Our top 5 lessons from Founders Central Founder Night

Our top 5 lessons from Founders Central Founder Night

The constant hectic-hustle of entrepreneurial life can be tricky to navigate for anyone, but what if we came together for just one night to celebrate the leaps, the wins, and the pivots? Under our Founders Central banner, we took this idea and ran with it, putting together Founder Nights in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch for entrepreneurs, freelancers, and small business owners.

The nights kicked off with chats, vino and good eats, followed by a screening of startup documentary The New Hustle, and the ability to grill one of its stars Vinomofo Co-Founder and Co-CEO Justin Dry.

The movie and conversation with Justin covered everything from running out of cash to ruining your own product and grappling with mental wellness on the founder journey. Did not manage to make it along? Never fear, we have put together a rundown of our 5 top lessons from the Founders Central Founder Night events across the country. 

Would you eat bugs to save the world?

Our inspiring Christchuch Residents, Anteater have been turning a lot of heads recently, and for a good reason!

Not only have they been sponsored to attend the Social Enterprise World Forum 2017 but they were interviewed on "What Next?", TVNZ's new live and interactive series that explores what New Zealand could look like in 2037.

Our Ressies Bex and Peter of Anteater were approached to comment on the show as their business offers a sustainable food option for the future. Check out their full interview below:

We're taking enquiries for BizDojo Queenstown and Sylvia Park

As you might have heard BizDojo is expanding not only in Auckland, taking up leases in Ponsonby and Sylvia Park, but we've also arrived in Queenstown. 


BizDojo Sylvia Park

BizDojo Sylvia Park is located in the heart of metropolitan Auckland which provides first-rate accessibility to public transport and will house a coworking community of 300 humans.


BizDojo Queenstown

15 minutes from the township, BizDojo Queenstown will house a community of 250 residents who will enjoy unobstructed views of the breathtaking Remarkables and video editing studios - ooooh!


Event goodness coming up across the country

Check out what's happening in BizDojo's across New Zealand. These upcoming events will help you sharpen up your LinkedIn profile, get some pro Startup tips and even help you unwind your entrepreneurial brain through yoga.

21st June 12.30 - 1.30pm "Perfect your LinkedIn Profile"
21st June, 6pm - 8.30pm "Startup Grind AKL"
22nd June, 6.30pm-8pm "
Data Science Discussion Group"
30th June 6.30pm-8pm
 "WordPress Meetup"


Want more?

As you can see we're swimming in events and if you're having trouble staying afloat of them all, we've created a life raft to help you get around them all... The BizDojo Events Newsie! 

Not only will you be delivered fresh events from across the country, but you can also register an event you're hosting for us to include. Check it out below.

New faces across BizDojo this week

Here's a snapshot of all the lovely new faces that BizDojo across the country has had in their spaces. 

Dojo @GridAKL - Matthew Griffin from Future Sight Consulting. Matt is a blockchain enthusiast who is researching how the blockchain can make for better tax policy. Eventbrite’s Marketing Manager Brad McIntyre is also adding value to the Wynyard fam. 

The ever expanding Takas has been joined by Matt Bogust from the beautifully designed Think Packaging and Stewart Kearny, Director of Good for Business, an accounting and business advisory with a focus on sustainability. 

The Welly Dojo has been joined by Irene Wakefield CEO and founder of Prepair NZ, and Josiah Pasikale founder of his own film business called Firetale

The Dojo Chch Fam has also expanded with Risk Management Specialist, Richard Sewak from LifeStyle Solutions and cat lover, Karen Yu from Fintech company, Broadway Technology.


BizDojo building a new coworking and collaboration community in Sylvia Park

It may have seemed like only a few weeks ago we were announcing the doors open at Takapuna, or that the build had started for BizDojo Ponsonby. But here we are today, again with an announcement of the Auckland variety!

On the weekends you might find any of our Auckland crew out at Sylvia Park, and soon you will see us there during the week too - with BizDojo Sylvia Park set to open in 2018 with room for a community of 300 people.


Other than increased proximity to Zara, Sylvia Park is a natural next step for BizDojo for a bunch of reasons - the biggest one being our ability to support even more of Auckland’s founders, entrepreneurs, startups and creative entrepreneurs in the communities that they call home.

“At the moment there are some challenges to getting around Auckland that come with a growing city. We are pretty excited about the ability Sylvia Park has to remove the drudgery of leaving your suburb for a big trek into the CBD to get what you need to do done. Less time sitting in traffic getting stressed, more time for people to move the dial economically in a setting that inspires them, with a community that backs them.” - Nick Shewring, BizDojo co-founder.

Suburban coworking projects like this, and our newly opened community in Takapuna, aim to remove the daily grind, allowing people to work and create near where they live. And that idea of proximity and access for us is a biggie.

Like so many organisations that support entrepreneurs, we have until recently had a central city focus, with many of our spaces in, or on the fringes of the CBD. This has provided a real sense of ease and access for those that live locally, but we have noticed the challenges it creates for those further afield - basically it's harder for those folks to access events we may be running, let alone day to day business support. And we miss out too by not having them as part of our communities.

