5 key lessons on how to start, and sustain a social enterprise in New Zealand

“The Social Innovation Opportunity for Tauranga’ was our hero event on the first day of Groundswell Festival of Innovation, spearheaded by Venture Centre and the Akina Foundation. A collection of successful social entrepreneurs from social enterprises around New Zealand shared their knowledge and personal experiences on how to create and sustain a purpose driven business – and it’s not easy!

Here a short video with 5 key lessons from our panelists:

Lesson 1: Fall in love with the problem

The morning kicked off with Kirstin Joiner, who talked about the lessons she has from experiences all over the globe to create a social enterprise. “Fall in love with the problem” was her opening gambit and set the tone for the event. Kristen is an entrepreneur, writer and producer and has been featured in leading publications include the New York Times, The Today Show, Stanford Social Innovation Review and USA Today. She believes “finding the problem you are most passionate about and truly understanding it from every angel is the best first place to start your journey.”

Kirstin joiner in front of Groundswell Festival banner

Kirstin Joiner – Director of impact investing for Enterprise Angels

Lesson 2: Collaborate, collaborate, collaborate

“It has to start with your vision” explained Rory Birkbeck from Safesurfer, “ours is protecting the mental health of New Zealanders online.” With over 350,000 downloads of Safesurfer’s proprietary technology to keep kids safe online, its clearly advice worth taking . “Once are clear on your purpose, connect up with people who are passionate about the same things that you are. Find the people who are good at the things that you are not. Collaborate, collaborate, collaborate.”

Lesson 3: Invest in the structure and invest in top quality support

Manu Caddie talked about the importance of investing in top quality advise, whether it be legal, science, accounting. “Whatever you can afford, find the best people you can to set the right foundations.” Manu has learnt from experience – his company, Hikurangi Enterprises recently became the first in New Zealand to hold a medical cannabis licence and  has received huge support recently securing $2M in investment for its medical cannabis products.

Panelists for Social Innovation Opportunity for Tauranga: Jo Allum, Rory Birkbeck, Chrissy Robinson, Kirsten Joiner, Alex McCall, Manu Caddle, Cerasela Stancu

Panelists for Social Innovation Opportunity for Tauranga: Jo Allum, Rory Birkbeck, Chrissy Robinson, Kirsten Joiner, Alex McCall, Manu Caddie, Cerasela Stancu

Lesson 4: Create a compelling enemy for people to believe in 

Chrissi Robinson from The Daily Cafe highlighted the importance of holding on tight to your purpose. “Our vision is for everyone in Te Puke to be thriving and connected.” Having won the Supreme award for NZ Cafe of the Year, their vision is ringing true with the community. “Another way of looking at it is to create a shared enemy, which helps people who would not normally understand each other’s lives connect around a common problem. Once you are clear on what your vision, hold onto it and don’t let go.”

Lesson 5: Get connected and find your tribe

Alex McCall hails from Tauranga and has founded two organisations using technology and innovation to deliver social change, Squawk Squad a social enterprise that aims to connect and engage a country in the protection and growth of our native bird life and Choice a new way to pay that all but eliminates merchant transaction fees, and gives those savings to charities. Alex raised the importance of finding your people to go on the journey with you. “First you need to connect with your local social enterprise hubs to find likeminded people who want to go on the journey with you. Once you have found them, its importance to recognise them – there is more than one form of currency.”

Choice has shown that having a devoted tribe of people who believe in your purpose gets results. “We recently received $1million of funding through an oversees blockchain technology investor. Sometimes these opportunties do come along so hold that purpose as high as possible.”

Krissi Robinson addresses the audience in during the panel discussion

Krissi Robinson addresses the audience from The Daily Cafe

Keen to learn more?

Here are some events coming up and links to your local networks.

Tauranga Startup Weekend | Impact coming up this weekend (31 Aug – 2 Septhttp://tgasw18.eventbrite.com/ and leverage the energy in the room and the support of socially conscious mentors to kick start your venture!

Kitchen Table Talks –10 September 2018 (time to be confirmed) https://www.theimpactinitiative.org.nz/tii-events/tauranga

Social Enterprise Clinics – Ākina Foundation/Venture Centre, made possible with the support of BayTrust – Wednesday 25 September, afternoon and Thursday 26 September all day. Registration details coming soon.

Tauranga Social Enterprise Meet Up meets monthly Join in at this link to receive regular information:  https://www.meetup.com/Tauranga-Social-Entreprise-Meetup/

Want to read more about Social Innovation and its impact? There are some insightful case studies at this link Case studies:  https://www.theimpactinitiative.org.nz/case-studies/