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Youth, founders and future of business : how the GridAKL / Tech Café supports young founders


Youth, founders and future of business : how the GridAKL / Tech Café supports young founders

By September 7, 2017No Comments


Recently the GridAKL / Tech Café team met hundreds of young entrepreneurs which got them thinking about youth, founders and business. Here they talk about why we should not dismiss millennials and a new GridAKL / Tech Café offer designed to help more of our enterprising young people succeed. 

It’s hard to navigate stories of business growth in New Zealand without coming across J
amie Beaton. Jamie and his company Crimson Consulting is the classic story of a great idea, executed well. Crimson Consulting helps high school students transition to Ivy League colleges in the United States – an idea that has resulted in an EY Entrepreneur of the Year finalist nod, rumours of NBR Rich-List placement, and a spot in the coveted Under 30 Summit Asia for 22-year-old Jamie. Hardly surprising, he is helping helm a company with a 220 million-dollar valuation after all.

While this success may seem a little shocking for someone sub 30, it is the kind of accomplishment we should be expecting to see more of off the back of young people choosing entrepreneurial futures. A 2013 OECD report entitled “Youth Entrepreneurship” surmises that two in five young people in the EU aspires to set up a business. Meanwhile one of the worlds leading VC’s is a mere 32 years old, a 21 year old raised 1.2 million dollars this year for his business from the likes of Rob Fyfe, Kevin Roberts, Sara Tetro, Diane Foreman and Tim Norton and even Vice Magazine is extolling the virtues of embracing working for oneself. Millennials – not all avo toast.

Talking about the future with our future

A few weeks ago, our GridAKL / Tech Café team were lucky enough to tag along with GridAKL / John Lysaght Building operators – BizDojo, to check out Festival For The Future. For the uninitiated, Festival For The Future is a multi-day festival meets conference designed to inspire, educate, connect and charge-up the young people of New Zealand.

“The Festival is run by Inspiring Stories, a social enterprise operating nationwide with the vision to see every young New Zealander unleash their potential to change the world. The first Festival ran in 2011 with 100 attendees and has grown every year since. The Founder & CEO of Inspiring Stories and the Festival, Guy Ryan, was awarded the Young New Zealander of the Year Award in 2015.”

Comprising of workshops, networking opportunities, one on one experiences and speakers sharing wisdom on topics as diverse as mental health, resilience, and the future of education. Festival for the Future is the perfect place for those a few years younger than me to get excited about their prospects. For the slightly more jaded, older folk like myself it was also the perfect opportunity to talk to a room of future Jamie Beaton’s about what their big goals were.

And goals there were plenty of goals

There was the young woman that wanted to lift her family out of poverty, the lady with a startup idea (that was pretty damned good) she wanted to take global. The teacher who wanted to support the kids in her school to succeed. Social enterprise ideas aplenty, and even one particularly inspirational person who wanted to start ten social enterprises – this guy who was younger than 25 made me feel particularly lazy.

Not only were they goals, but they were also goals with intentions. With the young people we spoke to, figuring out next steps, connecting the dots to make their goals come to life.

It is hard to not walk away from a weekend like that without a dose of inspiration. And we immediately asked ourselves what we could do to help. So, we have worked out a way for our GridAKL Tech Café Membership, with its community, connection, support and access to learning to be even more accessible.

We are now offering a 50% off student discount for people aged between 18-25 to get your discount code all you need to do is sign up to receive Student Starter tips, a new service from the GridAKL / Tech Café that helps connect students and young people with opportunities, events and news to help them grow their ideas. Sign up here and be sent your 50% off code automatically.

We are also want to hear from young people that are doing great projects! The GridAKL / Tech Café team is a passionate bunch with a lot of experience between us – from helping startups grow, through to helming our own businesses, crafting marketing for big brands and helping launch brands into international markets. If we have he expertise to help, or the ability to connect you to someone who may help get you going we want to know! If this sounds like you, flick an email to 

This blog post was written by GridAKL / John Lysaght Building team member Anya, if you have a story you think she would love to write about tweet her about it.