Young Person of the Year aims to inspire future entrepreneurs in Christchurch summit

13 September 2018

The Commonwealth Young Person of the Year is heading to Christchurch this month to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs aiming to create positive change in the world, at the University of Canterbury.

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    Australian businessman Usman Iftikhar, age 28, who was presented with the Commonwealth Young Person of the Year award by Prince Harry in London earlier this year, is speaking at the inaugural UC Centre for Entrepreneurship (UCE) Impact Summit 2018, 27-29 September.

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The seven speakers at Day One include New Zealand’s youngest MP Chlöe Swarbrick.

The Commonwealth Young Person of the Year is heading to Christchurch this month to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs aiming to create positive change in the world, at the University of Canterbury (UC).

Australian businessman Usman Iftikhar, age 28, who was presented with the Commonwealth Young Person of the Year award by Prince Harry in London earlier this year, is speaking at the inaugural UC Centre for Entrepreneurship (UCE) Impact Summit 2018, 27-29 September.

Iftikhar co-founded the Sydney-based social venture incubator Catalysr to help refugees create their own businesses. 

From Pakistan, Iftikhar came to Australia with an engineering degree but struggled to get meaningful work, even after completing a master’s degree in engineering management. He used that experience to create Catalysr.

“We’ve been running for only 18 months, but so far we’ve helped 66 people,” he said in April while in London to receive the award.

“They range all the way from an Egyptian food truck, to someone who is trying to print 3D diamonds.”

He is also the Australian lead at G20 Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance (YEA) designing a G20-wide Youth Entrepreneurship Visa, and he is developing a new SpaceTech startup to tackle climate change through Singularity University, NASA.

He will share his knowledge with UC students and aspiring entrepreneurs at the first UCE Impact Summit.

UCE Director Dr Rachel Wright says the Impact Summit will be a celebration of international, national and local entrepreneurialtalent.

“It’s a rare opportunity to engage with both international entrepreneurs and well known Kiwis who are creating change in the world,” she says.

“Young people are motivated to make an impact and are increasingly looking for career paths where they can make a positive difference. This event aims to give participants the skills that the moment you leave university, you can do just that – from Day One.”

The three-day Impact Summit’s flagship event is Day One, a day of learning about entrepreneurship and meeting like-minded individuals. Day One will offer students, young professionals and anyone seeking to create positive change, the opportunity to engage with international entrepreneurs and high achieving Kiwis. Iftikhar is one of seven speakers at Day One, including New Zealand’s youngest MP Chlöe Swarbrick.

In addition to inspiring main-stage talks, Day One will feature workshops with local change-makers, entertainment from musicians Emily Browning and Iconic Duo, and catering by local companies Bacon Bros, Fush, and Hummingbird Coffee.

The Impact Summit also includes a two-day startup competition for tertiary students, the Social Enterprise Challenge, in which entrants work with experts and business mentors to create a social enterprise, aiming to impress the judges and win $3000 in cash prizes.

UCE Impact Summit 2018 event partners include the Christchurch City Council and Ministry of Youth Development.

Tickets for Day One are available - register to attend the UCE Impact Summit 2018. (Applications to compete in the UCE Social Enterprise Challenge are open to all tertiary students until noon on Friday, 14 September.)

For further information please contact:

Margaret Agnew, Senior External Relations Advisor, University of Canterbury
Phone: +64 3 369 3631 | Mobile: +64 275 030 168margaret.agnew@canterbury.ac.nz
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