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'This stuff isn’t easy' #tgasw16

What gets Todd excited about startups is how 'people-centered' they can be

Member of Parliament for Bay of Plenty Todd Muller watches in admiration entrepreneurs working on business ideas that solve problem... and he is chipping in serious corporate chops to the judging panel on Sunday 25th September. Todd tells us a bit about entrepreneurship and startups and his involvement.

I tend to watch in admiration rather than dive in myself.  My career has been corporate focused, more on developing strategy and pulling teams together to execute, not directly involved in start-ups. I have been exposed to a number of start-up ideas particularly in the dairy space around on farm precision agriculture.

What are the elements of starting up a business that get you most excited?

The potential to solve a problem for people that hasn’t been tackled before is the driver behind most start ups and there’s nothing more exciting than that.  Start up business approaches tend to be focused on “what is the problem we’re trying to solve for people” and that problem drives decision making about the design of the product or service.  Start-ups are fundamentally people-centered innovative businesses.

What is the most important thing that you think entrepreneurs should know?

This stuff isn’t easy – expect a rollercoaster of highs and lows as you start a business from scratch.  But also don’t underestimate the resources available in the innovation ecosystem available in New Zealand to help – including government-supported accelerator programmes

What ideas would you like to see from Tauranga's Startup Weekend participants?

Tauranga is a diverse and creative place and I’d expect that the ideas coming forward will be equally as diverse and creative.  We have a great business culture in our region already – and are home to many leading global businesses. My personal bias is a product rather than a service, but don’t let that hold you back.

What is the critical piece of the startup pitch that participants need to nail to capture your interest?

I’m keen first and foremost to hear about the problems that our start up entrepreneurs are seeking to solve – that’s the people aspect that is so exciting about new businesses. What are these new start-ups uniquely positioned to do that will change the lives of their customers for the better – that’s the inspiring bit for me and which is also likely to determine the success of the business ultimately.

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