“When’s the next coffee jam?” is possibly the most asked question we hear. Our monthly meet-ups take place in Queenstown and Wanaka as a place to meet up with like-minded individuals and share/learn from each other you pursue ideas.
We’re pleased to announce that starting in August, Entrepreneur Coffee Jams in Queenstown are returning to the morning time slot, 7:30 a.m. at Yonder on Church Street.
It all started with events at Yonder
When Startup Queenstown Lakes was first kicking things off in Queenstown (CUBE programming had been running for 2 years in Wanaka), the Entrepreneur Coffee Jam event at Yonder was the first official event the organisation ran.
A group of community organisers trying to establish a startup ecosystem felt that a social meetup was the best place to start. “Like an expresso in the morning, sometimes you need something to kick you into gear,” said Startup Queenstown Lakes organiser Trent Yeo. “Entrepreneur Coffee Jam was initially designed to be this energetic shot of startup banter. A chance to have ideas poured over you. Let me reposition that idea. I think it was more like an affogato!”
The organisers wanted to see who might identify with a startup community, so loaded up the initial session with a rock star panel of entrepreneurs making things happen. The first event featured Ben Calder of Wherewolf, Paul Wilson of Chomp, and Mat Weir of First Table sharing some of their stories. Yeo, who leads local adventure tourism operator Ziptrek Ecotours, emceed the event.
Yonder opened their doors and the people came. The first events brought in 30-50 attendees. The free barista coffee and great conversation set the momentum for the organisers to be more formal. It also gave validation to Queenstown Lakes District Council, who was looking to diversify the economy with more knowledge-based businesses.
Bringing a tribe together
The event series, which now occurs monthly in Queenstown and Wanaka, has become the gathering of the month for startup enthusiasts.
“We simply needed a chance to eyeball each other, to see who was out there,” noted Yeo. “We realised that we were being thanked for organising it, just because people wanted to know that they could be crazy, macro thinking dreamers…in a room full of others of the same ilk.”
In the past two years, more than 30 speakers from a variety of tech, innovation, and social enterprises have shared their story and lessons learned along the way.
Earlier in the year, the group decided to test a few new time slots and venues to ensure the event was available to as many people as possible.
“It’s easy to learn in hearing another person’s journey,” said James Burnes, CEO of Startup Queenstown Lakes. “These events are helping to form a tribe of likeminded individuals who considering, going through, or have come out of the same live experience starting a business.”
Yeo agreed. “For some the startup road is lonely and tough. We need something to join together for.”
The next Entrepreneur Coffee Jam is Thursday, 8 August at Yonder at 14 Church Street. Erin Jackson, founder of Narrative Campaigns and an Edmund Hillary Fellow, is the featured guest. You can RSVP with a free ticket via EventFinda to receive a free coffee.