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Meet the 2021 CEO of Velocity

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12 March 2021

Velocity is the University of Auckland’s flagship student-led entrepreneurial development programme delivered through the Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. In the 18 years since its launch in 2003, Velocity has helped build over 130 ventures, created 800 jobs, and raised over $280m in capital.

Leading Velocity this year as CEO is Jason Tran, a fourth year Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) and Bachelor of Commerce student. Jason is in his third year of Velocity having previously held the role of Events Team Lead.

Q: How did you first get involved with Velocity?

Velocity has always interested me because of its strong presence around the University. So many of my mates were on the student committee the year before I joined. Hearing their experiences made me super keen to join the team, and I am so glad I did! I had also seen Velocity around campus with their super orange branding, energetic and wholesome team members, and large scale events, and was keen to see what it was all about.

Q: What led to your interest in innovation and entrepreneurship?

Growing up, I had embedded in me a desire to give back and help people (which was why I initially wanted to become a doctor!). I’m also someone who is not afraid to take on a challenge and try new things. I’d been involved with a variety of different clubs and programmes around University, but I didn’t know a lot about innovation and entrepreneurship when I first heard of Velocity. I just knew I wanted to immerse myself in a community of creative minds.

Joining the student committee and knowing that I’ve played a part in building Aotearoa’s ecosystem of start-ups, innovators and entrepreneurs has only helped me fall in love with innovation and entrepreneurship even more.

Everyone in the start-up world comes full of energy and excitement, which I love to surround myself with. They all have inspiring stories to share about the journey they took to get to where they are today. I’m always in awe of the creative solutions people come up with to change the world, and respect them for their bravery to take up that challenge. Some of the most inspiring people I’ve met have come from the innovation and entrepreneurship space. I love that anyone, anywhere can be an entrepreneur. Whether the problem is big or small, makes the world better on a global scale or just improves an individual’s way of life – an idea that is pursued and supported is an idea that will go far!

Q: What are you most looking forward to for Velocity in 2021?

I’m looking forward to working with an incredible bunch of like-minded and committed student volunteers from all different faculties and levels of study. We all share the same goal of helping people take the next step in their entrepreneurial journey.

I also can’t wait to see all the ideas that will come out of our programme this year. It’s extremely rewarding to know that you have played a part in someone’s journey to turn their ideas into something bigger! 

The student committee has put a lot of planning into making 2021 a new and exciting year with awesome outreach events that cater to students and staff who may not consider themselves part of the innovation and entrepreneurship community.

We are also proud to be integrating the UN Sustainable Development Goals into our challenges as a special category prize that highlights the need to support and celebrate entrepreneurs who work to solve some of the biggest problems we face today.

Q: What is your elevator pitch for reasons to get involved in the world of innovation and entrepreneurship?

Innovation and entrepreneurship plays a huge part in shaping the future of the world! The more we work collaboratively to come up with innovative solutions to the world’s problems, the more we advance the world we live in and be sustainable for future generations. 

Today, more than ever, there is a real sense of urgency and cry for help to find solutions to issues like climate change and the COVID-19 crisis. Velocity is here to find, support, and empower entrepreneurs to act on their ideas.

Good ideas come when you least expect them. Never let anyone tell you your idea is too crazy or too little to be worth pursuing. No matter where you are – lying in bed, on a Zoom call, sitting on the bus, or going to the grocery store – if you have an idea that could change the world and think of something that needs to change, I challenge you to write it down and bring that idea to life. 

Q: What is an interesting fact that readers might not know about you?

I grew up in a household where English wasn’t spoken at home. It’s actually the third language I learned out of the five that I now speak – Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese, English, and another Chinese dialect.

Q: If you could travel to any point in time, where would you go and why?

With the knowledge I have now, I would travel back in time and invent some pretty incredible technology that we take for granted now, or go back to when Bitcoins were only cents!

In all seriousness, I would go back to the Renaissance period. Having travelled around Europe and seen amazing artworks by Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, I would very much love to live through and rub shoulders with some of the greatest thinkers, authors, scientists and artists in history.

Q: What is your dream job?

I’ve always wanted to perform either in theatre or in a movie! 

However right now, I would love to help innovate, research, and develop a tech company’s range of products. My goal is to work with energised and passionate people who have the same vision of making sure technology is used for good (for making people’s lives easier and more efficient) and that it is accessible and sustainable for all. Hello #selfdrivingcars?!