Sylvia Park will put us in the heart of the Maungakiekie-Tāmaki ward, the second largest creator of GDP in Auckland, with an estimated 73,000 people as our new neighbours across suburbs like Mt Wellington, Onehunga and Penrose.

“This community we are setting out to build in Sylvia Park is about more than just providing coworking to Mt Wellington; for us we are looking at this as another link in the formation of a larger Auckland innovation corridor reaching from Albany to Mangere. It will make it easier for founders, entrepreneurs, and creators of value in the wider southern suburbs to access a supportive environment all framed around helping them and their ideas grow” - Jonah Merchant, BizDojo co-founder

Our new home in Sylvia Park is at No.1 Sylvia Park a new $80million office development, currently under construction as part of the Sylvia Park shopping complex.

“It’s a good location for us as the infrastructure and amenities that Kiwi Property have created and are continuing to develop around Sylvia Park are top notch” - BizDojo co-founder Jonah Merchant.

To be kept up to date with all things Sylvia Park pop your details in the form below, and we will be sure to keep you in the know.

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Quick facts
BizDojo Sylvia Park set to open in 2018
The collaborative coworking environment will be able to house 300 people
BizDojo Sylvia Park will be located at No.1 Sylvia Park, a Kiwi Properties development
BizDojo Sylvia Park will be just 20 minutes from the city, but also be a bridge to the wider southern Auckland Suburbs.

We're Issuing A Rally Cry To The Founder Community

Here at BizDojo we have long been about supporting our founders to succeed, today we are proud to announce a new initiative, designed to bring New Zealand together to back the founder community - Founders Central.

Over the years we have been in the unique position of working hands-on growing our own business, while sitting side by side within a community of startups and entrepreneurs. We have seen gaps in the kind of support that is out there for founders and we are keen to do something about that, but we are not interested in shuffling the deck-chairs. We want Founders Central to be truly helpful to our founders community and complementary to the other great things happening now across the NZ ecosystem.
— BizDojo Co-founder Jonah Merchant.

Our founder focussed initiative has been launched hot on the heels of the government’s announcement to commit $372.8 million towards business growth, and we believe New Zealand’s coworking and collaboration provider, BizDojo is in a good position to rally the private sector to support this growth.

supporting nz founders .jpg

Initial Founders Central activity is framed around discovery, experimentation and iteration - with a strong focus on data collection and founder-lead, targeted initiatives. Earlier in the year, we reached out to the founder community discovering 37% of founders wanted more appropriate resources, 20% called for increased openness and 12% of those surveyed also reported that it was confusing navigating the current landscape.

Feedback highlighted key themes of founder issues with mental wellness, and investment readiness which is where we have focussed our attention for the first Founders Central initiatives, working on a wellness program and BizDojo investors in residence - Greg Sitters and Ken Erskine.

We are also supporting ZeroPoint Ventures with their plan to help founders “build their business to the $1 million revenue mark within two years”.

Jonah and Nick’s vision for New Zealand is to have it populated by empowered founders who are also supported by the innovation ecosystem.

We know the need is there, but we cannot do this alone, so we are calling on the ecosystem to help us. With time we can get programs running on our own dime, and we are committed to doing that - but a collaborative approach will mean faster deployment which will be better for everyone.
— BizDojo Co-founder Nick Shewring

As a country, we encourage people to become their own bosses, to take on new challenges and to change the world around them. Our wish for Founders Central is that it will help founders on their journey and ensure they achieve the vision they’ve set for themselves.

Founders Central is essentially a rallying cry for our vision of healthy, productive founders who are able to work through the stresses of entrepreneurship and creativity and come out the other side with both a successful business but also a successful life.

If you would like to be involved in accelerating business growth in New Zealand by supporting the country’s community of creators, reach out via Founderscentral.com, we can’t wait to see what we can do together.

A Hard Path: Are We Failing Our Founders On Mental Health?

I didn’t see that much celebrated Dustin Moskovitz talk until very recently. You know the one where he talks about burn-out, work-life balance and the blog post he wrote to the same effect. Not because I wasn’t interested, I mean - I am always interested to hear tales of startup from other founders, people like me that have been there. But more because at the time that was happening, my life was really busy.

I was heads down in growth mode - we had a new director on board with us at BizDojo and Wellington was scaling. The business model was changing in Auckland, along with our relationship with our partners at GridAKL - ATEED, and Jonah (my co-founder) and I were heads down in strategy, fundraising for a new venture and frankly - trying to keep our shit in order as our team grew from 7 to 10, to 15 to where it is today at 40 across BizDojo and Colo.

BizDojo Welly Is Moving Into The Heart Of Tech

For three glorious years the BizDojo Wellington community has occupied 1,470 sundrenched square meters of a former printing factory, and it’s time to say goodbye.

2018 will see us occupying the current home of New Zealand tech giants, Xero, at 3 Market Lane by the Wellington waterfront.

This move will create a naturally occurring tech-hub, with our supercharged community and ColliderWgtn right right in the middle of our inspiring neighbours; Xero, Trademe, NZ Stock Exchange, Te Papa’s incubator, Mahuki and the NZ Film Commission.

