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Velocity Named Academic Initiative Of The Year

The University of Auckland's long-standing Velocity programme, a beacon of entrepreneurial development in New Zealand, has won the Global Entrepreneurship Network New Zealand (GEN NZ) award for Academic Initiative of the Year.

GEN NZ is an international organisation created to strengthen entrepreneurship around the world. Chairperson Dave Moskovitz says helping students attain hands-on experiential education in entrepreneurship is a key ingredient in transforming Aotearoa into an entrepreneurial powerhouse.

"Velocity's outcomes speak for themselves – it's a fantastic programme. At GEN NZ, we like to see initiatives that encourage community collaboration that brings together diverse people and skills, and Velocity does this well. Velocity faced some stiff competition for this award, but they certainly deserved the win."

Darsel Keane, the director of the Business School’s Centre for Entrepreneurship and Education (CIE), which delivers the Velocity programme, was thrilled to accept the award at the GridAKL Future Lab event.

"I'm delighted to receive this on behalf of the many staff, students, alumni, volunteers, business leaders and sponsors that make Velocity possible," she said.

"It's a huge community effort, and it's so special to be recognised by the community we serve."

Velocity (previously Spark) is New Zealand's longest-running university entrepreneurship development programme, delivered by the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in partnership with a student-led committee and supported by New Zealand's business community.

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Each year, Velocity offers a year-long comprehensive programme, free of charge, to students and staff of all faculties of the University of Auckland.

Participants can choose which parts of the programme they wish to partake in, from inspirational seminars to workshops to start-up planning competitions. Its flagship Velocity $100k Challenge competition offers a share of a $100,000 prize pool, which includes places in the six-month Venture Lab incubator, where start-up ideas are brought to life.

Over its 20-year history, more than 10,000 people have participated in the Velocity programme and an audit last year showed that alumni from CIE have ignited 276 ventures, created 3,260 jobs and raised more than $1.39 billion in capital. Most of these results have stemmed from its legacy programme, Velocity.

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