Velocity Team 2020
Velocity Team 2020

social media

12 March 2021

Velocity is the University of Auckland’s flagship student-led entrepreneurial development programme delivered through the Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. In the 18 years since its launch in 2003, Velocity has helped build over 130 ventures, created 800 jobs, and raised over $280m in capital.

Leading Velocity this year as CEO is Jason Tran, a fourth year Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) and Bachelor of Commerce student. Jason is in his third year of Velocity having previously held the role of Events Team Lead.

Q: How did you first get involved with Velocity?

Velocity has always interested me because of its strong presence around the University. So many of my mates were on the student committee the year before I joined. Hearing their experiences made me super keen to join the team, and I am so glad I did! I had also seen Velocity around campus with their super orange branding, energetic and wholesome team members, and large scale events, and was keen to see what it was all about.

Q: What led to your interest in innovation and entrepreneurship?

Growing up, I had embedded in me a desire to give back and help people (which was why I initially wanted to become a doctor!). I’m also someone who is not afraid to take on a challenge and try new things. I’d been involved with a variety of different clubs and programmes around University, but I didn’t know a lot about innovation and entrepreneurship when I first heard of Velocity. I just knew I wanted to immerse myself in a community of creative minds.

Joining the student committee and knowing that I’ve played a part in building Aotearoa’s ecosystem of start-ups, innovators and entrepreneurs has only helped me fall in love with innovation and entrepreneurship even more.

Everyone in the start-up world comes full of energy and excitement, which I love to surround myself with. They all have inspiring stories to share about the journey they took to get to where they are today. I’m always in awe of the creative solutions people come up with to change the world, and respect them for their bravery to take up that challenge. Some of the most inspiring people I’ve met have come from the innovation and entrepreneurship space. I love that anyone, anywhere can be an entrepreneur. Whether the problem is big or small, makes the world better on a global scale or just improves an individual’s way of life – an idea that is pursued and supported is an idea that will go far!

Q: What are you most looking forward to for Velocity in 2021?

I’m looking forward to working with an incredible bunch of like-minded and committed student volunteers from all different faculties and levels of study. We all share the same goal of helping people take the next step in their entrepreneurial journey.

I also can’t wait to see all the ideas that will come out of our programme this year. It’s extremely rewarding to know that you have played a part in someone’s journey to turn their ideas into something bigger! 

The student committee has put a lot of planning into making 2021 a new and exciting year with awesome outreach events that cater to students and staff who may not consider themselves part of the innovation and entrepreneurship community.

We are also proud to be integrating the UN Sustainable Development Goals into our challenges as a special category prize that highlights the need to support and celebrate entrepreneurs who work to solve some of the biggest problems we face today.

Q: What is your elevator pitch for reasons to get involved in the world of innovation and entrepreneurship?

Innovation and entrepreneurship plays a huge part in shaping the future of the world! The more we work collaboratively to come up with innovative solutions to the world’s problems, the more we advance the world we live in and be sustainable for future generations. 

Today, more than ever, there is a real sense of urgency and cry for help to find solutions to issues like climate change and the COVID-19 crisis. Velocity is here to find, support, and empower entrepreneurs to act on their ideas.

Good ideas come when you least expect them. Never let anyone tell you your idea is too crazy or too little to be worth pursuing. No matter where you are – lying in bed, on a Zoom call, sitting on the bus, or going to the grocery store – if you have an idea that could change the world and think of something that needs to change, I challenge you to write it down and bring that idea to life. 

Q: What is an interesting fact that readers might not know about you?

I grew up in a household where English wasn’t spoken at home. It’s actually the third language I learned out of the five that I now speak – Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese, English, and another Chinese dialect.

Q: If you could travel to any point in time, where would you go and why?

With the knowledge I have now, I would travel back in time and invent some pretty incredible technology that we take for granted now, or go back to when Bitcoins were only cents!

In all seriousness, I would go back to the Renaissance period. Having travelled around Europe and seen amazing artworks by Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, I would very much love to live through and rub shoulders with some of the greatest thinkers, authors, scientists and artists in history.

Q: What is your dream job?

I’ve always wanted to perform either in theatre or in a movie! 

However right now, I would love to help innovate, research, and develop a tech company’s range of products. My goal is to work with energised and passionate people who have the same vision of making sure technology is used for good (for making people’s lives easier and more efficient) and that it is accessible and sustainable for all. Hello #selfdrivingcars?!


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