After months in the planning, we’re into it. From the 50+ ideas originally submitted and two rounds of interviews later, ten early-stage ventures have been invited to take part. Last weekend they connected up for the first time for an explosive weekend at Festival for the Future in Wellington. Now, they’re immersed in this the next ten weeks for this first-time social enterprise accelerator programme – welcome to Live the Dream!
We kicked off in perfect style with a keynote from Alex Hannant from Hikurangi, giving us a good context for social entrepreneurship & enterpise trends in New Zealand and abroad. It’s a tough road, but one that in a growing number of cases is proving considerable, scaleable impact on many of the pressing issues of our time.
From the get-go, we’re really pushing the crews to think about validation – to connect with a range of stakeholders and ask themselves, what’s the impact they’re trying to achieve here? Who for? And, is their proposed product/service going to deliver that impact?
If you’re an entrepreneur, a philanthropist, or just interested in making a difference – here’s a great recent talk from NZ’s TradeMe Founder, Sam Morgan on Designing for Impact:
Where are the teams at?
It’s early days. Twenty people make up the ten ventures taking part in the programme. About half have come from outside of Wellington, and about half have just finished their final year of University – the chance to take their final year project and have a good crack at turning it into a viable venture. None of the crews have run a business before, but everyone is hungry to learn. The amount of applied professional development that the crews will get over the next 10-weeks is significant. The aim is that by then end of the 10-weeks they have a proof of concept, a viable business model, great relationships and the confidience and commitment to make their dreams reality. But, regardless of whether their ventures succeed or fail (and 90% of start-ups do), they’ll be in good stead for all future endeavours!
One of this weeks’ big highlights for participants was the social lean canvas session with Dave Clearwater from Hikurangi. Dave calls it the ‘Lean Stack’ – a three-layered process to help identify and prioritise key risks & assumptions for your business model.
It’s early days, and already we’re seeing ventures pivot and transform. This can be really hard if you’re fixated on an idea, but I’m really impressed with the openess of all of the teams to change. One thing we’re working hard to build is a culture of openess, constructive criticism and generosity – and the ‘pot-luck’ lunch has been a help for this!