Business full of opportunity

Entrepreneur Abbe Hyde at a meeting with Jacob Manning (left) and Connor McGregor, also from SuchCrowd, and event planner Josh Smith, from Creative Critters. Photo by Gregor Richardson.
Entrepreneur Abbe Hyde at a meeting with Jacob Manning (left) and Connor McGregor, also from SuchCrowd, and event planner Josh Smith, from Creative Critters. Photo by Gregor Richardson.

Entrepreneurship, says Abbe Hyde, is something people should get excited about.

At 24, Ms Hyde is chief executive of Dunedin-based start-up SuchCrowd, which takes the risk out of event planning.

It turned the traditional model upside down, as people buy tickets first, to give the event planner the confidence to put the event on.

Dating back to her secondary school days and involvement with the Young Enterprise scheme, Ms Hyde always wanted to be an entrepreneur, but she was never sure about how to go about it.

Entering the Audacious student start-up challenge, while studying marketing at the University of Otago, provided some structure around it and made it ‘‘much more solid and plausible'' for her.

Having networks and support and meeting other entrepreneurs in the community who were ‘‘out doing it'' proved valuable, she said.

Today, Ms Hyde and SuchCrowd co-founder Jacob Manning, also a former Audacious student, will address the launch of this year's Audacious challenge.

Ms Hyde, Mr Manning and Tin Htoo Aung all studied at the University of Otago before starting the business together. It launched in Christchurch in September last year before returning to its roots in Dunedin.

‘‘It's been an amazing experience just day-to-day, doing entrepreneurship. I honestly feel very lucky to have had the opportunities I have had,'' Ms Hyde said.

It was through programmes like Audacious, the business accelerator programme Lightning Lab, and Startup Weekend that she had been able to do it, she said.

Being selected for Lightning Lab gave SuchCrowd three months of funding, support and mentors to fast-track its development, she said.

By the end of this year, it was hoped to also have a presence in Australia, a market about six times the size of New Zealand, and, within the next five years, it was intended to tackle the United States.

The team had grown to five and, by the end of the year, it was likely that two more staff would be employed, she said.

‘‘Probably the most exciting thing is being able to give people employment opportunities, especially in Dunedin where tech jobs are hard to find,'' she said.

While SuchCrowd was a crowd-sourcing system for events, the big vision was to be a crowd-driven promotions system.

The hardest thing about being an entrepreneur was having the confidence in yourself, Ms Hyde said.

‘‘You're at a party and people go, ‘what do you do' and it's hard to say you're a CEO. It's feels like you're a bit of a joke. To say you're an entrepreneur, people don't really know what that means.

‘‘It's kind of hard in a short snapshot to tell someone what you're doing and convince yourself that it's real. The hardest thing about being an entrepreneur is having the confidence in yourself that you can do it because you have so many downs and ups in a day.''

But Ms Hyde also believed it was ‘‘so much more logical'' being an entrepreneur these days, rather than getting a job, as she did not see many attractive employment opportunities.

In Dunedin, most of the ‘‘amazingly talented'' graduates were leaving because there were not the employment opportunities in the city.

‘‘I think the fact an entrepreneur can create something that produces enough value to give people jobs is something we need to encourage,'' she said.

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