Gold in them hills — a supporter view of a values driven NZ startup ecosystem
You may be familiar with the adage about there being two ways to succeed in a gold rush — you can sell pickaxes or mine for gold. One gets the limelight, both are important.
That saying is usually applied to startups, but to my mind it also applies to entrepreneurs and ventures and the communities and networks that support them.
I’ve been a supporter for a while now, contributing in my way to the entrepreneurial pipeline and ecosystem in New Zealand.
It isn’t for everyone.
I’m an enabler by nature — find me a visionary with a vision that I can believe in and I will move mountains to help them deliver. I’m also the person who gets a kick out of helping people achieve and excel, and in pulling pieces together to make things happen.
While not a sexy combination, these drivers have been the common thread running through my otherwise disparate seeming life. They are the reason I work in the public sector, why I organise startup events, and why I am now pushing for more from the startup community.
Views are being shared by those either purely in the startup world, or those who straddle the startup doer/supporter boundary.
Here, I am adding a voice from the supporting team.
When I look at the startup landscape in New Zealand, I see beautiful things taking shape. But I also see the potential that could be realised if more threads were woven together and could leverage off of each other.
- Social and impact enterprise is taking off, building local (Ākina Foundation), spreading internationally ( Enspiral, a values-based collective of startups) and bringing international global impact minded startups to our shores (KiwiConnect and the new EHF).
- More and more capability pipeline building initiatives (like GovtHack, Startup Weekend and Techweek) are reaching centres and regions and creating networks across NZ.
- Pockets of grassroots awesomeness (such as Local Foundation), frequently based around co-working spaces (such as Venture Centre) are gaining recognition and momentum.
- Government is actively exploring how startup lessons and practices can be used to break down silos and deliver faster value (R9 GovTech Accelerator, ICT Digital Service Innovation), and for kiwi-tailored incubation solutions (Callaghan Innovation’s recent RFP).
- Providers are rising up to support corporate innovation (Creative HQ) and alternate acceleration services (ZeroPoint Ventures).
This is exciting. And I know that I am only seeing the tip of the iceberg.
To my mind, weaving these strands together, especially in the grassroots/pipeline space, requires certain elements.
- Openness. Cross-pollination is valuable, between founders and non-founders, and tech and service ventures.
- Space. Having the room, drive and knowledge to take a system-wide view, identify the gaps and work to fill them.
- Initiative. People empowered to make change, and create offerings as and when they are needed. (Pickaxe, anyone?)
- Flexibility. Able to change and update solutions and services to deliver better value and integration as needed.
I know that I am not alone in caring about people and wanting them to succeed. So lets help to create a world and an ecosystem that will help them get there, so we can all benefit from the gold in them hills.
Other people talking about #startupcommunityvalues
- Towards a shared operating system for values led startup communities — Dan Khan
- My journey discovering my values — Lenz Gschwendtner
- Navigating our future — Pascale Hyboud-Peron
- My quest to find my startup tribe — Jane Treadwell-Hoye
- International Startup Community Values — Peter Thomson
- Building the entrepreneurial community we want to live in — Dave Moskovitz
- Accelerating futures.. the increasing role of startups in NZ — Colart Miles