How to launch a new business in just six weeks

The six week Startup 101 pilot programme welcomed its first participants at Wintec

The Startup 101 pilot programme welcomed its first participants at Wintec and they have six weeks to pitch a successful business plan.

Imagine you have six weeks to take a business idea from scratch, develop a business plan and pitch it to the equivalent of a dragon’s den? That’s the reality for 11 Waikato people who are reinventing their futures after losing their jobs.

While that sounds tough, they are getting help and support from the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) and Wintec with the specifically designed Startup 101 programme that is grounded in design thinking.

MSD Work Broker and advisor for Waikato’s economic development agency, Rebecca Komene, was at the Startup 101 launch event where the participants met their tutors, mentors and most importantly – each other for the first time.  She’s one of the team collaborating on the pilot programme with Wintec.

“This is a new initiative aimed at people who have found themselves out of work for a variety of reasons, including as a result of Covid, with a business idea that has potential and the drive to make it work,” says Komene.

“Developing a new business can be a solitary journey, but  Startup 101 is an in depth, six-week course  where people are encouraged to give it all they’ve got and enjoy the journey with others on the same path.”

Welcoming the group and introducing the tutors, Wintec Centre for Business and Enterprise Team Manager, Anne Morrison explained that this may not be the style of teaching and learning they’ve experienced before.

“We’ve designed this course as a whole but with flexibility to respond to individual needs,” says Morrison, who adds the customised package aligned with MSD requirements is designed to get participants to a  place where they have a strong business plan and they can pitch for financial support from various agencies and organisations.

“Along the way you are going to experience a creative, design thinking approach. Here you can bounce ideas off each other and invited industry partners and tutors who understand business and the challenges facing entrepreneurs.”

Startup 101 is a pilot programme designed to be practical, relevant and a confidence boost for its first cohort. In return, they are being encouraged to offer feedback over the six weeks to ensure they get value every step of the way.


Mark Jamieson and Pia Tahana joined the Startup101 programme to develop their business ideas Mark Jamieson and Pia Tahana joined the Startup101 programme to develop their ideas in a collaborative learning environment.

Pia Tahana, a Startup 101 participant, says she is comfortable presenting to funders, and she is eagerly developing a business plan for her mobile spa business.

“I’m looking forward to expressing my ideas with others and getting a lot of good insight to create a solid business plan,” she says.

“It can be hard to get an honest critique from a friend.”

Mark Jamieson, another participant, was made redundant when Covid impacted the media  advertising industry he worked in. He plans to use his years of experience to develop his own media consulting business.

“For me, consolidating my ideas will be good. I want to take those ideas from a side hustle into a business that has potential to grow.” 

He adds that having six weeks to develop the plan for his idea gives him a lot more certainty. 

Three weeks later, there’s a buzz in the air,  smiles all around and there is progress. The participants are enjoying the opportunity to learn from invited business experts,  exploring their options to refine their ideas and sharing their plans.

It’s a positive start for 11 people who want to succeed.

Startup 101 is a pilot programme based on the MSD Flexi-wage for Self Employment scheme where participants must have a business plan to apply for a subsidy.

Find out more about studying business at Wintec

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