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Summer Startup Programme

16 September 2023

The UCE Summer Startup Programme provides an opportunity to explore your ideas, turn your passions into action, and launch your impact in the world. We help fast-track your ideas into action as you launch commercial ventures and social enterprises that create value in the world. Learn more about our Summer Startup Programme.

Summer Startup Showcase

Come along to support the Summer Startup Programme finalists at their final pitches on Thursday 8 February at The Piano! 

Register now on Humanitix

See the Summer Startup 2023/24 cohort

Unleash your Ideas: Launch your Impact in the World.

The UCE Summer Startup Programme is a 10-week venture accelerator that helps students explore their ideas, transforming passions into action, and launching impactful ventures into the world. We help fast-track ideas into action, launching commercial ventures and social enterprises that create value in the world.

Over 10 action-packed weeks, we create a supportive environment that helps students build and develop their entrepreneurial mindset, while providing the capabilities and support to explore, validate, and launch their venture.

With over 90+ startup founders, business leaders, and industry experts involved in the delivery of the programme, we provide students the opportunity to unleash their potential, build value, and create impact in the world. 

Programme Details:

The Programme provides participants with a dedicated workspace and a community of founders at the UC Centre for Entrepreneurship. We immerse our cohort in an action-packed series of interactive workshops, inspiring speakers and industry experts, alongside connections with experienced mentors who help to accelerate and launch their ventures.

Topics covered during the Programme include: 
  • Problem definition and market validation  
  • Customer value propositions and journey mapping 
  • Business Fundamentals, revenue and cost models, Intellectual property
  • Minimum viable product development 
  • Marketing and Sales 
  • Pathways to market and commercialisation 
  • Ecosystem support, funding, and capital raising
  • Pitching 
  • At the culmination of the Summer Startup Programme, 8 ventures will be selected to pitch and showcase their venture ideas to a room-packed full of investors, startup advisors, mentors, and industry experts. Providing you with the opportunity to propel your idea into the world.

  • A diversity of ideas  
  • Innovative concepts 
  • Desirability, Viability, and Feasibility of ideas, alongside their potential to generate value in the world.  
  • How much impact the Summer Startup Programme will have on you and your future! 

  • 20-25 ventures selected  
  • Any UC student, with an idea, enrolled at least until the 17th of September 2023 can apply!  
  • Individuals or teams are welcome to apply to participate. 
  • Selected participants are expected to be able to commit full-time to the development of their venture during the duration of the Summer Startup Programme. Except for the Christmas/New Year break, each weekday will feature an action-packed series of workshops, inspiring and industry expert speakers, and mentoring. 
  • Any scholarships awarded are for ventures (not individuals), and teams will need to split scholarships between members at their own discretion. At-least one member from each team will be expected to participate full-time.

During the application process you will be asked questions relating to:

  • Your personal details including student id, area of study, and contact information. 
  • Idea/Venture Name 
  • Idea Summary e.g. overview of problem, solution, and unique value proposition and how it would be delivered/channels (500 words) 
  • Who your idea serves? e.g. who will it benefit and create value for? (500 words) 
  • Current status of your idea? e.g. what progress have you made to date? Is your idea in ideation stage, product development/commercialisation stage? 
  • Any IP considerations/ownership related to your venture? (it is fine if you don’t know yet) 
  • What would you personally like to gain from participating in the Summer Startup Programme? (500 words) 
  • Your career aspirations? (500 words) 

*Note: If you have a team (ie. more than one person), you each need to apply separately but can reuse the answers to idea/venture specific questions. 

In conjunction with the programme, UCE has a limited number of Summer Startup Scholarships to offer students and to assist them with working on their ventures over the summer period. 

All applications for the Summer Startup Programme are automatically considered for the Scholarship. UC Student Enrolment as of 2024 criteria applies. 

Applications will open mid-year 2024, so watch this space! 


If you want to find out more about the Summer Startup Programme, contact

or feel free to pop up and see us at UCE, Level 6, Rehua Building, University of Canterbury.

On Thursday 8th February 2024 the UC Centre for Entrepreneurship will be showcasing our latest cohort of student-founded ventures seeking to make an impact in the world. Join us to celebrate our top 8 ventures pitching their ideas and venture ambitions!

