During the 2018 summer holidays Natasha Peter attended the Summer Start Up programme run by the University of Canterbury Centre for Entrepreneurship. The course is run annually for students who are interested in starting their own business and allows them to work on their idea full-time for ten weeks under the guidance of local business experts. During the programme the students learnt the Lean Business Model method and participated in various workshops and seminars. Natasha was one of two recipients of a $4,500 Ara Foundation grant to enable attendance on the course.
The Summer Start Up provided Natasha with invaluable information which helped her understand more about running and growing her business, Koppie. Koppie is a bespoke mug and apparel company that seeks to create memories through mugs, which it provides for small businesses within the Christchurch CBD.
Natasha was amazed at the extraordinary opportunities the programme gave to her.
“We could sign up to speak one on one with intellectual property lawyers, accountants, and many other professionals. Having one on one meetings meant that you were not only making connections but also getting personalised advice for your venture”.
The mentors gave advice that was invaluable to Natasha. She was grateful to be given realistic and honest advice, that she knows she would never have learned alone.
A highlight for Natasha was visiting EY, a large international financial accounting advisory firm. It was here she found out more about what tax bracket to place her business in, and how to invest assets.
Natasha was given the opportunity to speak at the Ministry of Awesome’s Coffee and Jam event. This involved pitching her business to over 60 people, before finally pitching to a panel of judges. The pitch was followed by a question and answer session which Natasha found helpful for building her confidence. Public speaking and answering questions on the spot pushed Natasha outside of her comfort zone and allowed her to have more confidence in her ideas.
Natasha credits the Summer Start Up Programme for teaching her what her margins should be and to look at the bigger picture when it comes to growing a business.
Since completing the programme Natasha has secured a new supplier, which has made product margins more viable for her business. She is currently in the final stages of negotiations with three businesses who are interested in working with her.
“I would recommend this programme to anyone that wants to know more of how the world works or wants to be pushed out of their comfort zone. The resources were amazing, and the connections. I know I will use them in future endeavours. When I started at the centre I had no idea what it took to run a business or even just the basics but thanks to the guidance I received I now have an understanding of what’s involved to realise your idea”.