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Summer Lab students inspired to take on the UNSDGs

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25 February 2022

For the seventh year, students from all faculties across the University of Auckland came together to develop their entrepreneurial skills at Summer Lab, an intensive four-week programme delivered by the Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) designed to inspire and ignite the entrepreneur within through action-oriented learning.

The diverse group of 84 participants formed 14 teams to develop solutions to problems framed around the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDG). Through working on their idea, students learned about tools and frameworks that shape innovative thinking such as market validation, rapid prototyping, finance, pitching, minimum viable products, Lean Canvas, pivoting and iterating. They also had the opportunity to hear from and be mentored by established entrepreneurs and industry leaders. 

Summer Lab is an international award-winning programme. By the end of the programme, participants are equipped with all the essential skills needed to turn an idea into an innovative venture. A Medical and Health Sciences student says “The experience has given me confidence that I can start my own start-up in the future. Coming into Summer Lab with no business background, I thought that it would be overwhelming. However, it was paced in a great way and the knowledge I have gained from mentors, speakers and my peers has been invaluable. For anyone wondering what a path as an entrepreneur can look like, I highly recommend this programme.”

On the first day of the programme, students are introduced to the UNSDGs and encouraged to find one that they are particularly passionate about. Ideas developed by this year’s cohort include a solution to eliminate ghost nets from oceans, an app to help amputees manage their prosthetics, eco-friendly retrofitting for sustainable homes, end-of-life opportunities for EV batteries, a food exchange system to minimise food waste, and a mobile radiology service for improved diagnosis of injuries in rural New Zealand.

Being able to run the programme in Unleash Space and celebrate the end with final pitches taking place in person was a highlight for both CIE Programme Manager Judith Marecek and Programme Coordinator Jessica Schneider. Judith says, “In organising Summer Lab we had done some scenario planning, and knew that we would be able to accommodate the programme safely at the red setting of the traffic light system. However, the unknown factor was the appetite of students for an in-person programme. Monday morning was an anxious wait for the first students to arrive, but we needn’t have worried. The amazing turnout and excitement to connect with each other highlighted how challenging online learning has been for many students, which made me all the more grateful we could deliver this programme in person.”

Director of CIE Darsel Keane, who was on the judging panel at the final pitches, says “It was a real privilege to see everything that these students have accomplished in just four short weeks. They turned up bravely every day in uncertain circumstances to invest in themselves, and it was clear that it had paid off. The pitches were a real testament to their resilience and drive to learn and grow.”

The skills and knowledge taught at Summer Lab are not just for those who wish to start their own venture. An entrepreneurial mindset and innovative capability are essential for all to thrive in this new world of work, and to build the future they want. An Engineering student says, “This was a great experience where you learn a lot of skills that anyone can benefit from, regardless of background. I realised that the skills I was learning through the programme will not only be applicable to entrepreneurship but to my life in general.”

Students and staff at the University of Auckland interested in taking part in Summer Lab in 2023 are encouraged to sign up to CIE’s newsletter to be notified when registrations will open.

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

social media

25 February 2022

For the seventh year, students from all faculties across the University of Auckland came together to develop their entrepreneurial skills at Summer Lab, an intensive four-week programme delivered by the Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) designed to inspire and ignite the entrepreneur within through action-oriented learning.

The diverse group of 84 participants formed 14 teams to develop solutions to problems framed around the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDG). Through working on their idea, students learned about tools and frameworks that shape innovative thinking such as market validation, rapid prototyping, finance, pitching, minimum viable products, Lean Canvas, pivoting and iterating. They also had the opportunity to hear from and be mentored by established entrepreneurs and industry leaders. 

Summer Lab is an international award-winning programme. By the end of the programme, participants are equipped with all the essential skills needed to turn an idea into an innovative venture. A Medical and Health Sciences student says “The experience has given me confidence that I can start my own start-up in the future. Coming into Summer Lab with no business background, I thought that it would be overwhelming. However, it was paced in a great way and the knowledge I have gained from mentors, speakers and my peers has been invaluable. For anyone wondering what a path as an entrepreneur can look like, I highly recommend this programme.”

On the first day of the programme, students are introduced to the UNSDGs and encouraged to find one that they are particularly passionate about. Ideas developed by this year’s cohort include a solution to eliminate ghost nets from oceans, an app to help amputees manage their prosthetics, eco-friendly retrofitting for sustainable homes, end-of-life opportunities for EV batteries, a food exchange system to minimise food waste, and a mobile radiology service for improved diagnosis of injuries in rural New Zealand.

Being able to run the programme in Unleash Space and celebrate the end with final pitches taking place in person was a highlight for both CIE Programme Manager Judith Marecek and Programme Coordinator Jessica Schneider. Judith says, “In organising Summer Lab we had done some scenario planning, and knew that we would be able to accommodate the programme safely at the red setting of the traffic light system. However, the unknown factor was the appetite of students for an in-person programme. Monday morning was an anxious wait for the first students to arrive, but we needn’t have worried. The amazing turnout and excitement to connect with each other highlighted how challenging online learning has been for many students, which made me all the more grateful we could deliver this programme in person.”

Director of CIE Darsel Keane, who was on the judging panel at the final pitches, says “It was a real privilege to see everything that these students have accomplished in just four short weeks. They turned up bravely every day in uncertain circumstances to invest in themselves, and it was clear that it had paid off. The pitches were a real testament to their resilience and drive to learn and grow.”

The skills and knowledge taught at Summer Lab are not just for those who wish to start their own venture. An entrepreneurial mindset and innovative capability are essential for all to thrive in this new world of work, and to build the future they want. An Engineering student says, “This was a great experience where you learn a lot of skills that anyone can benefit from, regardless of background. I realised that the skills I was learning through the programme will not only be applicable to entrepreneurship but to my life in general.”

Students and staff at the University of Auckland interested in taking part in Summer Lab in 2023 are encouraged to sign up to CIE’s newsletter to be notified when registrations will open.


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