Some of Tauranga’s best and brightest young minds will be “mashed together” with local entrepreneurs this weekend to try and solve problems in our community using entrepreneurial and technical skills.
The annual Mashup event is now in its seventh year, with teams of four tasked to develop a product idea, create a business plan and build a prototype with the help of expert mentors over 48 hours.
The challenge gets underway on Saturday morning and culminates in a final team pitch in front of a panel of judges on Sunday night to win cash prizes.
The 10 teams competing include teams from Tauranga Girls’, Tauranga Boys’ and Aquinas Colleges, Youth Search and Rescue, as well as groups of friends who’ve joined forces for the competition.
The teams need to come up with an idea to solve a problem and have been given several themes for inspiration, including how to protect and manage our local environment, how to maintain and improve local fresh water resources, how to keep our community safe in the face of natural disasters, and finding solutions to the region’s growth issues such as traffic congestion and increasing house prices.
Event director Pascale Hyboud-Peron from Venture Centre says the Bay of Plenty Regional Council- sponsored competition has always been focused on technology but since Venture Centre came on board three years ago, has evolved to include the development of entrepreneurial skills.
“Technology needs to have an application that people want to use. We want to develop digital and entrepreneurial capability.”
Mashup is a technical term which involves mashing various pieces of technology to make new technology.
“We’ve evolved Mashup to mash up technology with entrepreneurship to solve problems in our community. We are mashing skills, we are mashing mind-sets, we are mashing tools and technology and we are mashing people together,” says Pascale.
The teams will work out of Basestation on Durham Street and will have the opportunity to put their ideas in front of expert mentors, including people from the local business community and other young entrepreneurs. The ideas will then be turned into a website, app, or product and teams will be judged on validation, execution and business viability.
“Everyone is a winner for showing up and going through the process,” says Pascale.
“We provide a safe, supportive environment for these young people to have an entrepreneurial experience.”
And while fun is part of the experience, the event is not sold as such.
“Some of the youngsters will find it hard and we will need to work with them. But by Sunday night it is fun because there is such a feeling of accomplishment, of having built something concrete to present to the panel, and all within 48 hours,” says Pascale.
Mashup is part of Venture Centre’s Mad Ventures programme for young entrepreneurs which comes under the umbrella of the Digital Enablement Programme – a pilot project funded by Tauranga City Council and Western Bay of Plenty District Council to enhance the use of digital technology in the region.