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One-day Start-up Workshop 

If you have an idea but don’t know how to turn it into a business, this one-day workshop is for you. The day is designed to give you a good understanding of the basics of building a business case and starting a venture. Free for everyone at the University of Auckland to participate.It is the ideal opportunity to make your idea a reality. 

This is an intense workshop to give you as much input as possible in one day! Come prepared, do the pre-work, and you’ll make the most of the opportunity to move your idea forward  

Tuesday 25 June 2024 – Unleash Space, 20 Symonds Street (Engineering building) Find us

2024 details to be confirmed – see below for what the workshop looked like last year

Guest speakers

Duncan Ledwith
Duncan is a proud Scott and adopted New Zealand as his home in 2005. Ever since then he has been supporting NZ start-ups through mentorship, education, investing, and much more, having been involved with the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship from the very start. His specialities are early-stage/technology investing, international market entry, large-scale strategic partnerships, international sales revenue builder, and science commercialisation. Duncan has started a number of successful start-ups, worked with The Icehouse, and held various senior leadership roles at Microsoft around the globe.



Keane Lee
Keane is a University of Auckland alumnus who was also involved with the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship through Velocity. He is currently the Co-founder and Chief Commercial Officer for Tectonus who offer next-generation structural connectors that re-centre structures during earthquakes and aftershocks.




Sarah Mwashomah
Sarah is Co-Founder and Creative Director at Socius XR, a social venture that aims to help neurodiverse people into work. Socius XR was first developed at CIE’s Summer Lab programme and since then, they have been flown to Spain to present their venture at an international conference, have won numerous grants, and established an Autism Advocacy Advisory Board. At AcademyEx, Sarah also coordinates innovative learning programmes for Tech Futures Lab around the future of business and digital technology.  




Programme Details

Attendees will need to attend the full day programme.

9:30 -10am​: Registration and coffee

Morning programme: Overview and introduction to entrepreneurial tools and techniques

12:30 – 1:30pm: Lunch (BYO) and talking to customers

Afternoon programme: Get busy and implement your learning from the morning, including feedback from in-house start-up experts

4:00pm: Hear from a panel of speakers who have experienced the highs and lows of the entrepreneurial journey

4:45 – 5:15pm: Connect with other founders over Pizza

Meet the Facilitator

Deb Shepherd

Dr Deb Shepherd combines a variety of roles, all of which have entrepreneurial SMEs and social enterprises at the centre. She is a part-time Senior Lecturer in Entrepreneurship at the University of Auckland’s Business School. Her research and teaching focus on social entrepreneurship and innovation, the entrepreneurial mindset, entrepreneurial SMEs, and family businesses. She has been involved as a faculty member in the student-led entrepreneurship programme Velocity (previously Spark) since 2004. 

Deb is a co-author of the book “Changing gears: How to take your kiwi business from the kitchen table to the board table” and “Gearing Up: Leading your Kiwi business into the future” (2020). 

Deb is a founding faculty member of The Icehouse Growth programmes and has been involved in developing, designing and delivering the Owner Manager business growth programmes for SMEs from all sectors and industries since 2001. She is a part owner and on the board of her family business Biocell Corporation and sits on a number of Boards of Directors and Advisory Boards including Resero Group, Onguard, and Forrest Wines. 

Deb is an investor and board member of Soul Capital (New Zealand’s first impact investment fund) and an investor in ICE Angels. In 2018 Deb was asked to be deputy chair of the government-appointed Small Business Council (SBC), which morphed into an advisory role to the Minister of Small Business as part of the Small Business Advisory group.