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Christchurch hosts two events to inspire social entrepreneurship in NZ

This month Christchurch has hosted two key events designed to encourage social entrepreneurship and innovation within New Zealand, with a particular focus on climate change and sustainability.

The Social Enterprise Challenge 2019 took place over two days and the annual Impact Summit included talks from speakers including Crusaders player Tim Bateman, zero waste beauty product founder, Brianne West, and 2019 Young New Zealander of the Year, Kendall Flutey.

This year’s Social Enterprise Challenge, at the University of Canterbury (UC), invited tertiary students to tackle New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions through entrepreneurship.

The free event was organised by the University of Canterbury Centre for Entrepreneurship (UCE). It partnered with the Christchurch City Council, which has declared a climate emergency, to create this year’s challenge.

UCE programme manager Hannah Rhodes says, “Climate change is the biggest humanitarian challenge of our generation and innovative business solutions will play a huge role if New Zealand wants to become a leader in tackling the crisis.”

“Participants in this year’s challenge will be put into teams to create a social enterprise concept that tackles an aspect of the climate crisis in New Zealand.

“We’re looking for innovative ideas which can have a real impact in reducing New Zealand’s emissions and also work as financially viable businesses. Teams will get the support of expert mentors to help them think bigger, and at the end of the two days of refining their idea, they’ll have three minutes to pitch it to judges,” says Rhodes.

Not only did participants have the opportunity to learn about the climate crisis and social enterprise from industry experts, they also learnt how to put together a business pitch as a team and compete for $2,000 in prize money, according to the company.

UC also hosted UCE Impact Summit - an annual conference featuring speakers working in social enterprise. The summit is designed primarily for young people, but was open to anyone with an interest in making an impact, whether that is personal, community-focused or global.

Hosted in the Haere-roa building, the summit featured interactive workshops, speakers, networking, and activities that aimed to inspire and energise people on their impact journeys, according to UC.

The event featured, among others, the following speakers this year:

  • Brianne West: Christchurch-based founder of the worlds first zero waste personal care brand, Ethique, which has prevented the manufacture and disposal of more than 3.4 million plastic containers worldwide.
  • Tim Bateman: Crusaders player, Maori All Black, owner of Cloud 9 Float Club and O-Studio a new community-based wellness complex.
  • Kendall Flutey: 2019 Young New Zealander of the Year, cofounder and CEO of children's financial education platform Banqer.
  • Shannon Thompson: Founder and creative director of global fashion brand OUT OF COMFORT.
  • Jason Pemberton: Cofounder of Student Volunteer Army Foundation, social entrepreneur, and Impact Summit 2019 MC.