Adult study leads to fresh career and a new startup
05 December 2022
For Hannah Ensor, starting university as an adult was a daunting prospect, but the UC experience has provided her with fresh career opportunities and helped her launch a startup, bookitin.
Hannah will graduate with a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Information Systems from Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha | the University of Canterbury this month. She says she always wanted to go to university, but life took her in a different direction.
“Having only worked in hospitality, as a personal trainer and group fitness instructor, and having my own small marketing business, I didn’t feel many opportunities were open to me. I just knew that I had more potential, so I decided it was time to get serious, follow my dreams and go to university,” she says.
“I have always been business-minded and entrepreneurial, so the BCom with a major in Information Systems was the perfect fit. It provided me with a good overall knowledge of the commercial environment, as well as the technical skills necessary to build software. But also, the soft skills that are essential when bringing together the moving parts of start-up.”
Hannah completed two internships while studying at UC – the first was in a small website development company where she learnt to program websites and understand the technical skills associated with that work; the second was at a software company that builds custom solutions across multiple platforms.
“The internships gave me an opportunity to dive into businesses, identify opportunities for competitive advantage and efficiency, and participate in the building of these solutions. It also provided me experience in everything from planning the specifics around strategy, to designing the screens and processes, and ultimately providing innovative solutions to real client issues.”
In the summer of 2020/21, Hannah participated in the UC Summer Startup at the UC Centre for Entrepreneurship. She says the 10-week programme helped her to refine her business idea for bookitin – a software program for mechanics workshops – and it’s also where she met her business partner.
“The programme really gave me an opportunity to fast-track my venture and afforded me the resources to develop, validate and execute the business. I was able to refine my Minimum Viable Product (MVP) for development and signed up four businesses to be early adopters and beta testers. I was pleased to be one of the finalists, where I pitched my venture to over 200 people and was ultimately offered financial capital.”
Hannah says bookitin has now been launched and implemented in four workshops with testing under way.
“I’m very excited to report that I’m applying and being interviewed for jobs in the fields that I aspired to be part of when entering into tertiary education four years ago. Ultimately, I’d like to take bookitin as far as I can, but also feel grateful for all that I’ve learned through the process and the people I’ve met along the way. I also find myself equally excited and inspired by the career opportunities open to me.”
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