his commerce degree at the University of Canterbury. Having worked in a home improvement store, Jorgen was constantly asked by customers if they offered a service to assemble their purchases. After hearing the request so frequently and repeatedly having to turn them down, Jorgen decided there was certainly a market for it and started up on his own.
It’s a genius idea – nobody likes assembling things like furniture, shelves, office equipment or exercise equipment. Buying these things seems like such a good idea and then you get home and have to decipher instruction manuals and an overwhelming number of components – a headache for most people. Jorgen has capitalised on this, with his business offering assembly services for hundreds of items as well as delivery if required.
Jorgen says there is a huge demand for assembly of one item in particular “It’s garden sheds. You know, Kiwis love their garden sheds, but they definitely hate putting them together”. The most peculiar item he’s been asked to assemble is a shoe rack “It only took about two minutes, so that was an unusual one”.
Having been up and running for only 11 months, Kitset Assembly Services already employs three assembly specialists and has partnerships with retailers such as PlaceMakers, Freedom, Briscoes and Mitre 10, just to name a few. Currently based in Christchurch, Jorgen hopes to establish the business in Auckland in the next year.
As managing director of the business, Jorgen is now a very busy guy. He still has one year of his commerce degree to go, but is currently taking the year off to focus on developing the business.
Jorgen puts his success down to having drive and passion, as well as the expert help of UC Innovators and entré. As part of the UC Innovators Summer Start-Up Scholarship programme Jorgen received a $5000 scholarship as well as access to amazing business mentors. He also entered the entré $85k challenge, winning $5000 worth of business advisory services from PWC among other prizes.
If you have an idea for a business like Jorgen did, his advice is simple, “Just do it, take every opportunity you get, you’ve got nothing to lose”.
Entré is a not-for-profit University of Canterbury company, run by students for all tertiary students in the Canterbury region. If you think you’ve got an amazing, innovative idea that could change the world then you should definitely join entré!
Entré exists to foster an entrepreneurial spirit, to encourage innovation and creativity and to educate students on the basic elements of business development. They offer workshops and seminars teaching how to progress your business idea further and hopefully turning it into reality.
There are three competitions run by entré – the APPS Challenge, the Napkin Challenge and the $85k Challenge. Together the competitions cover all bases – whether you simply have a cool idea or if you’re committed to making it happen. You could win an iPad Air for simply entering your business idea in the Napkin Challenge, which is currently running! Entries close 5pm March 18.
The $85k Challenge is perfect if you are serious about going ahead with your business idea, but need help to get it off the ground. You could win your share of $85,000 (surprise surprise) to kick-start your business. Applications open March 23.
And finally the APPS Challenge is designed for those of you who really know your apps. If you see a gap in the market, then this is the competition for you. You can win awesome prizes just for an idea and who knows – it may even lead you to develop the app. Competition dates TBA.
Entré has helped so many students launch their business ideas, such as Lucy Player-Bishop with her company TutorMatch which I wrote about in my previous blog post, and Jorgen Ellis with his business Kitset Assembly Services, who I will also be doing a post on very soon. Lucy has a Law degree with Honours and is now finishing her BA, and Jorgen is studying Commerce. Lucy admits that she had very little knowledge about business before the entré $85k Challenge, whereas Jorgen had some understanding of business through his studies. These two students demonstrate how entré helps students launch great ideas into successful businesses – whether you have prior business knowledge or not.
If you’re keen and want to join, you can sign up online here. If you’re interested in learning more, the entré grand launch is tonight in the Undercroft from 7pm. You can also keep up to date with everything entré on their Facebook page.