Entrepreneurship as a tool for community development

A Presentation to Tauranga City Council Annual Plan as part of the Submission process

Kia ora tatou katoa

Ko Pascale Hyboud Peron tenei

I realise I am one of 23 people presenting to you today.

And that I am standing between you and lunch :-) 

I thank you for your commitment to our city, to the growth of our region and to this consultation process.

I come before you to talk about Entrepreneurship, and why “it takes a village to raise a Startup Business”

Thank you for the opportunity to present Venture Centre. I am one of the co-founders. 

Venture Centre exists to support Tauranga’s entrepreneurs at their idea stage, be they social impact pioneers or for profit entrepreneurs or a hybrid of both. 

In plain English (as much as I can), it means supporting the people in our community who have an idea that they want to pursue, sometimes for their own benefit, but actually most of the time for the benefit of our people and of our planet.

They see and live the problems, have the ideas, but maybe not the business skills, means or networks to take their ideas off the page, get past go and underway with them. 

There are lots of these everyday yet extraordinary people around us.

Some are new to Tauranga others are deeply established in our communities, all looking for solutions to benefit our own local community. 

We’ve supported 2500 of them make their way since we started in 2014.

That is why Venture Centre has flourished and become so pivotal - not only to individual’s success, but also to our city’s collective success. 

When the people who come to us feel supported, they win and we all win. 

With Covid-19, we now have a whole new uplift in demand with people losing their jobs - or looking for their “what next’ -

They are grappling with the personal and social disruption around them.  They want to make a change for good.  

Covid has also dialled up demand from sectors that have traditionally relied on other sources of funding.
They are looking to models like social enterprises to explore new revenue streams.

But as everyone in this room knows (and I know that many of you are ideators, crusaders and champions for small business), having a ‘good’ idea is one thing, but it’s quite another to take that idea and to turn it into something tangible. 

It isn’t any easy journey - not least if you are trying to do it on your own.  

That is why we are here. Venture Centre provides a safe and supportive environment where people can tap into our expertise and networks, shape their idea, or maybe even park it - we do it in a way where their wellbeing and resilience are respected and enhanced.  

Demand for our services has increased substantially. We have enlisted the guidance and support of an Advisory Council last year to guide us into our transition to charitable status. Daryl French is here today with me as chair of this council. Kia ora Daryl.

In 2014, we opened the doors to a coworking space Basestation (on Durham Street) and started offering events, programmes, mentoring and we’ve literally been running ever since ... 

Over the past 6 years, I can honestly say that the demand has not stopped. … not only with direct enquiry from people and organisations looking for assistance, 

...but also from business support organisations like CoC and P1.  They regularly have ideas people reach out to them, but they quickly establish that they are too “early” in their journey and thus send them to us.

Venture Centre has also been representing Tauranga at a national level - collaborating with other organisations that look like us and deliver community led entrepreneurship support 

… Which leads us back to today.

Every day, we are supporting locals through a combination of one on one tailored support, events, programmes and networking opportunities, and all through a digital enablement lens.  

Some of our work you will be familiar with like Young Enterprise Scheme, Co-starters, startup weekends, PoweringON … 

Some, you won’t have heard of like our regular Office Hours or Angel Drop in clinics where people can come in for a free hour of advice from local lawyers, accountants, investors. 
It’s happening every week, several times a week in this city, because our local experts care and give time to give back.

Hence why I am here in front of you… because we need you to know about us, and to care too.

I invite tauranga city council to  partner with us and support entrepreneurship as an essential tool for community development. 

Now you know we exist and what we do:  we equip people with the essential skills and confidence to start their own venture or support those new to it. 

Entrepreneurship is big news, it’s hugely relevant in the current environment, and it’s on the agenda of most (if not all) Councils in New Zealand.  Quite simply, we don’t want to see Tauranga left behind. Hence our submission to you to help Venture Centre continue to stimulate the creation of early-stage businesses.

We have established a very good relationship with Priority One with the PoweringON programme We are working with them on a range of specific projects. We are also in support of extra funding to Priority One in this area of economic development.

But this application sits outside of that as we are seeking operational funding to allow us to go forth. 

In terms of impact for your spend, we are excited to be the front door and see the ideas are out there in our community,  and to help people explore these in a ‘safe harbour’. 

Our locals can solve local problems, contribute to national outcomes, and help overcome global challenges too. 

For our city to have a broad base of businesses tomorrow it’s important that we put money into helping systematically those who stand on the starting blocks today.

So let’s not forget about the start-up people - the techpreneurs but also the mumpreneurs, the socialpreneurs, the teenpreneurs, the poppreneurs, the artpreneurs and all the doers innovating in backyards, schoolyards, sheds and community centres all over the city for the good of all of us.


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