Start ups on offer

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Exciting times are on the horizon for Wanaka-based start-up enterprises with a new $2000 innovation scholarship announced for aspiring entrepreneurs.

Cube business development manager Jason Watkins said the scholarship, which is funded by Chorus and supported by Ignite Wanaka and Cube, would offer financial assistance, complimentary membership to the Ignite Wanaka Chamber of Commerce and a place at next year’s Ignite Wanaka Business Skills Day.

“We’re looking at start-ups in the early stages of business.

“Capability development is a big part of what we’re about.”

Along with financial assistance, the scholarship also offered mentoring from Chorus and entry into the Cube Business Mentors initiative, he said.

“I think you can’t beat discussions with human beings.

“Having access to people and the skills and experience they have .. often, you can’t buy that advice.”

Cube has so far hosted two entrepreneurial speaker nights this year, both of which were fully booked, and another two co-working spaces have opened in town in the past two months.

Mr Watkins said it was thought there were up to 2300 registered enterprises in the town.

“That’s quite a lot for a town of 11,000.

“It’s really quite an exciting time.

“There’s opportunity for people who are prepared to try new things.”

It was not just the entrepreneurs themselves who would benefit from successful start-ups, he said.

“If you take a look at the big picture – if you have a more diverse economy, it tends to be more resilient.”

The other positive from a diverse job market was that it gave locals more choice for possible work, he said, meaning fewer people would be forced to leave town to find suitable employment.

Entries will be reviewed and judged by a panel and the winner will be announced at the Entrepreneur Speaker Series session on October 26.

The Queenstown Lakes District Council also confirmed $135,000 in contestable funds last week in a bid to help diversify and strengthen the economy.