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Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.

University of Auckland named Entrepreneurial University of the Year

The University of Auckland was named 2020 Entrepreneurial University of the Year at the Asia-Pacific Triple E Entrepreneurship and Engagement Excellence Awards in Higher Education. Other contenders for the category included entrepreneurial superstars such as Tel Aviv University, the University of Adelaide, University of Technology Sydney and Malaysia’s Management and Science University.

Professor Thorsten Kliewe, Chair of ACEEU and the Triple E Awards, said “On behalf of ACEEU and the Triple E Awards team I would like to congratulate the University of Auckland for winning the Entrepreneurial University of the Year award. The University is a great example of how entrepreneurship can be at the heart of a higher education institution. With the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the University’s Unleash Space, the university hosts impressive support services that students, staff and the wider community access, and this ultimately fosters entrepreneurial activity and creates the societal impact that we like to see in Entrepreneurial Universities.” Read more

Developing business capability in the Pacific Islands

Market Development Facility (MDF) is a multi-country initiative which promotes sustainable economic development in partner countries. University of Auckland alumna Carline Bentley is supporting the organisation’s mission through her role as a Business Advisor in Fiji for MDF’s High Value Agriculture team.

Fiji’s main commodities in agriculture for foreign markets include kava, dalo, turmeric, and ginger. Value adding, resulting in premium products, has been identified as an immense opportunity for Fijian farmers and businesses. Bentley says “We collaborate with businesses to improve farmers’ access to quality agricultural inputs and markets, with a goal of increasing their yield and income and improving their livelihoods.” Read more






Manzana – Tāmaki Makaurau’s space for women entrepreneurs

Manzana is a new creative space and community supporting women entrepreneurs who are driven to change the world. Founded by University of Auckland alumnae Dil Khosa and Ché Zara Blomfield, the co-working space on Auckland City’s High Street offers workshops, events, and networking opportunities all designed to empower and support women entrepreneurs striving to improve the way we connect with each other and our environment. Read more





Multitudes – A digital tool to improve team culture and performance

SaaS company Multitudes is helping teams improve culture and performance by providing data-led insights on day to day team behaviours and easy-to-access coaching for managers to unlock more inclusive, higher-performing teams. Research shows that how teams work together – also known as “group norms” – is the #1 driver of team performance. However, norms are intangible and hard to see, and as more teams move to working online, managers have fewer cues for what’s happening.

The Multitudes platform is specifically designed to measure how people work together in the digital space. It integrates seamlessly with software that teams are already using to collaborate, such as GitHub and Slack, so it can collect data on actual behavioural patterns without disrupting people’s workflow. By looking at how people work together to get things done, Multitudes is able to generate insights about team performance, trust, growth opportunities, and support. Read more


Segna – Helping businesses unlock value from their data faster

Segna uses machine learning to aggregate and clean data from multiple sources in under a minute. Its software platform helps businesses of all sizes unlock value from their data faster and more easily by automating the time-consuming, administrative tasks of curating and organising it.

Will says businesses want simple, timely, actionable insights from their data but many are not equipped with the tools, expertise and resources to make it happen: “We are on a mission to democratise access to data, to break it away from being an arcane art for experts housed within large enterprise, to a being simple, intuitive and affordable for smaller businesses. And we can do this for businesses at warp speed.” Read more


Spark 64 – Helping organisations leverage AI in their operations

Spark 64, a venture founded by University of Auckland engineering alumni Daniel Xu and Ming Cheuk, helps organisations improve their processes and customer experience by taking advantage of innovative technologies like machine learning, computer vision, and conversational AI. The artificial intelligence (AI) agency is on a mission to help organisations leverage cutting edge applied AI in their operations. They empower businesses to unlock the power of AI to increase productivity, save costs, and create new competitive advantages.

