1. What is Live the Dream?
Live the Dream is a 9-week accelerator programme for people who feel passionately committed to helping solve a problem in our world. The programme develops your capabilities as a social entrepreneur, and you use those new skills to develop a venture – which could be an idea, project, or social business – that helps solve the problem you feel passionately about.
Here’s an example: one of our participants last year felt passionately about helping end treatable blindness in the Pacific Islands. The venture she developed over the course of Live the Dream was an ethical mascara, sales from which fund sight-restoring surgeries. Your issue could be voter turnout, climate change, youth unemployment, or something else entirely. And you might already know what your proposed solution is – which is great – but if you don’t, you’re still eligible to apply.
For nine jam-packed weeks, you’ll be given access to space and networks, connections, professional and personal training, workshops, heaps of mentors and the opportunity to live your dream and make your idea flourish. You’ll leave Live the Dream with a venture that might be ready to launch, or might be something you keep developing after the programme ends.
The aim of the project is to develop you as a social entrepreneur, help you develop a venture that will address a social, economic, or environmental problem, and to help you have an impact on your community, New Zealand, or the wider world! It’s an invaluable experience and the skills you gain will be useful in whatever you decide to tackle next.
2. How do I get picked for it?
Apply on our website by 7th August 2016.
We’ll shortlist teams from there, and call you in for an interview, with shortlisted teams announced 26th August 2016.
This year, all shortlisted applicants will attend Festival for the Future (Sept 23–25, AKL). Your journey starts here!
3. What types of people will be accepted?
We’re looking for committed teams. You don’t need an ‘idea’ as such, just a passion for problem-solving.
We want to help you develop something that has the potential to create significant social, environmental and economic benefits. We want to help you create a better world!
Your passion, drive, and commitment to the programme is just as important as any ‘idea’, and with delving deeper into the problem you’re trying to solve there’s a very strong chance you’ll pivot anyway. We need you to commit to the full 9 weeks, and to be on location for four full working days a week. We’ll prioritise applicants who make their commitment clear.
4. What kind of person is best-suited to Live the Dream? Do I need to be an "entrepreneur"?
You don’t need a business or entrepreneurial brain to apply to Live the Dream. What’s much more important is your passion and drive to solve the social or environmental issue you want to tackle, and your commitment to giving us 9 weeks to intensively work with you, to help develop your solution.
The benefit of applying to Live the Dream as a team is the potential for a whole range of different skill sets. Ideally, you’d be looking for skills like business sense, marketing, design, operations, good hustling, creativity, innovation, and awareness of social and environmental issues. But almost any skill will be an asset, and it depends on the problem you want to solve – if your solution requires some scientific or technical know-how, then you’ll need to make sure that kind of person’s on board.
Other than extremely niche specialist skills, we can support you to help round out your team with things like marketing, design, social media, and business model advice.
5. How well-developed should my idea be?
You don’t need an already developed venture or social enterprise idea to take part in Live the Dream, though those are most welcome, and we’d love to hear from you if you’ve already got an idea ready to go.
What you do need is a clear sense of the problem in our society that you’d like to tackle, and a real passion for tackling it. You can develop your solution as you progress through Live the Dream, and we hope you’ll have a venture idea developed by the end of the 9 weeks – which might be ready to launch, or might be ripe for further development after you leave the programme.
6. What exactly is a "venture"? What’s a social entrepreneur?
Social entrepreneurs are society’s change agents; pioneering innovations that benefit humanity. A social entrepreneur is someone who recognises a social problem and uses entrepreneurial principles to organise, create, and manage a venture that creates social change. Social entrepreneurs are to complex social and environmental problems what entrepreneurs are to traditional business.
A venture is a way for a social entrepreneur to tackle a problem – in the same way that a business is likely to be the way that a traditional entrepreneur tackles one. Google says a venture is a “risky or daring journey or course of action”. Our definition, is that a venture is early-stage and often pre-business model. It’s an idea that people commit to actually having a go at implementing – and it could be something like a project, event, or start-up. It’s an experiment in search of validation and a viable enterprise model.
