Summer Startup Programme | UC Centre for Entrepreneurship

Summer Startup Programme and UC Innovators' Scholarships


Our Summer Startup Programme is an opportunity for students to fast-track their ventures (commercial or social enterprise) to reality by working on them full-time for ten weeks over the summer period. It is also an opportunity for students with an idea for a startup or who just want to give it a go.

In conjunction with the programme, the UC Innovators' Summer Startup Scholarships offer students $5,000 (tax-free) to work on their ventures over the summer period. As an official UC scholarship, this will also show on your UC transcript, should you be successful.

It is intended that the financial support of the scholarships enable students to apply their time and energy to developing a business or social enterprise instead of taking up a summer job.

However, should you not be successful in receiving a scholarship, you may still be able to participate in the Summer Startup Programme.

If you have any questions about the Summer Startup Programme or our scholarships, please contact Michelle Panzer at


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Summer Startup students at final presentations February 3, 2016 Summer Startup students from 2016/17 Programme

About the Programme

Students will work for ten weeks over the summer period from November to February, with all students required to start by Monday 20th of November 2017. The programme will close down for the Christmas break from the 16th of December 2017 to the 7th of January 2018.

Students will utilise the Lean Business Model methodology in conjunction with supportive mentoring to experience what is involved in starting a new venture over the programme. Students will also benefit from engaging workshops and seminars from our staff and local industry. Students are expected to carry out the majority of their work while in the Programme in Christchurch and will have dedicated space to work on their ventures in the UC Centre for Entrepreneurship. The programme aims to assist students in all areas to advance their ventures to the next stage. Topics covered during the programme include:

  • Defining the problem or unmet need
  • Understanding the customer
  • Market Validation
  • Value Proposition
  • Product Development
  • Intellectual Property Options
  • Route to Market
  • Finance Options
  • Business Plans
  • Team Building and Management

Students are required to give a five-minute presentation at the end of the programme, for which the top 10 selected present at our annual presentation evening during the first week of February 2018 (exact date to be announced). This is the highlight of the programme for many previous participants of the programme. Students and staff are joined by mentors and other UC staff and local industry to celebrate the conclusion of the programme and hear the final pitches of the students. See photos from last year's presentations on our Facebook page.

Previous Students

Last summer's programme had 36 students working on 29 ventures that included a number of for-profit as well as socially responsible organisations, including Biome, a company which manufactures biodegradable products from didymo; Farm Sense, a drone based service for locating invasive tree species; Minimise, a health and safety software package aimed to simplify inspections; and Peak to Plateau, which creates outdoor clothing from sustainably sourced yak wool.

Many students have used the Summer Startup Programme as a launch pad to progress into well known accelerator programmes including:

Head on over to our alumni page to read profiles from previous participants of the programmes and to find out how the programme helped them progress their businesses.

How to Apply

Applications for this years programme are now OPEN. Please apply here - closing date is Noon on the18th September 2017..

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Prior to completing the online application form, we recommend that you draft and save your entry in a word document. To assist with this, we have prepared these helpful application templates (see below). Once you have completed the template and you are happy with your answers, simply copy and paste into the online form!

Applications not submitted using this online form will not be considered.

Application templates

  • If you have an idea for a business or social enterprise or have an existing venture, use this application template (WordDoc, 14KB)
  • If you don't have an idea or an existing business or social enterprise but want to get involved with a startup, use this application template (WordDoc, 14KB)

Successful applicants will be determined by a selection panel and will be notified by email whether they were successful in obtaining a scholarship by Friday the 22nd of September.

If you are in a team with other students working on the same venture, you must all apply separately. There are a limited number of scholarships available which could mean that not all members of your team are successful in receiving a scholarship. However, should this occur, these team members are still welcome to participate in the Summer Startup Programme.

Eligibility and Selection Criteria

  • You must be enrolled in at least one course towards a degree at the University of Canterbury in Semester 2 of 2017
  • You must show:
    • personal commitment to developing a start-up venture towards providing a real and viable product or service, and
    • that you will make the most of the opportunity provided to you over the summer
  • You can work on a social or for-profit venture.
  • Centre for Entrepreneurship
    University of Canterbury
    Private Bag 4800, Christchurch
    New Zealand
  • +64 3 369 3403
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