A new student-led investment programme has launched in the Manawatū, with a UCOL student part of the team lending their expertise to budding entrepreneurs.
The Momentum Programme is a national initiative for driving entrepreneurship. Regional investment committees provide advice, connections, and funding to tertiary students and staff, helping them get their start-up projects off the ground. The investment committees include students, investors, industry professionals, and science commercialisation experts.
The Manawatū Momemuntum Programme was launched in August, with UCOL business student May Siggs (pictured) joining the investment committee. She is the first polytechnic student in the country to sit on an comittee.
Siggs, who is studying towards a New Zealand Diploma in Business (Leadership & Management), applied for a spot on the committee so she could learn more about starting a business.
“My lecturer Anne Steele encouraged me to get involved. It is a great opportunity to learn and be part of an amazing team with so much knowledge.”
Siggs has already attended her first committee meeting via Zoom, where she got to hear people pitch their start-up ideas.
“The people on the committee are really intelligent and experienced, and they had a lot of really good feedback about people’s pitches. It was a great learning experience for me in terms of communicating my own ideas and seeing how I can contribute to others’.”
“I’m really enjoying being involved. I see myself being part of the committee for a long time, so at the moment I’m soaking up as much information and knowledge as I can.”
Siggs says she hopes to use what she’s learnt at UCOL, particularly around marketing, to help budding entrepreneurs turn their ideas into reality.
In the long run, Siggs intends to present her own business idea to the committee. She’s keeping her idea under wraps for now, but says it is focused on sustainability.
Dr Jerry Shearman, UCOL’s Executive Director Education & Research at UCOL, says he is excited to see a UCOL student selected for the committee and looks forward to the opportunities Momentum will create for students.
“Momentum is a great platform for our students. It’s a chance for them to engage with the growing entrepreneurial culture in this region, while adding skills to their kete. Our students also have a lot to offer, in terms of ideas for potential commercialisation.”