Thanks to Viclink’s close connections with the innovation community, 14 of Victoria’s students and graduates are currently involved in an intensive, three-month internship programme, assisting ten digital technology start-ups as they progress through Lightning Lab – a business accelerator programme.
“Lightning Lab was founded by Wellington’s start-up incubator, Creative HQ,” says Abby Buchanan, Viclink’s Student Entrepreneurship Manager. “Viclink has close ties with both organisations, so we were first to hear they were looking for technical development, design and business talent to help teams taking part in The Lab’s 2014 programme.” She says it was a fantastic opportunity for Victoria’s budding entrepreneurs to learn more about what’s involved in creating a start-up and to find out what it’s like to work in the business world. “We put the word out to students, and then helped them with their applications to give them the best chance of being accepted.”
Of the paid Lab Tech positions and unpaid internships available, Victoria University students scored two of the paid positions and 12 of the unpaid roles.
“Taking ten of the country’s best digital start-up companies from concept to investment-ready (normally two years’ worth of business progress) in just 13 weeks is a huge undertaking,” explains Sam Bonney, Lightning Lab’s Programme Manager (pictured, centre). “The Lab Techs and interns help the teams make the progress we need to see during the programme; what they get in return is the opportunity to take part in all of the Lightning Lab’s events, make some great connections and learn some real-life business skills from New Zealand’s leading entrepreneurs and business experts.”
It’s an opportunity that two of the Lab Techs – Victoria’s Yasmin Stewart and Michael Szeto – are relishing. “It’s teaching me how to work in a ‘lean’ environment,” says Yasmin (pictured, left), who finished her degree in Industrial Design last year. “I’ve learned how to produce work of a high standard, very quickly and across teams – skills that are going to be really attractive to future employers.” Michael (pictured, right), a Digital Media Design student, agrees: “The design industry is hugely competitive – you’ve got to be at the top of your game to even be considered for a job. The skills I’m learning, and the connections I’m making, could make all the difference when I start looking for work.”
Lightning Lab 2014 concludes with ‘Demo Day’ on 28 May.