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Growth Through Innovation

Growth Through Innovation helping young business innovators

Visit to, Level 1, 40 Drake St, Victoria Park, Auckland, 10.30am, May 9

People like young founders of successful business, Dylan Bland and Matthew Crockett, could be New Zealand's answer to Bill Gates, Youth Affairs and Small Business Minister John Tamihere said.

Mr Tamihere said the Government's Growth Through Innovation framework recognised that New Zealanders had lots of good ideas and innovative thinking which must be given the opportunities and support to be turned into successful businesses, jobs and sustainable economic growth.

Dylan, 21, and Matthew, 20 (the same age Bill Gates was when he founded Microsoft with childhood friend Paul Allen) were a great example of how innovative thinking could be translated into commercial success, Mr Tamihere said. was born when Dylan tried finding a flat in Auckland and failed. Finding a flat using the traditional methods of newspapers, public notice boards and word of mouth was time-consuming and expensive. Searching the Internet found no effective or affordable solution, so Dylan decided to create one himself:

Inspired by initiatives he saw in industries like jobsearching, Dylan formed a team with fellow twenty-somethings ,Matthew and Simon Garner of Expio Communications, to build, promote and run as a free service primarily designed for young people like themselves to find better flats and flatmates faster.

"Taking the hassle out of flatting is what is about," Dylan says.

The team believes, from their own bitter experience, that who you live with is just as important as where you live and what it costs. is unique because it not only gives searchers a quick summary of facts under basic criteria such as location and price, but also includes more detailed information other search methods miss out, such as "Is there a washing machine?" and preferences of existing flatmates (questions like "Is this a party flat or a library?" "Are we rugby-loving meat-eaters or peace-loving vegans?")

Dylan says such information can be crucial to determining whether a flat is the right one for you, and ensuring the flat you get is one you feel comfortable in. Having that information has saved thousands of users of the free, nationwide service time and money looking at flats that aren't right for them. And for landlords and those advertising for flatmates, there is no more trying to squeeze all the details into three lines in newspaper ad and fielding scores of calls from unsuitable candidates.

Mr Tamihere said it was fantastic to see someone come up with such an effective to solution to a problem recognised by anyone who has ever sought flatmates.

"If I had used's services, maybe I wouldn't be flatting with Dover and Damian." (Mr Tamihere "flats" with parliamentary colleagues Dover Samuels and Damian O'Connor in Wellington when he is away from his family home in Auckland.)

Mr Tamihere said the success of demonstrated the potential for young people's positive attitudes and good business ideas to be put into reality that had benefits for all New Zealanders.

"'Smart growth,' using innovative ideas and technology, is sustainable growth that creates greater economic certainty in an increasingly uncertain global economy," Mr Tamihere said.

Mr Tamihere will be visiting at Level 1, 40 Drake St, Victoria Park at 10.30am on Friday, May 9. Media are welcome to attend.

Dylan Bland is available for comment

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