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Christchurch's Ara Institute is about to get 'awesome'

By Sara Barker, Thu 16 Aug 2018
FYI, this story is more than a year old

The Ministry of Awesome and Ara Institute of Canterbury are combining their powers to launch a joint innovation hub in Christchurch.

The hub will launch on October 15 and it promises to bring mentorship, education, resources, pitch opportunities, networking, and many other opportunities.

According to the Ministry of Awesome, Christchurch and Canterbury need an ecosystem that nurtures startups, entrepreneurs, and innovators. They created the new hub to be the cornerstone of the city’s innovation ecosystem, and to help Christchurch reinforce its prowess as a place of innovation and technology.

The new partnership community will bring almost 25,000 members into the fold. Ministry of Awesome says this provides an unprecedented opportunity to work together, network, and to build on shared goals.

Ministry of Awesome’s chief awesome officer, Marian Johnson, says this is a chance for Canterbury to collaborate on a whole new level.

“Ministry of Awesome will continue with the momentum building leadership role we are playing in the start-up and innovation space, but with even greater impact as we partner with Ara's 19,000-strong learning and knowledge community,” she says.

“This community has huge potential and with access to the Ministry of Awesome’s guidance, capability training and networks, we will grow something extraordinary. The door is wide open for participation. We want to encourage anyone with an idea, an innovation, or a start-up venture in mind to reach out and join the community,” Johnson continues.

The Ministry of Awesome hub will open at the Kahukura building facing Moorhouse Avenue on the Ara campus.

Ara’s head of business Department, Michaela Blacklock, says this partnership is not just about growing the city, but also about social change.

“This partnership is not only aligned with the goals of Christchurch NZ – to ignite bold ambition in our city and region, to connect changemakers and to stimulate economic activity – but it will also enable greater consideration of social and community change. It is an exciting time in the region with an abundance of creativity, innovation and big ideas,” Blacklock explains.

The partnership will bring:

  • Joint access to the entrepreneur-rich, progressive, and well-networked Ministry of Awesome community and Ara Institute of Canterbury student body.
  • A mentorship programme provided by sector and ecosystem leaders, experienced entrepreneurs, and professional service providers.
  • Customised education and capability building through Ministry of Awesome and Ara.
  • Business and social enterprise incubation programmes designed to provide the right support, at the right time, and in the right way.
  • Access to resources and advice provided by service partners such as legal, ICT, and business administration.
  • Opportunities to pitch and expose start-ups to local, national, and global investors and corporate partners.
  • 100+ events per year for networking, collaboration, and knowledge sharing.
  • A fixed “home” in which to network, collaborate and be surrounded with like-minded people.
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