“Success should always be enjoyed in the moment. However we recognise our journey is just beginning.”
Lucy Crichton was prompted to enter the entré competition after seeing the benefits firsthand last year when she was entré Events Manager.
Crichton is part of Elderfriends, a social enterprise created to address the problem of chronic loneliness within New Zealand’s elderly population. It provides a platform to connect students with the elderly, allowing them to form relationships based on common interests.
“Our service intends to be as user friendly as possible,” she says, “as we are aware that while students are keen to volunteer, they often don’t actually get around to it as it’s ‘just too much admin’.”
Elderfriends was the People’s Choice award winner in the 85K Challenge.
“As clichéd as it sounds I have to say that through $85K I have come to realise that with a bit of hard work, anything is possible – especially here in New Zealand,” Crichton says. “There is so much support for ambitious, eager individuals who are contemplating start-ups. Making it a reality is not as hard as people think.”
Entré is now in its 14th year. Board chair Keiran Horne says the students who participate have no shortage of ideas – but often lack the tools to execute.
“It is truly inspiring to see so much raw talent and enthusiasm harnessed in such a positive way,” she says. “It’s encouraging to think these are tomorrow’s leaders.”
All involved agree entré is not just for students planning for full-time careers as entrepreneurs. Elderfriends’ Molly Bell is studying both Law and Commerce.
“The skills I have learnt will definitely help me going forward,” she says. “I have a new insight into how businesses are both started and run. And it has definitely opened my eyes to the different career paths that are available.”
Bell’s colleague Lucy Crichton agrees: “The competition has taught me a lot of skills as well as lessons that will be most beneficial in any workplace”.
“In particular lessons involving team work, time management and public speaking,” she says. “As I’m studying law it has also helped steer me towards Intellectual property law as a possible area to specialise in.”
“This was not something I had really considered before 85K but seeing what it involves and how interesting it can be has definitely impacted my plans after graduating.”
Edze Bierema, who will be entré CEO in 2019 says the group is for anyone interested in innovation - whatever their eventual career path.
“Adaptability, communications skills and creativeness are key characteristics employers look for and entré offers the perfect opportunity for that,” she says.
Tony Field is a bluenotes contributor