NZ Startup Bootcamp’s Sacha Coburn on the top tips founders need to know to stand out from the crowd
This coming weekend, some of New Zealand’s brightest minds will convene in Hamilton to take part in a challenge of epic proportions.
NZ Startup Bootcamp, formerly Innes 48, is New Zealand’s only intensive 48-hour start-up boot camp. Over one weekend, 20 teams and 25 top mentors will come together to ambitiously develop their entrepreneurial ideas in a fast-paced affair.
On the Sunday, the four judges – Vend founder Vaughan Fergusson, ecostore founder Malcolm Rands, Dame Julie Christie and Idealog’s own Elly Strang – will then select the top six teams, who will pitch their business ideas to a crowd of 300 or more, all in the hopes that they’ll get their hands on the $20,000 cash prize to grow their business idea even further.
Sacha Coburn is the MC who’s hosting the event and is an entrepreneur herself and is a director and chief operating officer of Coffee Culture, one of New Zealand’s most loved boutique coffee shops. Since its inception, Coffee Culture has since grown from 10 staff to 300 staff across 20 sites.
She also is a leadership coach and founder of The Company We Keep, where she uses her experience of running leadership programmes for Les Mills for the past ten years across the globe to teach businesses how to create authentic leadership.
As if that wasn’t enough, the powerhouse is also a motivational speaker who entertains and educates people at events all over the world.
Based off this, Coburn has firsthand experience of growing an idea from nothing to something, and the challenges that come with that in business, and in life. Coburn says the best lesson she’s learnt along the way through this journey is listen to whose advice you take on board.
“I think it’s a really good idea to choose carefully who you listen to,” Coburn says. “There are great cheerleaders and mentors out there who absolutely want to see you thrive and flourish, and there’s a whole lot of people who want to tell you how terrible your idea and how you’ll never succeed.”
An example of this is the origins of the company she recently founded called The Company You Keep. She says it was born out of a conversation out of a friend, as both were frustrated with the state of leadership development training in New Zealand.
Thanks to this conversation with her friend, Coburn decided to start this grassroots project or “side hustle” alongside Coffee Culture by founding The Company You Keep, and it’s paid off.
“It’s all about learning to tell the difference and surround people who don’t just tell you the good news, but who want to support and trust you as you grow,” she says.
Another key piece of wisdom she has to pass along to company founders is don’t spend forever straining over your product or idea – get it out to the market first.
“From stuff I’ve experienced myself and some of the work I see with other founders, people spend too long perfecting their product before they put it out to market,” she says. “The sooner you get it to market, the market tell it what you need to do next. Founders spend too much time inside their own heads and not enough time in market.”
And the most integral quality founders need to have to succeed? Purity of purpose, Coburn says.
“Heart, purity of purpose, and knowing what you’re setting out to do will make a difference to customers or the world,” Coburn says. “That purity and passion can get you through the really tough stuff. I think it’s the foundation of the unmovable self-belief you need to develop your business.”
In terms of the entrants for the NZ Startup Bootcamp, she says she’s had an ogle of the Facebook participants page and has been blown away by the range of innovative ideas and fresh ways of looking at old problems.
“I’m super excited to work with people who are passionate about making a difference and getting something done,” she says.
And her advice to competitors?
“Go hard and soak up every opportunity to learn to pressure test their idea in the competition, like a refiner’s fire.”
For more information about NZ Startup Bootcamp, visit its website here.