Taking part in Live the Dream is an incredible opportunity to tackle a problem, help change the world, and really develop yourself. It’s a full-immersion programme, where you learn by doing. You get the chance to connect with dozens of entrepreneurs, social innovators, and leading professionals who share their valuable learning and insight through workshops and mentoring.

From better understanding the problem you’re trying to solve to how social enterprise business models and markets actually work; what it takes to build a successful venture or new revenue stream in an existing organisation; to getting up on stage and sharing your vision with an audience, and trying to rally their support.

We ultimately want you to complete Live the Dream with a toolset of transferable skills. You’ll come out having learnt a whole range of valuable entrepreneurial skills and processes that you can apply in any context. This is particularly important as employers these days increasingly put a premium on ethical business, corporate social responsibility, and innovative solutions; your new skills in these areas will make you an appealing prospect!

In 2016, we changed the programme to develop both social entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs. Taking part in Live the Dream is an opportunity for you to develop your own venture or work with an existing social enterprise or non-profit to help them solve problems.

You don’t have to have your venture ideas or be working with existing organisations already, before you apply. You just need a clear sense of the social or environmental problem you want to tackle. We’ll wrap support around you throughout the 9 weeks to help develop your solution to that problem, and to turn it into a venture or new revenue generating project for an organisation.

By the end of the programme, you’ll have tested your idea, developed a viable enterpise model, have a 90-day action plan, have developed a network of amazing mentors and friends, and pitched your idea.

Getting a social enterprise or any project off the ground is no easy feat, but it is possible. An immersive accelerator programme is the perfect environment to have a go at it!

What is social entrepreneurship and enterprise?

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.

An intrapreneur is an entrepreneur inside a larger organisation – often an employee within a company, who is assigned to work on a special idea or project, and they are instructed to develop the project like an entrepreneur would. Intrapreneurs often have the resources and capabilities of the firm at their disposal.

Social enterprises are ventures that use a business model to create social and environmental value. Social enterprises generate income through trading products or services, and the majority of any revenues are reinvested back in to their core mission.

Internationally, the social entrepreneurship and enterprise movement is growing and young people are playing a critical role. Millennials are more likely than any generation before them to make purchasing and work decisions on the basis of ethics or social good – so the appetite for products and services that do good is increasingly rapidly. The social impact investment market is expected to reach $1 trillion dollars by 2020, and high performing social enterprises will be a key vehicle for that investment.

Social enterprise is starting to gain momentum in New Zealand, with the government recognising the growth of the sector internationally and announcing its first official position and support towards developing the sector in 2014. In 2015, two representatives from New Zealand – Guy Ryan of Inspiring Stories, and Alex Hannant of the Akina Foundation – attended the Social Enterprise World Forum (SEWF)) in Milan, and co-presented a successful bid for New Zealand to host the World Forum. The SEWF will be hosted in New Zealand in October 2017 in Christchurch, which is being led by the Akina Foundation with support from a range of partners.


    Our economic, environmental and social challenges are unprecedented.
    In New Zealand, we have some fantastic structures set up to support high-growth commercial enterprise, but big gaps in supporting entrepreneurship for social and environmental impact.
    There is a time in a person’s life, especially when we’re under 30, when our ability to take risk is significant: we don’t have a family or a mortgage, but we do have big ambition, optimism, and drive.
    Every summer young people have time on their hands and Universities have space, which makes it the perfect environment for an accelerator.
    Social entrepreneurship and enterprise are proven and powerful ways to deliver transformational change in response to entrenched social and environmental problems.


  • Scotland takes a strong cross-government approach, and have invested nearly $40m in developing the sector. Their equivalent of New Zealand’s Minister of Finance and other key government leaders see social enterprise as a critical vehicle to deliver better social and environmental outcomes for the nation. Social enterprises in Scotland now employ more than 100,000 people, showing the wisdom of a country investing in the sector. In the UK, there are now 70,000 social enterprises, turning over £55 billion, employing 1m people and accounting for 5 per cent of GDP.
  • In Australia, they’re building a strong ecosystem of supports to better enable social enterprise. Its components include The Centre for Social Impact, which works across multiple universities; Social Ventures Australia; the Foundation for Young Australians, which runs independent of government with a focus on citizenship, social entrepreneurship, and enterprise; and GoodSuper – a growing social impact investment fund.

Inspiring Stories was founded in 2011 with the vision to see every young New Zealander unleash their potential to change the world. Since launching, the Trust has developed an impressive track record of programmes and partnerships. Nearly 5,000 young New Zealanders have taken part in the Trust’s programmes to date, which include Live the Dream, the national event Festival for the Future; and the national filmmaking competition, Making a Difference. In 2015 the CEO and Founder, Guy Ryan, was awarded the Young New Zealander of the Year Award.