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THE ONLY WAY TO LEARN IS THE EXPERIENCE OF TRYING... #MASHUP16

Mashup 2016 has been and gone and what a time we’ve had!

Held on 2nd and 3rd April, Mashup provided an opportunity for 60+ young people to give entrepreneurship a go, by taking an idea out of their head and developing it into a business powered by tech, in the space of 48 hours.

In October last year, Venture Centre took over Mashup and its organisation and pledged to build on what had been before to develop an experience ‘mashing’ tech and startup business processes for senior school students.

Mashup had been running since 2011 as a technology competition for local secondary school students. Initiated by the Bay of Plenty Regional Council, its objectives, alongside community engagement, were to encourage students to consider a career in technology and raise awareness of the availability of public data. So it is with this excellent foundation that the Venture Centre team got to work on to deliver a unique experience for this age group.

Mashup 2016 - What Venture Centre has kept and built on:

  • participants entering as a team: they were asked to specify the skills they brought, to make it easier for them to identify roles and gaps
  • liaise with sponsors to provide mentors: this proved difficult for sponsors to do this time around, so Venture Centre reached out to its own network to provide 10+ business and tech mentors who dedicated time, guidance and expertise for the whole weekend to the 15 teams.
  • made open data set available to participants: data sets were published in the toolbox section of the website, alongside a selection of other tools, included a GitHub repository
  • use of the venue at the Bongard Centre: the event ran on the 5th floor and made use of the open-plan area that forms the cafeteria. Teams could also make use of computer suites, and could choose the environment in which to work that best suited their energy levels at various stages of the weekend
  • the final presentation and prize giving: it has been remained ‘Pitch Night’ to stay true to the startup/tech business experience and participants were given the opportunity to invite guests. Over thirty people chose to attend the final pitches in support of their fav team!
  • presentation to BOP Regional Council elected members from the winning team

Mashup 2016 - What Venture Centre has developed:

  • re-branded and re-designed mashup.nz
  • ran a pre-event called Mini-Mashup to promote the Mashup Concept
  • made in-person school visits to various classes
  • dedicated 20 min workshop sessions for tech tools and pitch technique during the event.
  • supported ideation process remotely prior to the event so that teams worked on developing an idea to solve a problem that truly mattered to them
  • introduced a blog with a focus on content relevant to teen-preneurs
  • introduced ICED canvas, a tool developed from the Lean Canvas, to support the idea development process
  • introduced Team Spirit as one of the four judging criteria, evaluated by the Mentors throughout the weekend
  • meeting post event with all prize getting teams and their whanau for a chat to get to know the participants and their aspirations post Mashup

Mashup 2016 - Quick facts:

  • 64 participants forming 15 teams
  • 52% girls, 48% boys from 7 local schools
  • 13 ideas validated, developed and with a revenue model
  • 5 prize getters including Best Validated Mashup, Best Executed Mashup, Best Revenue Model, Best Team Spirit and Best Mashup 2016
  • 11 Mentors at hand throughout the weekend
  • 4 Judges from the Corporate, Startup and Local Government community
  • 3 new Sponsors onboard and loving Mashup!
  • 2 pitch practice sessions per team
  • lots of healthy food including salads, wraps, fresh fruit and smoothies to keep the brain going [Pizzas were served though, due to high demand, at Pitch Night!]

We just loved doing Mashup! This learn-by-doing-something-real event aligns perfectly with our vision to support the development of entrepreneurship and tech skills in our region, by creating opportunities to connect people and ideas, which is so fundamental for the growth of the local ecosystem.

During the weekend, participants connected with like minded students from various schools whom they may not have meant otherwise, learnt some basics of startup processes through their introduction to the ICED canvas, interacted with mentors from the local business community with a purpose and experienced being a Founder. They now not only know exploring business ideas is what a lot of people do,  but also know where they can continue to meet with them!
During the weekend, mentors connected with young local talent and were rewarded by putting their expertise to good use in an authentic setting, they also connected with each other and reported the event presented them with the opportunity to extend their own networks.
The Judges had never met before and they immediately connected as they discovered the wealth of opportunities for our region this assembly of budding entrepreneurs form.
The Venture Centre team connected with supportive teachers, new mentors, local sponsors who value STEM and entrepreneurship, and all the budding entrepreneurs.

It has been a huge privilege for the Venture Centre team to present Mashup 2016 and we look forward to doing it all again, and more, in 2017!



 

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