Emily Sutton (left), Thomas Mitchell and Sarah Ley-Hamilton
are looking forward to attending global entrepreneurship
events in Kuala Lumpur. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
Three young Dunedin start-up enthusiasts are heading to
Malaysia next month for what they believe will be the trip of a
Sarah Ley-Hamilton (24), Thomas Mitchell (21) and Emily
Sutton (21), along with Josh Harrington, from Invercargill,
have been selected and sponsored to represent New Zealand in
the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, and to attend the Global
Startup Youth Event.
The summit was initiated by United States president Barack
Obama in 2009 as a global platform to empower entrepreneurs
with the skills and resources ''necessary to compete and
thrive in the 21st century''.
Mr Obama will deliver the keynote address at this year's
summit which is being held in Kuala Lumpur on October 11 and
It is organised by the Ministry of Finance under the
patronage of the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dato' Seri Najib
Tun Razak, assisted by the Malaysian Development Corporation
and Small to Medium Enterprises Corporation, with input from
the White House and various entrepreneurial organisations.
Prior to the summit, the inaugural Global Startup Youth event
is being held, aimed at turning ideas into high-growth
ventures solving real-world problems. More than 500 young
people, aged between 18 and 25, and from 90 nations, will
attend that three-day event.
The Dunedin trio, whose trip was being paid for by the
Malaysian Government, were all excited about the opportunity.
Mr Mitchell, a freelance website developer and small business
consultant, who is also studying full-time towards a science
degree in neuroscience, said it was ''one of those
experiences that is exciting but also nerve-racking''.
It was going to be a completely different country and there
was going to be an opportunity to meet so many interesting
He felt a ''massive responsibility'' to get out and talk to
people, along with an obligation to bring back skills to New
He wanted to spread the message of social enterprise
start-ups, pushing the model of designing businesses to solve
some of the world's greatest problems.
Mr Mitchell is also the Dunedin regional co-ordinator for
Lifehack, whose mission is to produce strategies, new
technologies and media solutions to change the way people
perceive, navigate and act towards youth mental health.
Miss Ley-Hamilton has been working as business development
manager for her father's dental radiology business.
She attended a Lifehack weekend in April, which was ''one of
the most awesome experiences'' and it began the start-up
''obsession'' she now has.
She described the Malaysian trip as a ''fantastic
''We've got so much to learn,'' she said.
Ms Sutton, who is in the early stages of her own start-up
business, creating biotech jewellery, said she always tried
to ''live life out of the comfort zone''. The mix of people
attending the events would be ''fantastic''.
Her foray into entrepreneurship started with a random entry
in a Startup Weekend in Dunedin in March. She is now studying
towards a master's of entrepreneurship at the University of
Dunedin was a very good community for start-ups as it was
very welcoming and helpful, she said.
Start-up investor Dave Moskovitz, who was a selector for the
Global Startup Youth Event, said the southern contingent were
very promising young leaders, who inspired people around
''They display the key Kiwi attributes of resourcefulness,
generosity and persistence,'' he said.
He expected they would do a ''really good job'' of
representing New Zealand and ''showing the rest of the world
how we do things here''.
The connections they would make would stand them in ''great
stead'' in the future, he said.