The quick rundown
Live the Dream is a social entrepreneurship accelerator programme for young New Zealanders to develop ventures that change the world. Each summer, a cohort of Kiwis aged 18-30 embark on a 9-week, full-time programme with an emphasis on developing their social entrepreneurship skills and understanding, and finding ways to solve pressing issues, create social impact, and ensure a venture’s sustainability and scalability. Live the Dream is now in its third year, and runs in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch.
How it works
Candidates from around New Zealand applied to take part in Live the Dream, as either solo founders or teams, with an idea of the social or environmental issue they’d like to tackle. Some already have a sense of what form their social venture to address the issue might take, though having a prepared venture is not compulsory. After a selection process that involves a written application and interview, successful candidates begin the free-of-charge programme at the end of November. Live the Dream runs full-time, four days a week, with a schedule made up of guest speakers, workshops, field trips to see social enterprise in action, one-on-one coaching and mentoring, and time to create and develop participants’ own ventures. Speakers, workshop hosts, and mentors include leaders in a range of for-profit and not for-profit fields, captains of industry, and other New Zealanders who are doing amazing things. Live the Dream wraps up with a final showcase, at which each participant or team pitches on their journey so far, the problem they’ve explored, and the possible solution, venture, or social enterprise idea they’ve come up with to solve it.
Live the Dream is run by registered nationwide charitable trust, Inspiring Stories, with a vision to see every young New Zealander unleash their potential to change the world.
The programme was first run in the summer of 2013/2014.
It was created by Inspiring Stories CEO and 2015 Young New Zealander of the Year, Guy Ryan.
Applications for summer 2015/2016 were the highest in the history of the programme.
Live the Dream is largely funded by the Ministry of Youth Development, as well as corporate partnerships with Kiwibank, KPMG, and other supporters, which allows participants to take part for free.
In 2015/16, the Christchurch programme is being run in partnership with Ngāi Tahu, who have contributed financial support and the services of a venture coach. Two Ngāi Tahu rangatahi are among the Christchurch chapter’s participants.
As well as Live the Dream, Inspiring Stories’ programmes include the annual national Festival for the Future, which attracts more than 500 young Kiwis who want to make a difference in the world, and the annual filmmaking competition, Making a Difference.
Many of our alumni are still working on their ventures created through Live the Dream – some of them full time – and others are now working in fields related to social entrepreneurship. You can read their stories on our site, but a few updates from last year’s participants include:
Bonnie Howland: working on her venture, Indigo & Iris, full-time. Aims to cure half of all treatable blindess in the Pacific by 2025. Nominated for the Women of Influence awards 2015; selected by US State Department to attend the 2015 Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Kenya; won a Kiwibank Local Heroes medal.
Bart de Vries and Connor Boyle: combining their passions for social entrepreneurship, healthy people, and good music, they’ve brought Rise & Shine morning rave dance parties to New Zealand in 2015 – run as a social enterprise.
Melody Guo: her venture, Future-E, was awarded a grant by the Youth Development Minister, Nikki Kaye.
Kahurangi Goulton and Easter Grieg: their venture, Pegit, was awarded a $5000 prize at the Social Enterprise Auckland Dragon’s Den pitch night.
Florence Reynolds: awarded a 2015 Youth Week Award at Parliament for her efforts to help end plastic waste, which also formed the basis for her Live the Dream venture.
Kaye Maree Dunn: finalist, Hutt City Community Safety Award 2015. Co-created the #rise2025 initiative, launched at Parliament in November 2015, to provide coaching and mentoring for indigenous women.
Why social entrepreneurship?
Live the Dream is New Zealand’s only dedicated youth social entrepreneurship accelerator. We believe it’s a critical skill for our young people to learn – both for their generation to be equipped to tackle the pressing issues we, as a planet, face, and because social entrepreneurship skills are increasingly valued in the jobs market – and in the global economy.
Social enterprise is predicted to grow into a $1 trillion sector by 2020, according to JP Morgan and Deloitte Monitor Institute. In Scotland, the sector now provides more than 112,000 jobs, and social enterprise now contributes 5% to Britain’s GDP. Consumers are increasingly demanding a positive social impact from businesses and goods they use and consume, and each generation is more demanding than the one before it of companies to provide transparency, accountability, and social good.
Young people are willing to take a risk to pursue their dreams of making the world a better place – and they’ve got the courage, drive, and energy to make it happen!
Live the Dream logos can be downloaded from our site. Please ask us before using them in any context where they will be placed alongside (or on the same poster/image/document/social media post) as other logos or brands. Our logo should be used on a white background only. We also have alumni and current participant photos available in high quality – please just get in touch if you need one.
For information about any alumni, story ideas, or interviews with Live the Dream creator Guy Ryan or other mentors or programme staff, please contact:
Charlotte Graham, Director of Brand, Marketing, and Communications
021 344 386, or firstname.lastname@example.org