When we started planning Live the Dream it seemed impossible. I’d tried to get it off the ground the previous year, unsuccessfully pitching it to one of the big banks to come on board as a partner because there was ‘too much risk’ for them. I became increasingly aware of the unrivalled passion, energy and idealism that young people have and thought New Zealand could be doing a better job of supporting this. And that, whilst we had great supports for high growth commercial enterprise there were big gaps around supporting more holistic entrepreneurship for social and/or environmental impact.
So in 2013 in the lead up to our third Festival for the Future, on the back of a lot of conversations and research looking at various social enterprise accelerator type programmes it felt like the right time to take the next step. Even though we had no resource to make it happen, we put a stake in the ground and made a commitment. We built the brand & website, and put the call out for for ideas all with less than $1,000 – still with no way to resource a programme, but knowing that we would do whatever it took to make it happen. If we didn’t take that risk, Live the Dream wouldn’t exist.
Fast-forward to now and the partners who share our vision and stepped up to support have been amazing. The participants and their early-stage ventures have gone from strength-to-strength. I love this piece of feedback from Otago participant, Lindsey Horne who has moved her life to Wellington for summer to take part – “I honestly feel like I’ve learned more in past 7 weeks than in the past 3 years at university.”
We’re now in the final three weeks of the programme. From here those teams that have ‘validated’ their idea will fine tune their business models and strategy moving forwards. We’re also working towards our ‘Final Showcase’ event for 19th February in Wellington – drop Charlotte a line if you’re keen to come along. RSVP’s are essential.
It’s common knowledge that 90% of start-ups fail, but whether it’s the third, fourth or fifth venture – the amount of applied professional development these guys have had has been amazing, and whatever they go on to do they’ll be in good stead. Even though it’s still early days, Live the Dream has already exceeded expectations. I honestly feel like the scope for this type of programme is huge – there’s no reason why this couldn’t be rolled out on campus in every region of New Zealand. Imagine the possiblities!