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Help us develop the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs

Help us develop the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs

How you can get involved?

Get involved in a way that suits you. Passionate about speaking? Lead in a seminar. Love to share your experience? Become a mentor. Got a sharp eye for success? Become a judge. Organisations can provide innovation or commercialisation projects for our programmes or event become a valued sponsor. We look forward to welcoming you to our community.


All of our programmes blend leading academic thought and real-life experiences from people who have been there and done it. To bring our programmes to life, we rely on volunteers from the entrepreneurial and business communities to share their experiences and enable the next generation of change makers.

Opportunities available:

Velocity Ideas Challenge Judge (May)
This Challenge is also known as the “1,000 words for $1,000 competition”. Around 300 entries are assessed by 100 judges from the ecosystem. In judging teams of around three judges, you would evaluate about 10-15 entries, selecting the best ones to be nominated for a prize. There’s a total of 20 prizes of $1,000. This year the competition introduces new prizes, a new competition platform and different judging engagements. The time commitment is about 10 hours over three weeks.

Velocity $100k Challenge (August)
Approximately 50 judges read around 80 entries to the Velocity $100k Challenge. Each judging team assesses about 8 to 10 entries. The submissions for this Challenge are more in-depth and frequently more technical. The judges select 15 teams to go through to the final round of the competition. The time commitment is about 10 hours over three weeks.

Velocity $100k Challenge Mentorship (August – September)
Support one of the finalists’ teams as a mentor during the final stage of the $100k Challenge. For seven weeks, each finalist team is matched with two mentors to help them to develop a business plan and presentation. The five winning teams win a share of the $100k prize money and a coveted place in the University incubator. Time commitment is about 14 hours over seven weeks (though many mentors invest additional time).

Mentors in Residence (April – October)
Start-up teams sign up to talk for 25 minutes, one-on-one, to an expert/mentor about specific questions they have. All updates are captured in a Miro board. The commitment from the expert is around 1 to 2 hours per month, via Zoom.

Summer Lab (Jan/Feb)
A four-week ideation and validation programme. Frequently this is the first step for participants into entrepreneurship. The programme finishes with a team presentation to a panel of judges. The time commitment is about 2 hours per week over four weeks.

“Supporting smart, enthusiastic people learn and grow in their understanding is perhaps the most rewarding thing you can do – and in this case, we’re working with the brightest talent in New Zealand.  So many of the teams are looking to truly change the world with their innovations – and they know it’s possible because of those who have gone before them in earlier years.  It is immensely rewarding for the mentors to see real life outcomes, sometimes many years later, from a team that benefitted in its early days from just a few hours of your time.”

Debra Hall – entrepreneur, investor, director.

CIE Code of Conduct

We are committed to fostering an open exchange of ideas; encouraging freedom of thought, expression and debate; and creating an inspiring and supportive environment for all our students and staff. We are equally dedicated to providing a safe and harassment-free experience for everyone engaging with the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

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

If you experience any form 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, either in person, or see for contact details.
  2. The Proctor’s office: Email 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 our commitment, please speak up. We want and need to hear from you.