Jacyntha Joseph Michael
“When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace” – Jimi Hendrix
Summer Startup Programme 2017/18
What project are you working on at UCE?
Our venture is called Aspirations, Aspirations provides our trainees with a practical and meaningful path to employment. Our Programme combines practical work experience and training in the hospitality industry. This ensures that our graduates are well prepared to integrate into community workplaces once they are ready to move on.
Where is Aspirations now and how have you progressed by being in the programme?
At the beginning of the summer programme, Aspirations was just an idea, after being part of the programme and 4 months later, we don’t just have an idea but a defined business plan, a developed training programme and are in the process of collaborating with cafés and disability groups. This is quite a big leap from where we were.
How did you find the UCE Summer Startup Programme?
I thought it was really good. Firstly, it was a good platform to meet a lot of people with business experience which was really valuable. Having the opportunity to pitch our ideas and learning how to create proper pitch was also really valuable. It was through the Summer Programme where we met a lot of people that helped us grow our business.
You joined the Programme with one idea and came out the other end with a completely different venture. Tell me a little about that?
I initially joined the summer programme with one venture but then I met Jess. She shared this amazing idea that she had with me. When the previous venture did not work out, it was a really good opportunity for me to work with Jess, so I took it. Jess and I have a really good vibe and our principles and values align.
What is your most memorable moment this summer at UCE?
The first is definitely meeting Jess, that was something I was very grateful for. The other was having the opportunity to pitch with Jess at the Ministry of Awesome Coffee and Jam.
What are people’s reactions to Aspirations?
They think it’s amazing and are very supportive, sharing their opinions and ideas on how we can go about it. People are generally very positive about it all.
What do you find interesting about being an entrepreneur?
I think the most interesting thing about being an entrepreneur is how much you learn about how the world works. I have always been a risk taker and for me being an entrepreneur means you have to be bold and make decisions you would not normally have to, which is quite exciting for me.
What advice would you give to a student considering starting up their own venture?
I think the one piece of advice would be to speak to as many people who have started their own ventures because there is always something to learn from them. One thing I learnt from being part of this Programme is you have to be ready to fail and also to not be afraid to fail. No one that has made a difference has had it smooth sailing.
Are you working on anything outside of UCE?
I actually am, a mini project to create sustainable farming through aquaponics. It is still at an early stage. Aquaponics is a method of farming involving growing vegetables and fish in a close looped eco system. I started this last month in January.
What are your plans for this year?
This year I am still studying and my plan is to do really well in my studies. As for Aspirations, we plan to kick start our first training programme in the second half of the year, aiming to have a minimum of 5 trainees by the end of the year.
What are your aspirations for the future?
My aspirations for the future are to inspire more women to live a balanced life according to their own terms. I also want to encourage people to be themselves and achieve what they want to achieve in their own way.
And your aspirations for Aspirations?
To promote community integration for people with learning disabilities and to pioneer the hospitality industry for people with learning disabilities in New Zealand.