Venture Up: 16-year old Aditi Gorasia completes six weeks of intense exposure to the real business of startups

Before attending the six-week Venture Up programme, Aditi Gorasia has never spent more than two weeks away from home. Six week later, she learns not only independence but falls in love with the business world and the potential it holds, the teams, and business mentors who have been there show the ropes, and show some very big hearts.

After six weeks of being in close proximity with a roomful of teenagers brimming with distractions, it feels absurd to be writing this without any distractions.

Venture Up ended one day after an exceptional pitch on (Wednesday Feb 25th) where we presented our journey over the last six weeks, and shared plans for the future to a roomful of entrepreneurs, sponsors and potential investors.

The last six weeks have been a sleep-deprived roller coaster ride, filled with much buzz, topped with compliments and offers of help, and pats on our backs for what we were doing.

What were the lessons I gleaned from Venture Up?

Specific business and startup knowledge

Validation, cashflow forecasting; validation, marketing; validation, upscaling. Did I mention validation?

Theory aside we also learnt how to be resilient (“50 shades of No” with Nick Rowney, where a “no” in business is never definite) and how to work in a team with minimal screaming.

Tribe Energy team: Aditi Gorasia is 2nd from the right

Personal growth

Prior to Venture Up, the longest I had been away from my family was two weeks. Here, independent for six weeks, I have learnt screeds more than just what kind of washing powder to use. I also learnt time management and being my own support system (the time I got sick and couldn’t have my mommy take care of me). I’ve realised that while other teenage girls complain and worry over boys who don’t reply to them, I suffer the same plight with suppliers and there is glee in knowing this is a lifelong experience.  

Networks/people

We met New Zealand’s finest entrepreneurs, not just big names but big hearts who let us into their homes, their offices (although no one with a startup ever learns the distinction) and most importantly, their lives -- they freed their time and resources to help us. We saw and conquered each other, peers with genuine affection and good intent towards each other. Twenty 20 years down the line, I won’t be hesitating if I have to make a phone call for some business advice. 

Where to from here?

Most of the businesses have chosen to commit to each other and their projects, continuing their ventures. Some teams are spreading out throughout the country (god bless the internet) and some, like my business, choose to base ourselves in the same city (Auckland for us).

With university on the horizon for many of us, we’re taking it at our own pace. One company, Flat Pak is already using Pledgeme to try and fund their first production run and my company, Tribe Energy (previously illuno) hope to follow quickly in their footsteps with production dates for our healthier energy drink set in early April. 

Ways to contact any of our businesses can be found through enquiries on www.ventureup.co.nz (#shamelesspromotion).

Venture Up will be taking place again in Auckland this coming summer, following a $300,000 government grant towards Creative HQ’s youth enterprise development.

So thank you to Nick and Oliviah, our coordinators, the head of our family; our mentors and media team who are our eyes in the midst of dark, new territory. Also, to our chef, Patrick, for enabling us to stomach all we have learnt. Than you sponsors, for making this possible, and most of all to my peers at Venture Up -- the heart and soul – no word will flow easier off my tongue than “I love you”. 

Thank you also, dear readers, for following what has been a pivotal period in my life.