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Student story

Isabelle Smith

26 December 2023

Studying towards a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Science (Geography & Environmental Science)


UCE Involvement:

UCE Incubator Programme (2017)
Entré $85K Challenge - Runner Up (2017)
SDS Business Case Competition (2017)


MGMT 228 – China Study Tour (2015)
Vice-President, Student Volunteer Army (2017)
Sustainability Consulting Graduate, EY (2018)
Co-founder, The Monthly Co.

How did you come across the UC Centre for Entrepreneurship (UCE)?

My older brother was involved with the Entré $85K Challenge a few years back and he really enjoyed it, so that’s when I first heard about UCE. I was involved the business case competition at the start of the year, so that was probably my first interaction with UCE.

How did you find the case competition?

It was really good! I enjoyed it, but didn’t have the time commitment to continue with further competitions. It’s a great stepping stone to bigger things.

In our competition, the business we had to advise was Beca - they wanted to expand their consulting arm of the firm. We ended up placing second in New Zealand for our ideas!

You’ve been involved in the Entré $85K Challenge. How has that been?

It’s been great - I have probably learnt more through the $85K Challenge than any university paper I’ve taken!

My co-founder (Josie Milton) and I have started a social enterprise called The Monthly Co., a social enterprise aiming to provide a service for the to-your-door delivery of organic tampons, with every purchase resulting in a donation to at risk women.

How did you come up with the idea?

At the beginning of the year, Josie and I were watching the news, seeing girls and women miss out on school and work because they didn’t have access to these products. We also saw the rejection by Pharmac for subsidisation of tampons. So we thought: how could we solve it? And how convenient would it be to have them delivered? 

What are the challenges you’ve faced with The Monthly Co.?

Finding a supplier that was trustworthy and subsequently dealing with communications with a supplier on the other side of the world in Slovenia! There was also a lot of research involved. The weird things with manufacturers is that a lot of them don’t have proper Google terms, which meant hours of searching!

What have you learnt?

Pretty much everything on how to start and run my own business! But, specifically, importing products and onselling I’d say.

What advice would you give to a student wanting to begin their own startup?

Utilise the opportunities available at UCE! Get involved in the Incubator Programme or Summer Startup Programme because they provide you with great support and advice.

What has been your most memorable moment at UCE?

I’m really into cryptocurrency so I really enjoyed the UCE guest speaker talk by Andy Masters from Inductive.

What are your aspirations for the future?

Apart from finishing both my degrees, I’m excited to see where The Monthly Co. goes. I definitely want to shake up the tampon industry in New Zealand!

Lastly, Josie and I want to say a big thank you to UCE – in particular, Rachel, Michelle and all the team at Entré!

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