People who lost their job because of COVID-19 are being offered a chance to kick-start their new business idea as part of an innovative new Christchurch programme.
The programme, Start Me Up, will guide potential business owners or those interested in learning about the start-up process, and who are currently receiving a benefit, through the process of testing out their concept to see if it has what it takes to be successful.
The programme is open to residents in Christchurch, Selwyn and Ashburton districts.
Start Me Up will culminate in a graduation event celebrating participants’ successful completion and showcasing their concepts to an audience of local businesses, investors, entrepreneurs and the wider Christchurch innovation ecosystem.
The initiative will be delivered through a partnership between ChristchurchNZ and the Ministry of Social Development, with applications open until 26 February 2021.
Boyd Warren, ChristchurchNZ’s General Manager Innovation and Business Growth, said the programme would give the right advice and support to grow new businesses and ultimately deliver sustainable decent jobs.
“Start Me Up participants will be provided the best chance of business success by a support team of already successful entrepreneurs, mentors and start-up experts from the Ministry of Awesome's Te Ōhaka incubator and the University of Canterbury’s ThincLab,” Mr Warren said.
“It’s a huge network of support and a great example of Ōtautahi’s flourishing and connected innovation ecosystem in action. Plus, the support and networks the Accelerator finalists will finish with is tremendous.”
Diane McDermott, Ministry of Social Development’s Regional Commissioner for Canterbury, said the programme’s wrap-around support will demystify the start-up process and provide a new path for people whose employment has been negatively impacted by COVID-19.
“Start Me Up will be an opportunity for people to see if being a business owner is for them, get a handle on the start-up process, and build an invaluable network of local support and connections,” Ms McDermott said.