UC graduate and serial entrepreneur taking on the crypto world

15 December 2020

Opportunity is everywhere if you are willing to grab it. For University of Canterbury (UC) student Charlie Kavanagh, who is graduating this week, UC has provided a number of opportunities for him to flex his entrepreneurial muscle and broaden his horizons with international travel.

  • UC Graduate Charlie Kavanagh

Graduating with a Bachelor of Commerce double major in Information Systems and Management and a minor in German, Charlie says the entrepreneurship scene at UC is unparalleled.

“I started three businesses since coming to UC,” he says. “A gelato store, Charlato; a mobile app for small businesses called Vinta, and Foodies, a food safety consultancy. I wouldn't have been able to achieve any of these if it wasn't for the staff and resources at UCE (UC Centre for Entrepreneurship).”

For two years, Charlato operated at Sumner Beach. Incorporating Charlie’s love of information systems and entrepreneurship, his customers could pay for their ice creams using Bitcoin currency.

“It was easy to set up and I had roughly 20 customers pay using crypto over the years,” he says. “Essentially it works like paywave between phones, it just takes one scan of a QR code and your funds are sitting in your wallet within minutes.”

While studying Charlie was also heavily involved in the UC student clubs scene, particularly in global club 180 Degrees Consulting. As the Financial Workshop Director, Charlie worked closely with other students to provide innovative business solutions to local social enterprises and not-for-profit organisations. He also volunteered with Purpose Projects, a not-for profit founded in 2018 by UC Law graduate and entrepreneur Laura Robinson.

“Over summer I helped build a high school in Uganda with Purpose Projects,” says Charlie. Purpose Projects recruits volunteers to go to Uganda to empower children through education and bring positive volunteering back into Africa.

“It really taught me to appreciate everything around me and is an experience that I would recommend to all.”

The organisation has been a great success and is working towards expanding. “The expansion is two-fold. We are working towards expanding in Australia to recruit volunteers and into other parts of Africa and the Pacific to complete community projects.”

COVID-19 might have put a dampener on the expansion of Purpose Projects, but it hasn’t dampened Charlie’s entrepreneurial spirit.

Since finishing his study, Charlie has been working at Lentune Software Solutions, an invoice automation supplier, and will soon be moving to Sydney where he will work for Easy Crypto, New Zealand’s largest Bitcoin exchange, to expand their growth into the Australian market.

“I’m a business-minded person, and UC has given me access to a ton of resources. The entrepreneurship scene here is unparalleled. I would highly recommend UC to anyone who’s passionate about start-ups. You'll learn heaps of great skills, meet inspiring people and maybe even graduate with your own business… or three!”

UC Communications team, media@canterbury.ac.nz, Ph: (03) 369 3631 or 027 503 0168

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