They have worked with a number of high profile companies like The Warehouse Group, Southern Cross, Cove Insurance, and Edgewell Personal Care (who own brands like Schick and Banana Boat). They have also partnered with Google, IBM, Intercom and UneeQ Digital Humans to bring the latest technologies to their clients. Read more

A legacy of creating thriving entrepreneurs

The critical role alumni play in bolstering the New Zealand economy has been revealed in a survey of University of Auckland alumni, conducted by an independent research company. The survey reinforces the University’s vision to cement innovation and entrepreneurship as part of its DNA. Responses from more than 4,000 graduates dating back to 1940 have been extrapolated to show that 26% of alumni have founded an estimated 43,500 companies here and overseas and created approximately 383,000 jobs since the 1960s. One of the most striking statistics is the survival rate of businesses after five years – more than double the national average. (Alumni survey of graduates from 1948 to 2018) Read more

Entrepreneurs on campus

A survey of the University of Auckland’s students found that about 15% of them are currently planning a business, and a whopping 36% hope to have founded their own business within five years of graduating. Unexpectedly, the survey also found that 7% are already running a business while they are a student. A survey of alumni found a similar result: among those who had graduated since 2010, 10% are employed in a business they started before graduating. This means there may be about 3,300 businesses being run by current University of Auckland students. Read more

Entrepreneurial skills key to uplifting Aotearoa New Zealand 

Growing innovation and entrepreneurship capabilities on a wider scale will help unlock greater prosperity for all New Zealanders – and educational institutions like Waipapa Taumata Rau, the University of Auckland, have an important role to play in this journey.  

Those are the findings from a recent PwC report entitled Building prosperity: A pathway to wellbeing for all of Aotearoa, which sketches out a series of strategic recommendations to improve our nation’s social and economic outcomes. The report states that “innovation and entrepreneurship are accepted unlockers of prosperity”, alongside other factors.    

It’s a conclusion echoed by the University’s own Rod McNaughton, Professor of Entrepreneurship and Director of Innovation and Professional Development at the Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE), who was interviewed for the report. Read more 

Maria Jose Alvarez unlocks deep-tech potential in New Zealand 

Chilean Biotechnology Engineer Maria Jose Alvarez is bridging the gap between the science and Venture Capital communities in New Zealand, helping deep-tech start-ups and first-time founders bring their ideas to life. Working as an Investment Manager at WNT Ventures, Maria Jose is dedicated to fostering the growth of the next generation of founders. Maria Jose is particularly passionate about supporting women and minorities in the VC community and in 2021 she was named a finalist in the Diversity category at the NZ Women of Influence Awards recognising her efforts and impact in this space.   

Since moving to New Zealand and studying a Master in Bioscience Enterprise at the University of Auckland, Maria Jose has worked at four different funds covering private, government, and university funding, as well as being an advisor and investment committee member to other initiatives to commercialise innovation in New Zealand. Read more 


University of Auckland launches Researcher Hatchery

Waipapa Taumata Rau, the University of Auckland has launched a brand-new researcher hatchery that will enable researchers to identify new ways to make an exponential societal or commercial impact through their research. 

The programme has been established to further contribute to the already significant impact that research has had on New Zealand’s prosperity. A 2023 report from the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) estimates that 8.2% – 9.7% of New Zealand’s economic activity (GDP) is a consequence of university research and ideas permeating out into the economy over time. Read more 

Auckland top ranked for Australasian spinouts and start-ups

Waipapa Taumata Rau, University of Auckland has returned another string of successful results in the annual SCOPR report, including coming out first for the number of active spinout and start-up companies for 2022. 

The annual Survey of Commercialisation Outcomes (SCOPR) is produced every year by Knowledge Commercialisation Australasia (KCA) based on their analysis of data from Australian and New Zealand universities and research agencies. 

UniServices, the University’s not-for-profit company that transforms research into global impact starting in Aotearoa New Zealand, was out in front with 39 active spinout and start-up companies for 2022, up from second place of 32 in 2021, ahead of the University of Queensland in second with 32 and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO with 31). Read more