Soda has partnered with Venture Taranaki on PowerUp – an exciting initiative encouraging growth and innovation in the region. Since February, 50 of Taranaki’s budding entrepreneurs have been attending Venture Taranaki’s PowerUp Co.Starters. The eight-week workshop series helped participants build their business plan and learn about starting and growing an enterprise. Five finalists were selected for the PowerUp programme (the equivalent of Soda’s Lift Lite programme) to take their business to the next level. The PowerUp finalists received one-on-one mentoring from Soda mentors.

Rob Achten, cofounder of pet wellness brand, Animals Like Us,  is mentoring Glen Stephens, founder of Sol + Sea. We asked Rob a few questions about the mentoring process.

What is your area of expertise?

Customer insights, brand strategy and product innovation.

Tell us about the PowerUp business you’ve been mentoring?

I have been mentoring Glen Stephens who is the founder of Sol + Sea, a reef-safe, botanical skincare brand. The core idea is really strong. It has come about from his own personal experience and feels deeply authentic. Glen is passionate about the cause and the positive impact he wants to bring about.

What excites you about Sol + Sea?

Glen’s passion and drive.

How have you been able to improve Sol + Sea?

I hope I have made the overall proposition clearer and more powerful with a more single-minded purpose, brand model and messaging hierarchy. I’ve challenged Glen on the target consumer and think that this has become more focussed. I’m also excited by the potential of the brand’s visual articulation.

What have you enjoyed most about mentoring Glen?

Glen was 100 percent committed to the programme and open to new ideas and fresh perspectives.

What is your favourite part of being a business mentor?

The exchange of ideas and perspectives. I get exposed to other founders - all of which have challenges and hurdles to overcome and doubts along the way. The journey of building a business is an interesting one and it can sometimes be lonely. I enjoy being able to get a glimpse of their experience and rollercoaster ride. I’m learning as much from them as they are from me.

Join Venture Taranaki at the PowerUp Idea Competition Finals Night on June 16 to see who wins $10,000 cash to PowerUp their business. Register for your free ticket here.