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Staff Profile: Naomi Bradshaw, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Engagement Manager

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6 April 2022

At the heart of the Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) is a community of innovative thinkers, problem solvers, and change-makers. CIE’s Engagement team, led by Innovation and Entrepreneurship Engagement Manager Naomi Bradshaw, is dedicated to empowering this community, and connecting University of Auckland students, staff, and the wider entrepreneurial ecosystem with opportunities to unleash their potential.

Tell us a little about your background and how you ended up at CIE.

A friend invited me to be a part of Summer Shakespeare as a publicist and I was hooked on the creativity and community-building aspect of the role. I then worked for years in arts marketing and festival organising and was the first New Zealand employee of what is now the Spark arena, working on projects during its hard-hat construction and development phase. I also held contract roles with local government and the K Road Business Association, then a position as a public relations advisor for a government ministry. I cycled back to arts marketing by way of a role at the University of Auckland. I’ve been at UoA for years now working in various marketing and communications roles – the latest being CIE. 

What does being the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Engagement Manager involve?

There are two key aspects to the role. The first is to encourage as many staff and students as possible to participate in CIE opportunities. The second is to showcase the University of Auckland as an international powerhouse in innovation and entrepreneurship. This involves communications, marketing, relationship building and strategy.

What drew you to this role at CIE?

The people and the potential. Innovation and Entrepreneurship wasn’t something that was ever really on my radar, but when I was pitched the role and heard about the impact CIE had already had and the scale of ambition for what it could do next, that passion was infectious. 

What has been your favourite experience(s) at CIE so far?

Seeing ideas come to life. I’ve seen students bring ventures into being from nothing, a maker space built and activated and our alumni making a global impact.

What do you believe is the biggest value CIE offers to students and staff of the University?

It’s an inspiring community where participants get to explore radical thinking, learn tangible skills and build networks. It’s also a safe place to experiment, try, epically fail as part of the process of learning, and pick up again without many consequences. That’s often harder to do in advanced adulting. There is an incredible amount of free, quality programmes and resources on offer through CIE that you wouldn’t be able to get elsewhere. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity for students and staff. 

What advice would you give people who aren’t sure if innovation and entrepreneurship is for them?

But it is! Learning to develop an entrepreneurial mindset and innovative capability will give you perspective and transferable skills that will help you not just now but throughout life. I have had the privilege as part of my role to interview many students and graduates and learn from their wisdom. Some of our graduates go on to create a commercial or social venture, some take their newly-developed skills into a career as an innovator in industry. Not everyone who participates in CIE programmes goes on to create a start-up, or keep a start-up, but our alumni reflect on the learning opportunities they have had through CIE as one of the best parts of their university experience. 

When you’re not working, what would we find you doing?

Wrangling my two little kids, growing food and flowers in my garden, watching awesome television with my husband or reading. Mostly historical fiction, literary fiction, classic retellings and artist biographies. 

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

social media

6 April 2022

At the heart of the Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) is a community of innovative thinkers, problem solvers, and change-makers. CIE’s Engagement team, led by Innovation and Entrepreneurship Engagement Manager Naomi Bradshaw, is dedicated to empowering this community, and connecting University of Auckland students, staff, and the wider entrepreneurial ecosystem with opportunities to unleash their potential.

Tell us a little about your background and how you ended up at CIE.

A friend invited me to be a part of Summer Shakespeare as a publicist and I was hooked on the creativity and community-building aspect of the role. I then worked for years in arts marketing and festival organising and was the first New Zealand employee of what is now the Spark arena, working on projects during its hard-hat construction and development phase. I also held contract roles with local government and the K Road Business Association, then a position as a public relations advisor for a government ministry. I cycled back to arts marketing by way of a role at the University of Auckland. I’ve been at UoA for years now working in various marketing and communications roles – the latest being CIE. 

What does being the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Engagement Manager involve?

There are two key aspects to the role. The first is to encourage as many staff and students as possible to participate in CIE opportunities. The second is to showcase the University of Auckland as an international powerhouse in innovation and entrepreneurship. This involves communications, marketing, relationship building and strategy.

What drew you to this role at CIE?

The people and the potential. Innovation and Entrepreneurship wasn’t something that was ever really on my radar, but when I was pitched the role and heard about the impact CIE had already had and the scale of ambition for what it could do next, that passion was infectious. 

What has been your favourite experience(s) at CIE so far?

Seeing ideas come to life. I’ve seen students bring ventures into being from nothing, a maker space built and activated and our alumni making a global impact.

What do you believe is the biggest value CIE offers to students and staff of the University?

It’s an inspiring community where participants get to explore radical thinking, learn tangible skills and build networks. It’s also a safe place to experiment, try, epically fail as part of the process of learning, and pick up again without many consequences. That’s often harder to do in advanced adulting. There is an incredible amount of free, quality programmes and resources on offer through CIE that you wouldn’t be able to get elsewhere. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity for students and staff. 

What advice would you give people who aren’t sure if innovation and entrepreneurship is for them?

But it is! Learning to develop an entrepreneurial mindset and innovative capability will give you perspective and transferable skills that will help you not just now but throughout life. I have had the privilege as part of my role to interview many students and graduates and learn from their wisdom. Some of our graduates go on to create a commercial or social venture, some take their newly-developed skills into a career as an innovator in industry. Not everyone who participates in CIE programmes goes on to create a start-up, or keep a start-up, but our alumni reflect on the learning opportunities they have had through CIE as one of the best parts of their university experience. 

When you’re not working, what would we find you doing?

Wrangling my two little kids, growing food and flowers in my garden, watching awesome television with my husband or reading. Mostly historical fiction, literary fiction, classic retellings and artist biographies. 


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