Finding a place to grow roots

Our entrepreneur in the spotlight this month is Nila Lleshaj.

For over 10 years, Nila has been a freelancer by trade. This career has given her the opportunity to model, event manage for music festivals, social media manage and more recently, pursue graphic design, all whilst travelling the world. 

In April of last year, the pandemic brought Nila and her partner Matt back to New Zealand.

Taking steps towards the growth of their joint startup Orbit (an in-home, rotating hydroponic garden designed by Matt), Nila and Matt found themselves in Wellington, based out of Creative HQ, one of Aotearoa’s leading providers of structured innovation programmes. 

When they made the call to move to Mount Maunganui in December 2020 (post a few months of travelling of course!) their Creative HQ friend Casey Davies encouraged them to connect with one of Venture Centre’s co-founders, Pascale.

“It was so wonderful to meet with Pascale. She put us in touch with some great contacts for Orbit. Also, I miss Europe, and she brings a little bit of Europe to me.”

Despite thriving as a digital nomad for many years, Nila’s current season in her entrepreneurial journey is pursuing stability.

“I’d been traveling and working abroad for more than 10 years. It’s been really amazing but has also come with its fair share of challenges. Stability is what I want in my life right now. I really want to put down roots, work a fulltime job and build community. I can go back to running again another day.”

This new season has found Nila connecting into Venture Centre’s community through a few different avenues, including being one of the organisers of this year’s Startup Weekend Tauranga

Bringing her wealth of previous Startup Weekend experience (having helped organise Startup Weekend Bali in 2016 and mentor during Startup Weekend Perth), Nila is really happy to be part of the team. 

Nila has also secured herself a full time job at Hello Club in Customer Service, Sales and Marketing. This local tech startup is based out of Basestation (the coworking space established by Venture Centre’s founders) meaning that Nila has the opportunity to connect with like-minded people. 

“I’ve got to meet a lot of people, including other graphic designers! I really enjoy the space - it would be so boring going to an office.”

This change of pace has also shifted Nila’s mindset around entrepreneurship.

“I have found in the journey that it’s not always about pursuing the ‘WOW!’ projects. Most of the time it’s about starting small and taking steps forward. It’s really easy to glamorise the intense lifestyle and overlook where I already am.”

“For me, it’s about paying attention to my life and realising, maybe I am where I’m supposed to be. I don’t really need to be anywhere else.”

The next step for Nila? 

“It’s not official but I have established this little boutique design studio. I’m looking forward to running it alongside my stable job with the focus on branding and graphic design. In the future I want to have a small business or service that gives me flexibility.”

What’s your next step? We’d love to know!

Sign up to Venture Centre’s news for many events (small steps) you can choose from. Want help taking that next step? Book a time with our co-founders for a chat here.


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