Entrepreneur Spotlight Gallery

This month, in honour of Matariki and the time of reflection we’ve been in, our Entrepreneur Spotlight is a gallery of some of the entrepreneurs we’ve met over the past year and a bit. 

We’ve been honoured to learn from each of them and it’s been amazing to be part of their entrepreneurial journeys. We hope you enjoy reading snippets of these inspiring stories. 

Yohann Irani

Yohann is an entrepreneur at heart, who, when he’s not working as a mechanical engineer at Beca, loves learning as much as he can about absolutely everything. 

“To me, being an entrepreneur is intrinsic to human nature. In my day-to-day this looks like following my intellectual curiosity. I love to learn, develop and grow consistently, letting curiosity lead me in any direction.”

This determination to be a lifelong learner is how Yohann’s path crossed with Venture Centre’s in 2018, during Yohann’s fourth year of study at Waikato University.

The Lean Canvas was introduced to Yohann during a session with Jo (Venture Centre co-founder) and is a tool that he uses in his day-to-day life. 

“The Lean Canvas is a powerful validation tool. I have a bunch of ideas streaming through my head all the time and the Lean Canvas encourages me to ask ‘is this actually a problem?’ and ‘has it been solved?’. Answering these questions prompts me to research and understand if my idea (solution) has legs.”

We love that Yohann’s journey displays that you don’t have to be a full-time entrepreneur to be entrepreneurial in your day-to-day. And, that simple tools like the Lean Canvas can encourage curiosity and innovation. 

Read Yohann's full story here.

Cass Hogan

Cass of Fontein Coaching is a certified professional life coach who loves guiding people to experience the abundance within. She kindly donates her time and expertise to offer a monthly Office Hours Mindset Reset.

Cass was at a point in her business where busyness was putting digital marketing on the back burner, she chose to attend a Digital Navigation session with Kendra. 

“The session was really helpful for me and I gained tips on how to improve my social media. Having a different perspective was refreshing and removed the overwhelm of digital marketing.”

Cass’s coaching business is all about trust so the initial connections made with her followers on social media have been a wonderful foundation for her client relationships. 

“Through digital marketing, I’m able to build trust with potential clients. My clients will usually follow me for about six months and then they’ll reach out and say, ‘Hey, I’ve been following you”. What’s cool is they seem to already trust me.”

Cass’s business is thriving thanks to her reputation and word-of-mouth referral. She successfully utilises digital to build trust with her potential and ongoing clients. We’re inspired to do the same. 
Read Cass’ full story here.

Lori Herder

Lori is the eco-friendly creator of conscious comfy knitwear brand Muffs Merino.

Our paths crossed with Lori when she met Kendra (Digital Navigator PoweringON Project Lead) whilst selling her garments at The Little Big Markets. 

At this point in her entrepreneurial journey, Lori was feeling overwhelmed by all of the online marketing options. So, Lori set up a meeting with Kendra to gain clarity about Muffs Merinos’ direction. 

During her meeting with Kendra, Lori completed the PoweringOn Digital Assessment.

“The Digital Assessment was super helpful and showed I had room to grow. It helped me gain so much insight and highlighted exactly where I need to go and how to get there.”

Re-connected with her why and with a new sense of direction, Lori took action.

“My results changed things dramatically. I was able to confidently choose the next steps to focus on. Getting back to my roots helped me create space in my mind and removed some of the unnecessary things off my plate. I gained lots of clarity, and who doesn’t want clarity,” laughs Lori.
Thanks to her work with the PoweringOn Digital Assessment, Lori was back in touch with one of her core whys - working with nature and plants. 

Finding yourself stuck or overwhelmed? Engaging with a tool such as the Digital Assessment can be a great way to get back to your why so you can move forward with purpose. 
Read Lori’s full story here.

Maria King

Maria is a mentor, coach and director, as well as an integral part of Venture Centre’s community. Maria believes that mentoring matters because it helps rapidly unlock potential. 

“If you can avoid the long road and get there more quickly by engaging in conversation and being asked some simple questions in a high-trust environment, then why wouldn’t you? In a perfect world, we would all have mentors to help us self-actualise so we can have the biggest impact in the shortest amount of time.” 

Maria highlights that having a mentor provides you with the opportunity to grow in a safe environment; to be uncomfortable, to be challenged, to test ideas and thinking and really give yourself the chance to transform.
Read Maria’s full story here.

Rachel Dunn

Being a Year 13 at Otumoetai College was where ordinary started and ended for Rachel. 

Despite being in a time in life where her path was laid out painstakingly clear, Rachel chose to take every opportunity that came her way, even if it meant being the youngest in the room.

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

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.”

Participating in Startup Weekend Tauranga helped Rachel discover that business was the area she wanted to pursue. 

“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.”
Rachel’s approach to growth shows us that no matter your age or stage, the best place for you to be is in the room. That’s where the growth opportunities are. 
Read Rachel’s full story here.

Pat Ward and Anne Billing

In order to serve their out-of-town customers, self-dubbed purists Pat Ward and Anne Billing of Happy Horizons set up a basic website for online orders. 

“Our website makes it easier for people to find us, read our story and purchase our products. It’s also somewhere we can educate people about the bigger issues on a larger scale,” said Pat. 

Heavily involved in their community in Katikati, Anne’s path crossed with Venture Centre when she participated in our Digital Navigation session.

“We were in the early stages of digital marketing, so I found my session very helpful. Craig helped me verify our business on Google which we’d had been having difficulty with,” said Anne.

The Venture Centre team loves that being digitally established enables Pat and Anne to focus on doing good and giving back. 
Read Happy Horizon’s full story here.

As you continue on your own journey take the time to reflect on just how far you’ve come. What growth have you experienced over the past year and what helped you get there? 

We’d love to know!


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