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From Bright Sparks To Leading Lights

From Bright Sparks To Leading Lights

Next week marks the launch of spark*: The University of Auckland Entrepreneurship Challenge.

Aimed at turning first-class ideas into world-class businesses, spark* is an innovative student-led programme offering all students, graduates and staff of the University the chance to compete for a prize pool of $50,000.

spark* will be launched on Thursday, May 8 with a gala event in the Marquee, Old Government House on the University's City campus.

Spark* starts the following week with Vision to Business, a free course that delivers the kinds of entrepreneurial skills needed to foot it in the business world.

Taught by staff of The University of Auckland Business School and business practitioners, the course will provide information on topics such as selecting a business idea, intellectual property rights, marketing and financing a venture. The course runs for 13 weeks and consists of one 2 hour evening session per week. Participants can attend all lectures, or only those of specific interest to them.

Vision to Business leads into a $10K Challenge whereby teams submit a business profile from their enterprising ideas, which could win them one of ten $1000 awards.

Bolder teams can enter the $40K Challenge requiring them to submit a more detailed business creation plan. Initially teams will submit a business profile from which 10 finalists will be selected. These finalists go on to receive extensive mentoring to help them enhance the robustness of their final plans. The winning team will receive $20,000 plus time in The ICEHOUSE valued at $10,000, and the runner-up will receive $10,000 to develop their businesses

All plans and profiles will be judged by successful industry practitioners from a wide range of fields. As an added bonus, $40K finalists have the opportunity to present to leading angel investors and venture capitalists.

spark* is modelled on successful initiatives run at MIT (USA) and Cambridge University. Billions of dollars have been generated by these competitions and the organisers believe that all the elements are in place to produce similar successes in the Auckland region.

spark* is run by The Postgraduate Students Association, in conjunction with The ICEHOUSE and The University of Auckland Business School. Foundation sponsors include the Edwards Charitable Trust and Microsoft NZ.

For more information about spark*: The University of Auckland Entrepreneurship Challenge, visit

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