Selda: HEX Discovery/ Virtual Innovation APAC Program (November 2020)

I was grateful to be sponsored to participate in a 6-day programme teaching all there is to know about start-ups, innovation and business. Various sessions were held allowing students to experience, discuss and learn more about different aspects of start-ups and business from learning how to create an app to understanding the aspects and legalities of patents and intellectual property. These learnings were supplementary to a project where we were teamed up with other students around the world to create a fully-fledged start up during the 6-day course, ready for presentation to investors and VCs.

I met many new people from all over the world with different areas of expertise and specialisation which helped me develop a network of strong, intelligent, amazing professionals and friends. My group consisted of myself and an RIT student from New York specialising in Industrial Design. With my strong belief of equitable healthcare and goal of improved health outcomes for the public as well as background as a Dietetics student we developed an app platform that allows dietitians to connect with the NZ public to provide accessible, reliable and equitable nutrition support.

During the 6-day programme we developed this platform with all the necessary components of a true start up including a business model, marketing strategy and a very aesthetic prototype which we condensed down into a 5-minute pitch that we delivered to our peers, staff and investors at the end of our course. I was so grateful to have stumbled upon this programme and get sponsored by the university to participate. I was able to learn so much theory about start-ups, business and innovation while also being able to put these learnings into practise with a start-up idea of my own.

The HEX learning environment helped me develop my idea further in a collaborative, safe space with access to experts in every field imaginable. I am so grateful for the amazing network of people I met, the valuable learnings and experience I gained from HEX. As someone with no prior experience in business but many ideas that I had no idea what to do with I would recommend anyone that has even the slightest interest in business or innovation to participate in a HEX programme. Since the programme was completely virtual it had its merits and challenges. It was great to be able to learn from home in a safe, familiar and stress-free environment. However, one challenge that we had to overcome and adapt to was working with students in our groups from all around the world and compromising to find times to collaborate with people in completely different time zones. Regardless, it was a very exciting and new experience that I would do all over again and recommend to anyone of any background.

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