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E-centre to help entrepreneurial aspirants

New entrepreneurs and those keen on improving their productivity and profitability would be pleased to know of a well-tested and proven programme available at the E-Centre of the Massey University campus in Auckland.

The Albany based business innovation centre has introduced three different versions of its ‘E-Centre Sprint Market Validation Programme’ to make entrepreneurship more accessible, especially for new entrants in the market.

E-Centre Chief Executive Steve Corbett (who is a member of the independent Panel of Judges of the Indian Newslink Indian Business Awards 2012) said that everyone should be able to become an entrepreneur.

He admitted that most people had to struggle in establishing their companies, while in a full-time job.

The risk of quitting the job to focus on the venture is often not feasible.

“Additional hurdles can be the cost of joining an incubator or paying for mentorship, making a full-time commitment to the new business idea, and not knowing where to start,” he said.

Elite versions

Mr Corbett said that there are two Elite versions of the ‘E-Centre Sprint Programme’ for entrepreneurs keen on quick progress.

Experienced mentors and coaches are involved in the Programme, he added.

“The Elite versions include one-on-one coaching sessions, and allow businesses to be based out of E-centre. We want to have an impact on New Zealand’s innovation ecosystem,” he said.

Mr Corbett said that enhancing capabilities of entrepreneurs is harder than taking a business opportunity and matching it with experienced people to turn it into a successful business.

“But if we can develop entrepreneurial skills, there will be more benefits for the economy and the individual entrepreneurs,” he said.

He quoted New Zealand Physicist the late Sir Paul Callaghan as saying, “In order to grow big trees, we have to support the small ones as part of the ecosystem. In order to build high-tech companies, we have to support the grass roots.”

“This is exactly where the E-centre, a not-for-profit organisation, should sit. If you have been considering entrepreneurship as a career, talk to us. Not everyone who joins the programmes of the E-Centre will pursue their idea, but you will learn invaluable skills which you can use for the rest of your life,” Mr Corbett said.

Career Path

Sprint Programme Manager Sabrina Nagel said that entrepreneurship should be seen as a career path, with opportunities for contribution to the growth of the New Zealand economy.

“You might have an idea or want to acquire the skills needed to turn an idea into a successful, global venture. That is why we are creating a step change and opening up the world of entrepreneurship,” she said.

Ms Nagel has studied the incubation models in both Germany and the US, which led to the programme’s global perspective.

Following a two-year test period, the Sprint Programme, the E-Centre has understood the support needed by entrepreneurs.

“We wanted to remove the biggest hurdles of high cost and full-time commitment,” she said.

The Sprint Programmes offers three levels, each catering to entrepreneurs at different stages, or with different needs.

“Aspiring entrepreneurs get four hours a week of valuable tutorials and workshops to start working on their idea at a nominal monthly fee of $300. They also get access to the networks of E-Centre and Massey University expertise,” Ms Nigel said.

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