The SODA Inc. Innes48 Business Start Up Competition kicked off yesterday for the 7th year. The Opening Ceremony included talks from entrepreneurs Emily Heazlewood, Darrel Hadley, Peter Howell and Hal Josephson on their entrepreneurial journeys and gave the VIP guests and teams some of their key learnings.  With only 48 hours to come up with a business idea, the speakers made it clear the teams need to learn how to fail fast and bounce back.

Emily Heazlewood gave us insight on the three main learning points of her journey. The power of people and making meaningful connections is what helped her make the next step in business. After 12 months of developing and launching her application, Romer, understanding the why played a big part in the growth and improvement of the app. "Having passion, determination and vision for your idea will carry it through hard times when people say no".

The ‘accidental entrepreneur’, Darrel Hadley, co-founder of Good George, shared the importance of focusing on your strengths and knowing what success looks like. Splitting the end goal into small manageable chunks makes the world of difference when building a business.

Trusting your gut was the main learning Peter Howell, co-founder of DROPIT, shared with participants, along with finding the best advisors and asking the right questions. "Try and meet as many mentors and find ones you gel with, LISTEN and learn as much as you can". This being an important message to participants, who are surrounded by 25 expert mentors over the weekend to help get their ideas off the ground.

Changing the world by disrupting the norm was the main message Hal Josephson gave to participants. "It's a process. It's not whether you win or lose it's about communicating what your business is about and learning if there is a need/problem". Disruptive companies are changing the way we look at the world and Hal expressed the need for these businesses to constantly challenge the way we think.

Our theme for 2018 is 'Better Together' - People who are in competition are grinding. They’re more focused on winning than creating real solutions. However, when your thinking becomes expanded, you realise you could do so much more with other people. When you collaborate with other people, 1+1= more than two. The whole becomes different from the sum of its parts.

Teams need to develop a business model that demonstrates "win-win" partnerships that could be built on:

  • a culture of co-creation and collaboration
  • new models of sharing, rather than ownership
  • enduring community values of generosity, equality, honesty and trust, beyond just profit
  • taking two or more businesses and combining them to open up new commerce opportunities for all

While many start-ups aspire to disrupt an industry, they often view their peers as competitors rather than prospective collaborators. Yes, start-ups are challengers to the way industries operate and aspects of our lives function, but competing is not always the best path to achieving success.

Challenging, rather than collaborating, leads to the demise of many start-ups, which fail to understand how their industry operates and how best they can maximise their place within it. Having a great idea is essential but, if we can combine this with buy-in from organisations who already possess power, we’re really cooking with fire.

This event wouldn't be possible without the support of, Wintec, Gallagher, ASB, Waikato Tainui, LearningWorks, The University of Waikato, Callaghan Innovation, Deloitte, Fieldays Innovations, Norris Ward McKinnon, Netvalue, Hamilton City Council and Chow:Hill.