Event: UCE Summer Startup Showcase

Date: Thursday, 8th February 2024

Time: 5:15pm – 8:00pm

Location: The Piano, 156 Armagh Street, Christchurch


The 2023/24 Summer Startup Programme features a diverse range 15 ventures and 17 participants, whose ideas range from a bespoke series of nature-rich classical music events, a computer vision powered refereeing system for badminton, a powdered oatmilk that tastes great and eliminates unnecessary packaging, through to a propolsion unit for cube satelittes that increases service life and reduces space junk.

Now in our 11th year, the Summer Startup programme is an intensive 10 week validator and accelerator programme that empowers students with the capabilities and support to launch their ventures. We’ve got a rich alumni of entrepreneurs and ventures including:

  • Hannah Duder (Indigo & Iris)
  • Luke Campbell & Lucy Turner (VXT)
  • Logan Williams (serial inventor and entrepreneur)
  • Chris Bacon & Jack Wood (Komodo Wellbeing)
  • Kendall Flutey (Banqer)
  • Ben Scales & William Murrell (Kiwifibre)
  • Monique Lau (Endosoothe)

This year our ventures and participants have been exposed to 90 + guest speakers, workshop facilitators, and mentors including Brianne West (Ethique, Business but Better, IncrediBalls), Vaughan Fergusson (Vend), James Laughlin, Guy Horrocks, Icehouse Ventures, Blackbird, NZGCP, and many more inspiring entrepreneurs and leading business professionals. We’ve added more in-depth facilitated workshops, weekly customer enquiry challenges, and field trips to the likes of Kea Aerospace, Partly, and Peerage Product.

Please come and join us for our final pitch night, be inspired by the innovative ideas and ventures our participants have been creating, and support the next generation of entrepreneurs seeking to make an impact in the world.


Yuanhang ‘Fred’ Li (Bachelor of Commerce - Marketing & Management)

Seong-Young Her (Bachelor of Product Design - Applied Immersive Game Design)

AdverLink simplifies digital advertising and tracking for SMEs by consolidating Google, Meta, LinkedIn, and TikTok into one easy-to-use platform. Our AI-powered system automates ad creation and optimizes for conversions, making digital marketing hasslefree and more effective.



Emma Arvidson (Bachelor of Product Design - Chemical Formulation)

Renee Tauwhare (UC Commerce Student)

We have developed an oat milk powder to address waste issues in import/export and product end-of-life, and also aim to establish a factory where we can re-purpose our oat waste for packaging.

We are targeting wholesale distribution to various sectors, including airlines, foodstuffs, hotels, cafes, offices and retail travel/ camping stores, as well as having an e-commerce website where people can buy bulk, or through subscription. All of our products will be made using NZ ingredients, supporting the NZ economy, and have a better nutritional profile than traditional milk (more protein, calcium and other essential vitamins, less fat!). Altie is commercialising an oat milk powder that is designed to reduce the waste that is created through export & import, and non-recyclable packaging.

We will be mainly B2B (foodstuffs, airlines, hotels, macpac/hiking stores) as well as available through subscription on our website. We have access to a patented plant based protein and will be including all essential vitamins and minerals that traditional milk offers, so no one on a dairy free diet has to sacrifice.


amAra Skin

Daeem Shariff (Bachelor of Product Design - Chemical Formulation)

amAra skin is a transparent skincare brand celebrating the traditions of south asia. We create products the utilise traditional ingredients, our first product the aitihya serum targets the signs of fine lines and wrinkles. amAra skin, not only celebrates and uses traditional south asian ingredients but we celebrate my grandmothers blend of herbal skincare she used in her skincare life.



Nicholas Dewhurst (Bachelor of Engineering with Honours - Mechatronics)

Through my electronics company DewTron, I want to create a smart home product line focused on lowering power usage for renters. The initial module idea for this system is a device that attaches on top of a light switch (without screws) and physically flips it. This is fully automatable and customisable and can be installed by tenants without consulting the landlord for renovations.



Jackson Munday (Bachelor of Engineering with Honours - Mechatronics)

A mobile application for people in shared living situations to organise and incentivise jobs/chores than need doing in the household. Jobs and chores are assigned rewards in real money and that money can be earned by the housemates that do the work. This app aims to reduce friction between housemates by providing the fairest way to distribute house work.


Ghost Guards

Kent Davidson (Bachelor of Product Design - Industrial)

Ghost guards is a fully reimagined wrist guard for snowboarder. They are lightweight, custom and fit under the glove easily and are designed to go unnoticed by the user.

