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25 UC students work on entrepreneurial projects over summer

25 UC students working on entrepreneurial projects over the summer

January 5, 2014

Twenty-five University of Canterbury (UC) students are working on entrepreneurial projects over the summer rather than relaxing at the beach.

The students are part of UC Innovation’s Hatchery and their summer scholarships allow them to delve further into their business ideas so they can become a reality.
UC’s Dr Chris Kirk, Director of Strategic Projects, says some of the concepts include teaching apps for students with disabilities, measuring coal stockpiles, exporting thar as meat, software tools for the construction sector, retail business for sports gear, a new type of roasting coffee company, clothes for rural women and delivering food to students flats.

The construction sector project aims to develop smart easy-to-use on-site apps to support health and safety on building projects and the students have already formed an alliance with major construction companies to fast-track implementation of their idea.

``The thar project is hugely ambitious. The students are scoping out the viability of a new export industry for New Zealand and the project has many parallels with the early stages of setting up the deer farming industry.

``The students retain all rights to their intellectual property. They are all co-located together in a new dedicated entrepreneurial space at the university called the Hatchery, the first of its kind in New Zealand.

``They have mentors to offer professional guidance and support at the Hatchery, managed by Dr Rachel Wright. Scholarships for this inaugural summer start-up programme were provided by a combination of external sponsors and the university.’’

One of the students, Hannah Duder, has produced a phone app, The Suggestion Box, which enables any business to gather useful customer feedback quickly and easily. Her entrepreneurial talent has developed with the help of the Hatchery. The app is now downloadable for Apple and android cellphones.

Another postgraduate student, Tariq Habibyar, is putting books in the hands of Afghan children through the virtual world and distributing to villages in Afghanistan as part of his PhD research project. He has a goal of seeing five million Afghan children having access to his books by 2020.

Commerce graduate student Kate Austin is working on a grocery shopping outlet that allows Canterbury farmers and growers to sell their goods direct to the customer, seven days a week. This hunters and gatherers scheme will allow Cantabrians to buy their groceries from the butcher, the baker and the fruit and vegetable shop all under one roof, knowing that it has come to the shelves directly and can be traced back to their origin.


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