College Students attend Project 15

May 07, 2015 at 9:33 AM

During April, five students (Connor Mattson, Nathan Walker, James Brown, Henry Mellsop and Harry Rillstone), accompanied by Mrs Cusens, travelled to AUT University for Project 15, a leadership conference focused on taking New Zealand innovation global. A series of presenters, including Former Black Cap and founder of Triumph & Disaster, Dion Nash; a director of Radio NZ, Melissa Clark-Reynolds and Malcolm Rands of Ecostore spoke about a range of topics such as entrepreneurship, creativity, commercialisation, and leadership.

Attendees left inspired and were given the opportunity to individually talk with the presenters; this provided a chance to ask personalised questions and get relevant feedback, as well as meet one another and build networks with existing businesses.

The presentation topics ranged from launching a product in a new market to finding the right investors. While the conference was targeted at entrepreneurs, almost all of this advice is applicable to a range of situations in both education and commerce.

One of the recurring points from Project15 was the cultural difference between New Zealand and global markets such as America and China. Vaughan Rowsell, the founder of Vend, iterated this point with the advice, ‘Get on a plane; you need to understand how the world sees New Zealand. Get on a plane; you need to understand the culture of your market. Get on a plane; tell your story to the world and if your story is good enough, it will spread like wildfire and be the best marketing you could ever have.’

Other important points included those of James Whittaker, technical evangelist for Microsoft. James spoke about the expertise required for creation and planning. This is particularly helpful for students in the Jack Paine Centre who are often assessed through practical projects rather than examinations. James stated, ‘Something cannot come from nothing, expertise is the first ingredient’  - this encourages students to analyse existing work in order to understand conventions such as the elements of design and is sure to help the students with their work.


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