In case you missed an event or three, here’s a recap:
Monday and Tuesday, entrepreneurs and innovators helped us envision our future at GrowPlenty - Puna Tōnuitanga. Four workshops were held over two days at the new Tauranga venue run by Venture Centre, the Basement@Basestation. The event was created to energise young entrepreneurs. GrowPlenty attracted 142 participants from 5 secondary schools, 2 tertiary institutions, 4 corporate organisations, 42 community group representatives and 3 iwi groups. Katikati College Year 12 student Aesha Modi said she couldn’t wait to share what she’d learned. “There are technologies that can solve these problems that are man-made. We created the problems but we are solving them, too.” Experts in industries including robotics, space, advanced horticulture, design, energy and parasite management told stories about mistakes they made along the way, what they learned, and how they grew their businesses.
Wednesday, the 10 Billion Mouths conference at ASB Arena brought more than 250 agritech innovators and investors to Tauranga from all over the globe to discuss new ways to feed the world. We heard how new, tastier plant proteins are providing alternatives to animal flesh and how Kiwis have an opportunity to tap never-before-seen levels of international investment funds. We learned how a Maori-owned horticulture business, Miro, is striving to become the “Zespri of berries” by cultivating a sustainably-grown, high-value crop. Attendee Dale Pearce of Auckland said the Miro ecosystem has been well planned. “The only way we can solve big social problems is through business models. So I really love the way that’s been very carefully included.”
Thursday had us looking for keys - the ones in our heads. Unlocking Regional Growth through Innovation featured a talk from former Lonely Planet executive director Gus Balbontin, who revealed the secret to becoming irrelevant and unveiled his stealth plan for business success. Vaughan Robertson, who attended the event at Mills Reef, said the Bay can transform itself partly by exporting more talent. “I think relationships are important...We should be getting more people into the Bay of Plenty, but we should be taking our people out of here and exporting them to other places to share the message.”
By Friday, we were loosening our belts (we ate a lot of good food that week) and learning how dollars were creating social change in the Bay. Leading Change in Regional New Zealand held at the Basement@Basestation featured a line-up of regional and national speakers who told us how social enterprise start-ups can find investors who share their values, vision and ultimately, would share their capital. Participant Leeanna Kohn-Hardy of Auckland was inspired by the stories of social enterprise entrepreneurs and by impact investors looking to connect with a cause. “This is about people who care about having an impact, but also care about making a return.”
Exhale. Reach out to one of your new contacts - that Australian woman you stood next to while eating a delicious chicken sandwich that wasn’t chicken. Thanks for connecting to help build a better world. Techweek returns in 2019 from 20-26 May.
Techweek Tauranga 2018 is curated, coordinated and promoted by Venture Centre.
Venture Centre works to connect people on enterprising journeys - with each other and the mindset, skillset, toolsets, networks and resources they need - to build an ecosystem that delivers real-world, learn-by-doing events, activities, projects and experiences.