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Talented students to attend entrepreneur course

10 April 2008

Talented students to attend entrepreneur course

Up-and-coming Wellington businessmen Daniel Crabtree and Benjamin Matthewson are off to Silicon Valley for an entrepreneurs’ course.

Offered funding for the course by the Foundation of Research, Science and Technology (FRST), they will be the only two New Zealanders attending the 2008 Stanford Graduate School of Business Summer Institute for Entrepreneurship.

“This is a pilot project which if continued, will help to build the pool of science entrepreneurs in New Zealand. The two students participating in this years course are very talented, will benefit greatly through professional development and are likely to make a large contribution in the future,” says Jonathan Miller, Commercialisation Manager for FRST.

Daniel Crabtree is currently working on a PhD at Victoria University in computer science, focusing on improving the quality of web search results. He also runs several web-related businesses, is applying for a patent for his PhD research and has communicated his research internationally.

He was awarded a prestigious Top Achiever Doctoral Scholarship in 2005 for his PhD studies. Upon completing the research later this year, he intends to pursue the expansion of his businesses.

Benjamin Matthewson is six months away from finishing his PhD at Victoria in chemistry, looking at the proteins—or building machines—inside seashells. He’s also studying a graduate diploma in commerce, and says leadership, innovation and amalgamating science and business are among his interests.
He was awarded a Curtis-Gordon Research Scholarship in Chemistry last year for excellence in Victoria’s School of Chemical and Physical Sciences.

“The course is basically all the things you need to know to run a business. It will help me with my transition from student, academic researcher and small business operator to entrepreneur,” says Mr Crabtree.

“The intense nature and short duration of the course is ideal, as it provides the perfect opportunity to capture the academic theory, while not delaying the expansion of my businesses,” he says.
Mr Matthewson says: “Given the small population of New Zealand, companies have to be very good to succeed. Furthermore, to grow they must operate in the worldwide arena. The international perspective available through this course would be invaluable for providing insight into this arena.”

The pair will attend the four-week course, beginning this June, each with funding from FRST worth US$9,000.

They were first alerted to the opportunity by Sophie Dalziel, Business Development Manager at VicLink—Victoria University’s commercial arm. Victoria University’s Faculty of Science and VicLink will share the cost of the pair’s flights to the United States.


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