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Last modified: 19 Dec 2022 9:53pm

A smiling photo of the class and Mayor Sam on the main stairs at Te Ara ĀteaFifteen Selwyn residents with an ambition to make their business idea a reality have graduated from New Zealand’s first-of-a-kind entrepreneurial programme.

The Starting A Business Later in Life programme, a pilot initiative funded by the Office for Seniors and Selwyn District Council, was set up this year to help entrepreneurs over 50 to develop the tools needed to establish their business.

The 15 participants workshopped their ideas and engaged with local coaches and mentors as part of the programme. On 5 December, they were presented their certificates of completion at a graduation ceremony at Te Ara Atea.

Course director, Dr Chris Kirk says the group had progressed a number of exciting and innovative ideas. “We’ve got to a point where people have started their business with a tested business model and things are very promising. Older people bring some real assets to the table that they often don’t appreciate enough, such as wisdom, experience and work skills. What this programme does is
help give them the tools to transition from an employee to an entrepreneur.”

Business ideas from the cohort included a mobile phone app for pets, transition navigators for older people wanting to retire or slow down, jet boat repairs, and the development of a hybrid combustion engine/H2O car.

The course initially ran in May and June 2022, and following its success a second course was organised.
“We had a waiting list of people wanting to take part,” Chris says. “My huge thanks to the Office for Seniors and Selwyn District Council for their sponsorship, and also my fellow coachers and mentors. Without them, none of this could have happened.”