Read more definitions on our About page.
7. Who owns my ideas?
You do. We’ll give you some resources to help you work out how to structure your own agreements as a team or company, but we won’t take a cut.
It’s your dream. Live it like you own it!
8. Is there a fee to participate?
Yes – the full cost of $3,000 per participants has been heavily subsidised thanks to generous sponsorship. The programme fee per participant is now $500, which includes your ticket to Festival for the Future as well as all training and development during the full 9-week programme.
It’s an amazing personal development opportunity with strong networking and hands-on practical learning, which costs less than doing a paper at University.
We require a $100 deposit before September 8th, with the remaining $400 by no later than 14th October.
9. What other costs might be involved?
There are a couple of things you should prepare for.
You’ll have to pay your living costs for the summer.
This year, for the first time, we’ve implemented one “content-free day” a week, each Friday throughout the programme. While most people will be keen to use this day as interrupted time to work on their venture, it also gives you one working day (as well as both weekend days) if you have a summer job to pay your living expenses. We hope this extra day will make Live the Dream more accessible to more people.
We also recommend you check in with WINZ about any help they might be able to give you – depending on your situation. Unfortunately we are not able to provide help for, or field questions about, asking WINZ for support – as we’re a very small team and don’t have time/resources to help everyone secure funding for living costs. It is up to you to work with WINZ or anyone else to help secure funding for yourself to live over summer.
Live the Dream is run in three cities, and you don’t have to apply for the city in which you usually live. So if you’ve got a friend, family member, or family friend in one of the three cities who you could stay with rent-free, or at reduced rent, you should definitely hit them up.
The other thing you might need money for is initial capital to get your venture off the ground. Ideally, it’d be great for people to fundraise up to $1000 to have in reserve for capital for their venture – just in case you incur any start-up costs. Past participants have asked friends and family, and even successfully crowdfunded, to get a little bit of money to have in reserve during Live the Dream.
10. Is it full-time?
This is a real chance to make an impact – we’re going to do everything we can to throw as much resources at you as possible.
9 weeks is a short time so we are looking for full commitment during the accelerator program.
The hours of the programme are 9am-5pm, Monday-Thursday each week, inclusive. A commitment to attendance is required for a successful application, and hours aren’t flexible (i.e. you can’t make them up at weekends or in the evenings, as the rest of the crew won’t be around then!).
There will be a content-free day every Friday, where you’re welcome to come in and spend the day working on your venture, or you can work if you need to.
11. Can I have a summer job as well?
Your commitment to Live the Dream will be Monday-Thursday inclusive, 9am-5pm So any time outside of those hours is yours.
Attendance during those hours is compulsory, and commitment to that will be required for a successful application.
12. Where will the summer accelerator programme be held?
For the first time, we’re in three cities this summer! Auckland’s chapter will be held at AUT, Wellington’s at Victoria University (Vivian Street campus), and Christchurch’s at CPIT.
You can apply for whichever city you like, no matter where in New Zealand you normally live. We’d encourage you to apply for the city where you can live most cheaply over summer – i.e. if there’s someone you can hit up for free or reduced rent (like your mum!).
13. What does an average day in Live the Dream look like?
It’s a bit of a mix. But there’s a combination of guest speakers, mentor sessions, and workshop time. You’ll be taken through a process and curriculum for developing, testing, and building your idea. And working alongside a crew who are on the same journey as you will make it all the more fun!
Check out our How it Works page for a week-by-week breakdown of the curriculum, as well as an idea of your average week.
14. Where do I live while I’m doing Live the Dream?
You’re responsible for organising and paying for your own accommodation.
Live the Dream is run in three cities – Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch – and you can apply for whichever chapter you like. You don’t have to apply for the city in which you usually live. So if you’ve got a friend, family member, or family friend in one of the three cities who you could stay with rent-free, or at reduced rent, you should definitely hit them up.