While we’ve loved operating out of our Tory street digs the decision to move was a no brainer with so many of our residents working together to build the future - we’ve quickly reached capacity.

Jonah & Nick show their excitement for the new building.

Jonah & Nick show their excitement for the new building.

Xero will still be nearby as they consolidate their staff from various sites around Wellington under one roof on Taranaki Street. Founder of Xero Rod Drury says he’s very pleased his old digs will have such cool new owners.

“We're so happy our friends at BizDojo have taken over our old home. We've worked a lot with their team mentoring companies and the space has been the launch pad of much global innovation that we're sure will continue”.

BizDojo’s founders Nick and Jonah see this next step for BizDojo Wellington as having a massive benefit for the city’s innovative companies looking to collaborate and expand offshore.

We’re founders ourselves and we know that the path to growing game-changing ideas and businesses can be lonely, stressful and difficult. We are providing a collaborative and supportive environment for founders and entrepreneurs, which means better outcomes and more resilience for our business community.
— Nick Shewring
It is great that this is happening naturally in a city like Wellington, and speaks volumes that the local ecosystem is able to organically build a vibrant community with minimal intervention.
— Jonah Merchant

3 Market lane has the capacity for a coworking community of 450 residents and we can’t wait to see it full of founders, startups, entrepreneurs, creatives and small businesses doing awesome stuff.

Looking forward to seeing all your faces at our space-warming in November!


Far from the buzzy centre of Bizdojo Wellington, in a far corner of the space, is a business of FinTech specialists quietly doing extraordinary things for the farmers of Malawi.

For two years, Avenir Technology has worked with African-based ACE Africa to ensure the maize farmers of the southeast African country are not cheated over the crops they grow, store and sell. It’s also helping them to get loans to buy essential equipment.

Tyler Mongan founder of Heart Lab to run workshops with BizDojo around NZ

We're excited to be hosting International Guest Speaker Tyler Mongan, Founder of Heart Lab, in a series of workshops across the country focused on human physiology and innovation. 

Tyler's expertise is developing valuable collective mindsets within organisations that allow for rapid identifying, testing and actioning of innovative ideas emerging from the future. 

He has presented at conferences around the globe and facilitates innovation and strategy experiences. He consults high-growth start-ups, fortune 500 companies, and government agencies on how to apply human physiology to Innovation & Strategy. He is a Ph.D. candidate researching the application of neuroscience, heart-brain communication and quantum medicine science in the emerging business landscape.

Stop, Collaborate and Listen. BizDojo is back with wellness intentions.

Stop, Collaborate and Listen. BizDojo is back with wellness intentions.

Are you sitting at your desk? 

Are your shoulders a bit hunched, your mind feeling like it can't possibly deal with the week's workload and you feel like you can never make it to the gym anymore?

Join the club! This club isn't exclusive either. It's jam packed with on the go, busy business workers who often feel like there aren't enough hours in the day to accomplish what they need. This club is full of creative brains and clever minds who often forget to slow down and take the time to look after what is really important; themselves.

Hello 2017, Hello BizDojo Summer Seminar Series

Hello 2017.

Hello new years resolutions.

Hello gym membership and calling Mum more often and goodbye bank overdraft and buying lunch every day.

There’s something about the changing of the year that inspires us to make a change in ourselves. We reflect on the year that has been, and decide what we don’t want to see in the year to come. However these reflections should really go beyond our personal goals, what should we be working on professionally?

Supported by GridAKL in Auckland and Collider in Wellington, the BizDojo Summer Seminar Series aims to help you get on top of your professional new year resolutions, whether you’ve made some or not.

A more sustainable approach to protein? We talk to Anteater - BizDojo Christchurch Residents

Few people will pause to contemplate the effect drinking their morning coffee, or slicing into their evening dinner may be making on the world around them. But if Anteater has their way this may just change. 

Based out of BizDojo ChristchurchAnteater "acknowledge the imminent crisis surrounding global food security and food sustainability", and have been working hard to make sure that on the menu of your favourite restaurant are some delicious insects. 

Small to medium business tips: dealing with workplace emergencies such as earthquakes

It feels wrong to have to write a blog post like this. After all, how great would it be to exist in a world where the threat of earthquakes or other natural disasters are just that - a threat and not a reality. However, after the events of the past week, there is only so much burying your head in the sand one can do.

The topic of keeping safe in emergencies is one not new to us here in Dojo’, we are pretty serious about Health & safety when it comes to our team and the humans that call BizDojo home and have plans in place for all sorts of eventualities. But when it comes to topics like this, it isn’t all about us. This in mind we have put this blog together to help you, whoever you may be and wherever you may be placed to keep you and your team safe. Think we missed something important? Reach out to us on Twitter or the comments below and we will add it in. 

Is your kettle close to boiling? A reflection of BizDojo Wellington's MHAW

October 10th - 14th, marked New Zealand’s Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW) where communities were urged to take the week as an opportunity to focus on mental wellbeing. 

Having personally witnessed loved ones confronted with varying forms of mental illness, it is a subject matter I am familiar with and one I believe needs to be shared no matter who you are or what you do.