Be In The Room

Our entrepreneur in the spotlight this month is Rachel Dunn.

Being a Year 13 at Otumoetai College is where ordinary starts and ends for Rachel. Despite being in a time in life where the path is laid out painstakingly clear, Rachel is choosing to take every opportunity that comes her way, even if it means being the youngest in the room.

Rachel first found herself connected to Venture Centre last year through the Young Enterprise Scheme (YES) programme that she does as part of her school business course. 

Now participating in her second year of the YES programme (creating and building her second business from scratch) Rachel jumped at the opportunity to participate in this year’s Startup Weekend Tauranga. 

“On the Thursday before, my teacher asked our class who would be interested. I was the only person in my class who was keen. It was quite scary showing up on Friday evening not knowing what it was going to be like, but I believe it’s important to make the most of every opportunity.”
Joining a team of seven people, Rachel experienced the craziness of building a business in 54 hours. 

“It was a very accelerated experience and it was amazing that people knew what they were bringing to the table. My team was really cool with quite a range of ages and experiences including; a food technologist, tech business owner, financial advisor, Tamawhariua Hapu representative of the resource management unit and a salesperson for structural steel.”

Rachel ended the weekend on a high being part of the winning team! With their eco-friendly solution, Rachel’s team is excited to continue developing their product and business post Startup Weekend Tauranga. 
However, winning wasn’t the only highlight of Rachel’s Startup Weekend experience. 
“I really enjoyed going the extra mile, including driving to Matamata for the validation phase of the weekend. It was quite crazy going with people I had only met the night before!”

Rachel (right) and her Startup Weekend Tauranga Team

Rachel (right) and her Startup Weekend Tauranga Team

“Also networking and learning how to do this and do it in different ways. My group had a lot to offer me with their knowledge and experiences and I would like to think I was able to offer my skill set as well.”
The entrepreneurship experience continues for Rachel throughout the rest of the year with YES. Her team’s business have created an all natural, 100% lanolin lip balm. 
“I’m enjoying that the YES experience is more spread out through the year. It means people have the time to discover their strengths and the strengths of their team.”
Being in her last year of high school, Rachel is grateful to have experienced the business world through her involvement with YES and Startup Weekend Tauranga. 

“These opportunities have given me the platform to meet people that can help me going into the future and have allowed me to explore my interest in business. Especially being so young, it’s helped me know that business is what I want to be pursuing.”
Next year will see Rachel starting her degree in commerce and she is amped to be moving in that direction.
“With businesses, yes you are in them, but you are also making and growing connections and that’s so exciting to me.”
Rachel’s approach to growth shows us it can be as simple as being in the room and learning from those around you. 
Desire to develop connections within the Venture Centre community? Sign up to Venture Centre’s news and be the first to know about growth opportunities (events) you can get involved in. 

Rachel's ticket to attend Startup Weekend Tauranga | Wellbeing 2021 was sponsored by: Enterprise Angels


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