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Specialised Start-Up Support Continues For 25 Covid-Impacted Jobseekers

25 jobseekers with aspirations of starting their own business have been selected to take part in a specialised accelerator programme giving them direct access to local mentors, start-up specialists and seven weeks of business masterclasses to develop and test their idea.

The accelerator programme is the second phase of Start Me Up, an initiative aimed at supporting jobseekers to explore what it takes to start their own business.

Badass Brownies, one of the Accelerator participants aims to employ women seeking work experience to help them secure a job, these low allergen brownies give back to your community, as well as your taste buds!

Hive Mind Education will also take part in the Accelerator with their idea for an after-school programme teaching beekeeping to the next generation.

The Accelerator participants have all completed the first phase of Start Me Up, which included weekly online sessions during February and March, covering the basics of starting a business.

The second phase will follow the same learning framework introduced in the first phase but drills deeper into each component. At the end of this, participants will be able to develop a complete in-depth business plan .

Out of all the applicants that applied for the second phase, 25 were selected based on the sustainability of their business idea, the customer demand, and the strength and ambition of the applicant. Boyd Warren, ChristchurchNZ General Manager of Business Growth and Innovation, said the programme had grown the confidence and skills of participants to take their idea to the next stage.

“In typical Christchurch fashion the city’s business community has pulled together to share knowledge and support this group of potential entrepreneurs. Already participants have a network of contacts across the city to lend advice and provide them with the best chance of success – we’re looking forward to seeing some great partnerships, business opportunities and new jobs come out of this initiative,” said Warren.

Many who attended the Online Course said it helped them learn fundamental business knowledge, gain new skills for employability and most importantly build the confidence they need to embark on their self-employment journey.

Participants also found the online support network created for the participants during the course valuable. With a community of engaging and highly-motivated members, the Start Me Up online community is a place for all participants to connect, get feedback and share progress.

“It’s great to see the 25 participants have gained the skills to accompany their aspirations in starting their own business and can now progress to the Accelerator stage of the programme. The Accelerator aims to further develop the skills needed to start and run a successful business and we look forward to seeing their business success,” says Ministry of Social Development Canterbury Regional Commissioner Diane McDermott.

Upon the completion of the Accelerator programme, the participants will be invited to a graduation ceremony to celebrate their success with whānau and friends. MSD will work with participants who are eligible to source additional financial support through Flexi-Wage. They will also receive business mentorship from Business Mentors NZ and additional support from Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce.

Start Me Up is delivered through a partnership with the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) and ChristchurchNZ, and delivered by incubator ThincLab at the University of Canterbury’s Business School and startup hub Ministry of Awesome. The programme is also supported by Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce, Te Puni Kōkiri, Ashburton District Council, Selwyn District Council and Westpac.

See the list of 25 participants selected into the Accelerator on Start Me Up website.

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