CIE » About Us

ABOUT US

Our mission is to unleash the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship at the University of Auckland. We do this by providing the knowledge, environment and inspiration to all staff and students through experiential programmes, events and workshops.

Our mission is to unleash the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship at the University of Auckland. We do this by providing the knowledge, environment and inspiration to all staff and students through experiential programmes, events and workshops.


Welcome from Director Wendy Kerr

Whether you have an idea for a venture, research to commercialise, or want to start a business, we have a range of programmes to support you. Based at the University of Auckland Business School, we work closely with the wider business and entrepreneurial communities to enable you to unleash your potential.

Recognised by the MIT Skoltech Initiative as one of the world’s top five emerging leaders in entrepreneurship, the University of Auckland is committed to developing business savvy, entrepreneurial graduates to ensure New Zealand’s longer term economic prosperity.

Our flagship academic programme, the Master of Commercialisation and Entrepreneurship, is designed to provide the core knowledge and skills needed to commercialise and take to market new products, services and processes based on research discoveries, inventions and new ideas.

Velocity, the University of Auckland’s year-long entrepreneurship programme, is student led and proudly supported by the Centre. MIT identified this long established programme as being the “beating heart” of entrepreneurship at the University.

Through outreach events such as the Idea Bootcamp business development programme, we engage our alumni and the wider community to create a space for innovative and entrepreneurial New Zealanders to network and learn.


Our People


Wendy Kerr

Director

An experienced general manager with global experience in technology and media start-ups. Wendy wrote two bestselling books on female-led start-ups and owned a web-based mentoring and training company for new business owners.

Professor Rod McNaughton

Academic Director

Head of the Department of Management and International Business. Rod specialises in international marketing strategy and the rapid entry into overseas markets by knowledge-intensive new ventures.

Darsel Keane

Associate Director – Unleash Space

The Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship’s first employee to establish and grow the centre. Previously, Darsel worked at EverEdge IP in intellectual property and commercialisation consulting.

Natasha Koekemoer

Peter Rachor

Hynds Entrepreneurial Teaching Fellow

As our Hynds Fellow, Peter focuses on integrating entrepreneurship across curricular courses and programmes throughout the University. With a lifelong passion for innovation and global opportunities, he has co-founded three companies, taught at 3 US academic institutions, developed learning modules for university and community-based entrepreneurship initiatives, and lived on four continents. 

Judith Marecek

Programme Manager

Judith has held a variety of digital and traditional marketing roles in the publishing industry in New Zealand. She has worked in events at the Parliament House of Australia in Canberra and the Irish Management Institute in Dublin.

Naomi Bradshaw

Business Development Manager

Naomi previously was the Advertising and Promotions Manager for University Marketing, leading implementation of the University’s recruitment and brand campaigns.

Sean Kelly

Technician – Unleash Space

Sean is passionate about cultivating a new technological culture that brings together and encourages entrepreneurs and makers alike. A graduate of International Studies from Deakin University and a former tradesman Sean transitioned to the tech sector in the U.S. by working as a Technologist at the successful and unique technology space, Do Space.

Nancy Jones

Executive Assistant

Nancy has a wealth of experience as an executive assistant in the education field, working with CEOs and Boards in both the education consultancy and independent schools fields. She has a passion for connecting with a diverse range of people and enjoys contributing to the company’s growth and development. She is honoured having worked with a number of industry leaders.

Noah Gherbremichael

Student and Programme Advisor

Noah is experienced in higher education management and public sector processes/services from his work with university, government agencies and NGO communities. Noah has a passion for social innovation and building impactful solutions to challenges by fostering the spirit of manaakitanga for a more equitable, entrepreneurial and sustainable society.

Geoff Whitcher

Advisor

Founding Director of the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Geoff worked for Unilever and Fletcher Challenge in New Zealand and overseas. Geoff was involved in creating Spark (now Velocity), Chiasma, the Entrepreneurs’ Challenge and The Icehouse.

Wendy Kerr

Director

An experienced general manager with global experience in technology and media start-ups. Wendy wrote two bestselling books on female-led start-ups and owned a web-based mentoring and training company for new business owners.

Professor Rod McNaughton

Academic Director

Head of the Department of Management and International Business. Rod specialises in international marketing strategy and the rapid entry into overseas markets by knowledge-intensive new ventures.

Natasha Koekemoer

Peter Rachor

Hynds Entrepreneurial Teaching Fellow

As our Hynds Fellow, Peter focuses on integrating entrepreneurship across curricular courses and programmes throughout the University. With a lifelong passion for innovation and global opportunities, he has co-founded three companies, taught at 3 US academic institutions, developed learning modules for university and community-based entrepreneurship initiatives, and lived on four continents. 

Darsel Keane

Associate Director – Unleash Space

The Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship’s first employee to establish and grow the centre. Previously, Darsel worked at EverEdge IP in intellectual property and commercialisation consulting.

Judith Marecek

Programme Manager

Judith has held a variety of digital and traditional marketing roles in the publishing industry in New Zealand. She has worked in events at the Parliament House of Australia in Canberra and the Irish Management Institute in Dublin.

Naomi Bradshaw

Business Development Manager

Naomi previously was the Advertising and Promotions Manager for University Marketing, leading implementation of the University’s recruitment and brand campaigns.

Sean Kelly

Technician – Unleash Space

Sean is passionate about cultivating a new technological culture that brings together and encourages entrepreneurs and makers alike. A graduate of International Studies from Deakin University and a former tradesman Sean transitioned to the tech sector in the U.S. by working as a Technologist at the successful and unique technology space, Do Space.

Nancy Jones

Executive Assistant

Nancy has a wealth of experience as an executive assistant in the education field, working with CEOs and Boards in both the education consultancy and independent schools fields. She has a passion for connecting with a diverse range of people and enjoys contributing to the company’s growth and development. She is honoured having worked with a number of industry leaders.

Noah Gherbremichael

Student and Programme Advisor

Noah is experienced in higher education management and public sector processes/services from his work with university, government agencies and NGO communities. Noah has a passion for social innovation and building impactful solutions to challenges by fostering the spirit of manaakitanga for a more equitable, entrepreneurial and sustainable society.

Geoff Whitcher

Advisor

Founding Director of the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Geoff worked for Unilever and Fletcher Challenge in New Zealand and overseas. Geoff was involved in creating Spark (now Velocity), Chiasma, the Entrepreneurs’ Challenge and The Icehouse.

Code of Conduct

The collective values of the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship mean that we welcome and are committed to an open exchange of ideas, freedom of thought, expressions and debate. It also means we are dedicated to providing a safe and harassment-free experience for everyone engaging with the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Issues of harassment includes but is not limited to; gender, sexual orientation, ability, appearance, race, age and religion.

If you experience any forms of harassment or feel unsafe during any interactions with the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and its members, representatives or industry partners, please report this as soon as possible to either:

  1. A Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship staff member. In person, or see cie.auckland.ac.nz/contact-us for contact details.
  2. The Proctors office. Email proctor@auckland.ac.nz or phone 027 839 3832.

All allegations will be investigated, and principles of natural justice applied (“the right to be heard” and “no person may judge their own case”).

If you feel we fall short of our values, or fall short of our commitment, don’t be silent. We want and need to hear from you.

EMAIL
CIE@AUCKLAND.AC.NZ

PHONE
09 923 4526

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