15. What happens after graduation?
The future is yours to create. We’re hoping your newly created ventures will be flourishing. You’ll have new networks and skills, great mentors, proof of concept, viable enterprise model and a clear path for scale. You and the team have started something amazing, anything is possible!
We’ll support you as and where we can going forward. This year, it meant supporting some graduates of the programme with advice, mentoring, and free desk space to work from. Basically, if we can help you keep developing your venture after you graduate from Live the Dream, we will.
We’ll also organise some social hang-outs for you and the other participants to check in with each other.
Some past participants are now working on their ventures full-time! Others are continuing to develop theirs alongside work or study. So who knows where living your dream will take you.
16. How will Live the Dream benefit me and my study or work prospects?
Businesses, products and services that do, or are, “good”, are at the forefront of global entrepreneurial thinking right now.
Millennials, more than any generation before them, value jobs and purchases that are good, transparent, and ethical – and the marketplace is organising itself around those ideals.
This means that social entrepreneurship capabilities, creative and innovative thinking, and knowledge about ethical business and corporate social responsibility, are increasingly valued in the employment market.
Live the Dream will look great on your CV and give you an advantage when applying for jobs.
But more importantly, through the 9-week programme you’ll actually get the goods to back it up. You’ll learn processes and models for taking something from idea to reality that will stand you in good stead for whatever you do next. And you’ll have increased capability to take on the social or environmental issue you’re passionate about.
17. What are past alumni doing now?
Six months from now, you – like some of our alumni – could be getting ready to work full or part time on your venture. It might spark a career change, or help you be more creative and innovative in your chosen field of work or study. The skills you learn during Live the Dream will be transferable to any route you take.
18. Why do I need a team?
We recommend a team of 2-4 people for a couple of reasons. First of all, it brings you a broader range of skills to draw on, which is important in the time-condensed, 9-week accelerator format. You can learn lots of things – but not how to do everything.
Second, in a situation where you might be out of your comfort zone sometimes, and learning a lot of stuff in a short space of time, being part of a team helps to take some of the pressure off. You can share the work between you, and you’ll always have people to share with when you’re having a busy day.
You can apply to Live the Dream without a team if you like, and in previous years, people have worked on one-person teams. However, their feedback has been that the content was a lot to get through alone. If you’d like to apply as an individual, you still can – but we’ll be keen to have a chat to you about your capacity for the workload and how you’ll be supported through the programme.
Basically, if you can get someone onboard for the full 9 weeks, who shares your vision, do!
19. What if I’m keen for a summer internship on Live the Dream?
Awesome! We’ll be advertising in October (after Live the Dream applications close) for interns, 1-2 days a week, in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.
You can read more on our website, which is where any internship opportunities will be posted.
Please not that only those who are able to commit to two days a week during business hours (between 9a.m. and 5p.m. on two days a week, Monday-Thursday inclusive) for the full 9 weeks of Live the Dream will be considered for internships. If you can’t commit to 16 hours a week during business hours, Monday-Thursday (can be spread across a few days, or condensed into two days a week), please do not apply. We are unable to accept candidates who are only available in the evenings and at weekends.
20. Can our team be split between two cities, or can members take turns attending?
No to both of those questions, sorry! We’ve tried it before, and we find the decision-making and team dynamics don’t work well unless everyone’s in the same place at the same time. You’ve got to have your whole crew together in the same place for the whole programme. Trust us – you’ll have more fun that way!
21. Do I need to be a certain age?
Live the Dream attracts a diverse range of young people driven to solve the pressing problems our world faces – its for school leavers, tertiary students and young professionals aged 18-30.
Please be aware that while the programme fits neatly within uni holidays, it would cross into the high school term at both the beginning and the end of the programme – and you’d need to be there for the full nine weeks.
22. What if I have more questions?
Drop us a line – we’ll do our best to get back to you within 48 hours.