Social entrepreneurs get accelerator of their own

Social entrepreneurs get accelerator of their own

The Inspiring Stories Trust wants to put structure and an ecosystem around social enterprise with a new summer accelerator programme set to be piloted at the end of the year.

The programme is billed as the first accelerator for ideas, projects and businesses that will help create "a better New Zealand".

"We've been working in the area of social enterprise for the last few years and have seen a gap," says Inspiring Stories' CEO and founder Guy Ryan. "You have alot of structure for growth companies but nothing around the more holistic entrepreneurship stuff."

The 10-week course, Live the Dream, is planned to start in December at Massey University's College of Creative Arts in Wellington. Participants have to pay rent but there's no charge to take part.

"Part of getting an initiative off the ground is you have to be willing to drive it yourself," says Ryan. "We're looking for teams and individuals committed from the outset."

Entries close in October and six finalists will be chosen to pitch at the Festival for the Future social enterprise event run by the trust in Wellington in late November.

Ryan says the idea for the accelerator partly grew from this event. "Everyone's really excited there and all these ideas flow out of it. We needed to develop a broader ecosystem of support."

The trust hopes the accelerator will create an opportunity for high school students who run companies as part of the Young Enterprise scheme to continue their work. Ryan says teams that participate in the accelerator could also go on to a six month programme in development by partner the Hikurangi Foundation.

Live the Dream also wants to work with as many tertiary institutes as possible and build social enterprise into their curricula, says Ryan. The mentors for the accelerator will be decided once teams' needs are known, he says.

The accelerator's other partners include Kea, Leadership New Zealand, Vodafone, KPMG and the Sustainable Business Council.