‘More inquiries’ from start-ups | Otago Daily Times Online News

‘More inquiries’ from start-ups | Otago Daily Times Online News

Startup Dunedin, the organisation supporting the startup ecosystem, is witnessing a post-Covid boom.

“We saw more inquiries, and also founders coming and talking to us about new ideas also growing,” Startup Dunedin general manager Rachel Butler said, as she reflected on the year.

The organisation offers a 15-minute, free, one-on-one session for anyone with an idea, to help them plan and identify their next steps.

It had done 103 of those sessions this year, she said.

This year, Startup Dunedin worked with 226 start-ups, supported 503 people and organised 56 workshops, events and other programmes.

Last year, the organisation worked with and supported 400 people, including various stakeholders.

Highlighting innovation in Dunedin would be the focus of the organisation next year, she said.

It planned to increase events and activities to support the growing demand of entrepreneurs in the area.

“Organising events was one thing we needed to address post Covid. Events helped the founders to network, share and showcase their activities,” Ms Butler said.

“We are planning more events next year to bring people together.”

Next year was almost going back to “basics”.

“Our vision is to make Dunedin as the world’s most entrepreneurial small city,” she said.

The focus was on inclusive and diverse entrepreneurship and it was “really exciting”.

“The numbers we are seeing, the diversity of people and ideas — I think that shows us that we are on to a good thing.”

When asked about finding talent in Dunedin, Ms Butler said people were excited to work with innovative companies, and start-ups supported by Startup Dunedin had managed to find talent.

Startup Dunedin is a sector-agnostic organisation and supports companies from various industries.

“We support restaurants, tech companies and other ideas which are scalable.”

About four or five venture capital firms visited Dunedin this year and more were expected next year.

‘We are working through Mainland Angels to find funding for our start-ups.”

This year, 111 students were part of the Audacious programme for students of the University of Otago and Otago Polytechnic who want to build their entrepreneurial skills.

Since 2020, Startup Dunedin has supported 468 students as part of the programme and awarded $60,000 to students.

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