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Reflections of a Velocity CEO: Nandini Singh  

18 November 2022

“It is surreal to be part of a community where you are constantly supported to do what you are truly passionate about. I cannot thank Velocity and CIE enough for believing in me and empowering me to go and create positive change in the world.” 

Nandini Singh, soon-to-graduate commerce student and CEO of the Velocity programme in 2022, reflects on her time at university and how involvement with the Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) helped her grow from a shy high school graduate to an empowered leader driving positive change in the community.  

On top of leading Velocity, the university’s student-led entrepreneurship development programme, Nandini was a student lead for the Business School’s equity committee, and she co-founded Kairos, a social enterprise that provides low decile high schoolers the support and resources they need take their next steps towards university education. 

Nandini has been recognised by the university for her service by receiving the Blues Award for ‘Most Outstanding contribution’ and was also named the EY Business Student of the Year 2022. 

What sparked your interest in entrepreneurship?
My interest in entrepreneurship started at a young age when I saw both my parents working multiple jobs and running small side businesses. Seeing their hard work, determination, and the sacrifices they made to give us the best life possible is something I will never forget. To me, they are the definition of what entrepreneurship is all about.  

What were you like as a fresh high school leaver?
If I am honest, leaving high school was a huge turning point for me. Up until then, I moved around a lot and grew up in a small community where there weren’t many opportunities available for young people, so entering university was a bit of a culture shock. At the same time, it was inspiring to be surrounded by so many talented people and finally getting to pursue what I loved. 

Why did you want to take on the role of Velocity CEO?
It’s surreal to be involved in a programme that truly changes the lives of people and has such a large global impact. My first year in the committee, I was an events co-lead. During that year I learnt just what the programme can do for people. I knew that by taking on the role of CEO, I would have a platform to drive the programme towards its goals, inviting more students who may have never considered entrepreneurship, and supporting every student or staff on our campus to achieve their dreams.  

What motivated you to start your own venture?
A passion for creating impact and supporting my community. Coming from a low-income background, I knew the struggles my community faced when it came to pursuing a quality education. Barriers are rising across many communities in New Zealand, and after experiencing these myself I wanted to make a change. This fueled me to create my own programme that ensures every student in New Zealand has access to as many opportunities as possible to chase their dreams.  

What can you say about your growth over the time you have been involved with CIE?
My personal growth has skyrocketed. Prior to Velocity and CIE, I was honestly quite shy, unsure and anxious about myself and I felt like a complete imposter wherever I went. Beyond just the skills and offerings CIE provided me, I finally felt like I was part of a community where I was valued, supported and had a sense of belonging. CIE provided me with a new perspective to see the world and empowered me to chase my dreams. This has been huge for my confidence and personal growth. 

What has been your most valuable lesson through being involved at CIE?
If I had to narrow it down to just one, I would say the most important thing I learnt was how to become the best leader for my team. Upon commencing my role as CEO, I was exposed to an array of professional development opportunities as well as one on one support from the CIE team. In a matter of time, I learnt how to build and foster relationships with my team, how to successfully navigate complex challenges and ultimately grow my leadership potential. This year has been a roller coaster and I can’t thank CIE enough for all of the life-long lessons.  

What is next for you?
I am really excited about investing in myself and my venture Kairos this coming year. I want to roll out a full-year programme that targets five schools across Auckland. The plan from now till the end of 2023 is to build my skill set, expand my team and do everything I can to make the programme the best it can be. 

Any words of advice for students who are interested in entrepreneurship?
I would say, there is no better time than now as a student to seize every opportunity that is presented to you. Even if you think something is not for you, give it a go. You will never know unless you try new things and challenge yourself. Entrepreneurship is all about creativity and being your true authentic self, so go out there and unleash your potential to the world! 

University of Auckland wins international award for entrepreneurship education
University of Auckland wins international award for entrepreneurship education

18 November 2022

“It is surreal to be part of a community where you are constantly supported to do what you are truly passionate about. I cannot thank Velocity and CIE enough for believing in me and empowering me to go and create positive change in the world.” 

Nandini Singh, soon-to-graduate commerce student and CEO of the Velocity programme in 2022, reflects on her time at university and how involvement with the Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) helped her grow from a shy high school graduate to an empowered leader driving positive change in the community.  

On top of leading Velocity, the university’s student-led entrepreneurship development programme, Nandini was a student lead for the Business School’s equity committee, and she co-founded Kairos, a social enterprise that provides low decile high schoolers the support and resources they need take their next steps towards university education. 

Nandini has been recognised by the university for her service by receiving the Blues Award for ‘Most Outstanding contribution’ and was also named the EY Business Student of the Year 2022. 

What sparked your interest in entrepreneurship?
My interest in entrepreneurship started at a young age when I saw both my parents working multiple jobs and running small side businesses. Seeing their hard work, determination, and the sacrifices they made to give us the best life possible is something I will never forget. To me, they are the definition of what entrepreneurship is all about.  

What were you like as a fresh high school leaver?
If I am honest, leaving high school was a huge turning point for me. Up until then, I moved around a lot and grew up in a small community where there weren’t many opportunities available for young people, so entering university was a bit of a culture shock. At the same time, it was inspiring to be surrounded by so many talented people and finally getting to pursue what I loved. 

Why did you want to take on the role of Velocity CEO?
It’s surreal to be involved in a programme that truly changes the lives of people and has such a large global impact. My first year in the committee, I was an events co-lead. During that year I learnt just what the programme can do for people. I knew that by taking on the role of CEO, I would have a platform to drive the programme towards its goals, inviting more students who may have never considered entrepreneurship, and supporting every student or staff on our campus to achieve their dreams.  

What motivated you to start your own venture?
A passion for creating impact and supporting my community. Coming from a low-income background, I knew the struggles my community faced when it came to pursuing a quality education. Barriers are rising across many communities in New Zealand, and after experiencing these myself I wanted to make a change. This fueled me to create my own programme that ensures every student in New Zealand has access to as many opportunities as possible to chase their dreams.  

What can you say about your growth over the time you have been involved with CIE?
My personal growth has skyrocketed. Prior to Velocity and CIE, I was honestly quite shy, unsure and anxious about myself and I felt like a complete imposter wherever I went. Beyond just the skills and offerings CIE provided me, I finally felt like I was part of a community where I was valued, supported and had a sense of belonging. CIE provided me with a new perspective to see the world and empowered me to chase my dreams. This has been huge for my confidence and personal growth. 

What has been your most valuable lesson through being involved at CIE?
If I had to narrow it down to just one, I would say the most important thing I learnt was how to become the best leader for my team. Upon commencing my role as CEO, I was exposed to an array of professional development opportunities as well as one on one support from the CIE team. In a matter of time, I learnt how to build and foster relationships with my team, how to successfully navigate complex challenges and ultimately grow my leadership potential. This year has been a roller coaster and I can’t thank CIE enough for all of the life-long lessons.  

What is next for you?
I am really excited about investing in myself and my venture Kairos this coming year. I want to roll out a full-year programme that targets five schools across Auckland. The plan from now till the end of 2023 is to build my skill set, expand my team and do everything I can to make the programme the best it can be. 

Any words of advice for students who are interested in entrepreneurship?
I would say, there is no better time than now as a student to seize every opportunity that is presented to you. Even if you think something is not for you, give it a go. You will never know unless you try new things and challenge yourself. Entrepreneurship is all about creativity and being your true authentic self, so go out there and unleash your potential to the world! 


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