When heated the guards become malleable and can bend to fit the user then harden the cool to become ridged. This lets each guard be custom to each person ensuring a comfortable fit.



Erika Wright (Bachelor of Product Design - Chemical Formulation)

Koea, an embodiment of the Māori term “to be brilliant and beautiful”, is a passionate endeavor to empower Māori wahine and restore the essence of Māori culture through skincare-powered makeup products. Koea is poised to revolutionize the beauty landscape by fusing ancient Māori wisdom with modern formulation strategies.



Jenny Zhu (Bachelor of Engineering with Honours - Mechatronics)

LineBuddy revolutionises badminton officiating with our automatic umpiring software. Using advanced computer vision and deep learning, we empower umpires, enhancing their precision and confidence. A convenient and affordable way of elevating the badminton experience for players of all levels, both amateurs and competitive players alike.


Nature & Romance Series

Yining ‘Leo’ Liu (Bachelor of Music - Honours)

For mid/high earned group who enjoys and interested in immersing sensual experience of live music, nature, and catering. It is a fashionable and bespoke form of music events that separate from traditional concert setting, providing a social platform for people to connect with the nature and each other.


Pico Propulsion

William Falconer Beach (Bachelor of Engineering with Honours - Mechanical)

Pico Propulsion aims to provide low cost propulsion systems for CubeSats. This allows CubeSat operators to implement collision avoidance and orbital boost maneuvers, lengthening the life and safety of the satellite.



Hunter Hine (Bachelor of Commerce - Strategy and Entrepreneurship)

ResilientU is a dynamic educational platform designed to empower students with the fundamental tools for cultivating habits that pave the way for success in the real world.

Geared forwards students eager to break free from old patters and establish healthier routines, ResilientU offers a subscription-based model, with both individual students and educational institutions having the opportunity to invest in a wealth of knowledge and resources.



George Newton & Louis Newton

(Bachelor of Commerce - Strategy and Entreprenueship & Marketing)

SnippetJobs provide the most efficient platform to find and manage temporary labour in the logistics sector.


Stride Boot

Catriona Savage (Bachelor of Product Design - Industrial)

Stride Boot is a user-centric and empathetically designed recovery boot for users recovering ankle and foot injuries or surgeries. It combines innovative internal and external systems into a lego-like modular design. It is a comfortable, lightweight and fully adjustable recovery boot which is made using sustainable materials. The Stride Boots’s purpose is to replace current recovery boots which are uncomfortable, heavy and lacking in adjustability made with cheap and single-use materials. Stride Boot aims to support users who are seeking to recover in the most advantageous way, so they can stride into the future with confidence.


Untitled Mod Game

Oliver Garrett (Bachelor of Science - Computer Science)

Untitled Mod Game is a 2d game platform. As a gamer, you can play a vast set of games/game modes. As a creator, you can create game-rules in a highly elegant and systemic fashion.



Daniel Rickerby (Bachelor of Engineering with Honours - Mechatronics)

Introducing the next generation of personal transportation to New Zealand. Developing highly efficient and fun human-powered vehicles for urban and recreational usage with a passionate community.


Key Dates

The Summer Startup Programme kicks-off on Wednesday 15th November and runs through to until Thursday 8th February 2024, with our acclaimed Summer Startup Showcase event.

Applications are open from Monday 7th August until midnight, Sunday 17th September. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to turn your dreams into reality…

Key DatesActivity
Monday 7th August, 2023Applications Open
Sunday 17th September, 2023Applications close
Monday 25th September – Friday 6th October, 2023Applicant Interviews
Monday 9th October, 2023Successful Applicants notified
Wednesday 15th November, 2023Summer Startup Programme starts
Saturday 16th December, 2023 – Sunday 7th January, 2024Christmas / New Year break
Monday 8th January, 2024Summer Startup programme re-starts
Thursday 8th February, 2024Summer Startup Showcase event

Our Alumni:

Over the last 11 years the Summer Startup programme has been the starting point for a host impact making entrepreneurs and ventures. Past alumni include:

  • Hannah Duder – co-founder of Indigo & Iris / Little Yellow Bird 
  • Ben Scales and William Murrell – KiwiFibre 
  • Chris Bacon & Jack Wood – Komodo Wellbeing 
  • Luke Campbell & Lucy Turner – VXT 

If you want to find out more about the Summer Startup Programme, contact

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