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Making space for South Auckland’s future entrepreneurs

29 August 2021   /   News & reports

Manurewa High School Business Academy is growing two of its initiatives – Makerspace and Manu Toi – both of which aim to prepare South Auckland students for future employment, education, and enterprise.

Makerspace was developed in 2018 after the realisation that many rangatahi are unprepared for life after school and the ‘future of work’. Makerspace is a hub for young people identifying as creators, makers, entrepreneurs and leaders to access a range of construction and digital technologies while learning new skills. With support from Foundation North, after-school and holiday programmes are delivered in collaboration with Ask Q Ltd and empower young people to activate their curiosity, develop ideas, take products through prototype and engage in opportunities for leadership.

Rangatahi at Manurewa High School are enjoying becoming more entrepreneurial, as one student comments “It’s not just having access to cool tech - there’s also mentoring so we can go from being a novice to a pro, and opportunities to explore through projects. It’s inspiring for everyone.”

“As well as loving all things tech, we all get purpose from creating products to share and sell.”

In March 2021, online and pop-up enterprise Manu Toi was launched to allow the Academy to support students in their entrepreneurial journeys via retail. Manu Toi aims to foster a collective of creative entrepreneurs from in and around Manurewa, most of whom have a connection through Makerspace. Products developed by Makerspace creatives, Young Enterprise teams and the community can be sold via the platform, providing a practical and hands-on opportunity for students to test business development practices such as marketing, financial planning and building websites.

Both Makerspace and Manu Toi offer non-curricula learning and exposure to technology skills that are not accessible in school or anywhere else in the South Auckland community. For Vincent, a Manurewa High student, his time at Makerspace has ignited a new-found passion for soldering and electronics. After completing a number of projects such as building a custom portable speaker using an old suitcase box, Vincent has stepped out of his comfort zone to attend a course one day a week at Techtorium, and has formed part of a student group running a wānanga for other students to up-spec old computers.

“At Makerspace, students get to explore and work on their various projects, they develop creative skills and techniques that they can take with them in the future if they wish to pursue that pathway,” says Leanne Gibson, Executive Director of the Business Academy, which runs Makerspace. “It’s so cool to see young people like Vincent develop their tech skills both inside the space and outside as he has done repairing computers in his spare time.”