“It’s been estimated that 50 percent of all jobs created in OECD countries over the last decade have been created by innovative young firms. There is an increasing need for workers to be able to create their own jobs.”
This mindset is driving EIT to adapt and extend beyond teaching business courses for students looking for full-time career employment. Now it’s also working to foster and nurture the development of students’ abilities to create new businesses and new jobs. “It is important that we develop students’ ability to adapt to an uncertain and unpredictable future,” says Jonathan.
Entrepreneurship@EIT is the School of Business’ response to this new world of work.
It has three elements, working with students and budding entrepreneurs at differing stages of their development. YES@EIT targets secondary school students; Entrepreneurs@EIT is for students at EIT; and Entrepreneurs Gym, which is currently in development, extends entrepreneurship development capabilities across business in Hawke’s Bay.
Managing the first two elements is Ben Deller, a Masters in Applied Management post-graduate student. He was one of the original founders of the business that has since grown to become NOW. In true entrepreneurial style, the Airnet NZ business started in Ben’s brother’s laundry.
Ben started studying at EIT in 2015 and through his involvement with the School of Business faculty, he came in on the ground floor of the programme’s development. He is employed on contract through his latest startup business, Workshopx Marketing. His role in the short term is to get Entrepreneurship@EIT off the ground and to create a framework to ensure it is authentic and sustainable.
“It’s amazing the ideas and existing businesses that students have. There’s incredible potential for some of them to be doing something really special. Our goal is to help them do that something special much earlier in their business career by supporting them through the programme,” said Ben.
YES@EIT, launched in 2017, aims to stimulate entrepreneurial interest by supporting the secondary schools’ Young Enterprise Scheme already running in the region through Hawke’s Bay Chamber of Commerce. (The Profit featured YES in its last issue.)
EIT staff provide teaching sessions through its Trades Academy to those schools that don’t offer a business curriculum and an increasing number of the business faculty act as mentors for teams.
Importantly, EIT has provided seeding capital by way of competitive small-scale grants, recognising that not all school teams have family connections or discretionary income to assist teams establishing their YES business. In 2018, 28 teams were granted a total of $8400. “It’s helped to level the playing field amongst the teams,” said Ben.
In addition, there have been a number of YES activities held on the EIT Hawke’s Bay campus, including the annual launch of the programme to students, and seminars focused on how to sell, how to pitch your business and social media marketing skills. Faculty members have also run classes and workshops in schools.
In 2019, EIT aims to launch the YES@EIT programme at its Tairāwhiti campus in Gisborne.
The second element, Entrepreneurs@EIT was launched on the Hawke’s Bay campus in September this year. Its objective is to assist students to launch new business ventures or to grow existing businesses while they study. On offer are skills development, mentoring, networking, business support and an ‘entrepreneurs’ clinic’ to assist aspiring entrepreneurs to develop their skills.
The free programme has been snapped up by students. Within a week, the Entrepreneurs@EIT Facebook page attracted nearly 100 members. The first Fortnightly Meetup on campus proved so successful that the allocated room wasn’t big enough and even more joined through the Facebook livestream. Business Hawke’s Bay CEO Carolyn Neville spoke on how to start a business and outlined the services offered through the Hawke’s Bay Business Hub.
“It was really satisfying and a form of validation to see the uptake at that first Meetup.”
Amongst the number joining are fashion students setting up their own clothing labels, tradies, hair and beauty students, and a number of marketing students keen to be in business, Ben said. Practical workshops have been requested by members and are being fleshed out.
The Entrepreneurs’ Clinic aims to develop self-awareness about a student’s entrepreneurial skills, capabilities, and importantly, what gaps they may have, says Ben, whose job it will then be to help develop a programme specifically to match their needs.
Ben is also responsible for helping the budding business owner with an industry-aligned mentor from the wider business community to support their business progress.
In addition, there are exclusive offers from businesses, such as membership of the Hawke’s Bay Chamber of Commerce at a 50 percent discount.
The third strand, the Entrepreneurs’ Gym is in its early stages. EIT has been exploring the concept of development capability with various other economic powerhouses in the region including territorial authorities, Business Hawke’s Bay, the Hawke’s Bay Angel Network and the Icehouse.
“The Gym will target those already in business and start-ups to build specific skills to boost their operations,” says Jonathan. “We’re also keen to identify potential high growth businesses that could be suitable for future support.”
Services would span training, mentoring, access to finance and related business services. EIT will initially focus on relevant micro-credentials. While still in development, these micro-credentials would likely focus on capital raising, negotiation and communications, and business planning. It is hoped that the Gym will be off the ground in 2019.