Chief starter's role to build on incubation and startup successes

Startup Dunedin's new chief starter, Donna Hall, relishes her new role. Photo: Supplied
Startup Dunedin's new chief starter, Donna Hall, relishes her new role. Photo: Supplied
As far as job titles go, it does not get much better than chief starter.

Donna Hall has been appointed to the role at Startup Dunedin, ahead of applicants from around the world.

The overwhelming number and high calibre of applicants showed the growing interest in Dunedin as a start-up destination, Startup Dunedin chairwoman Sarah Ramsay said.

The board's focus was to recruit someone who could leverage the momentum built over the past year and help develop and oversee a robust long-term strategy for the trust.

''Donna's predecessor Casey Davies-Bell and our team have done an outstanding job of building momentum and profile for Dunedin's startup ecosystem.

''Going forward, our job is to build on this success, particularly in scaling our incubation and startup support programmes.

''Donna's unique combination of her own entrepreneurial experience alongside business information systems design and management is the perfect fit for seeing us through this critical next step,'' Mrs Ramsay said.

Ms Hall brought extensive experience in management, particularly business transformation, accounting and business information systems.

She had been involved with Startup Dunedin in a volunteer capacity as a committee member of Startup Weekend, as a facilitator of Co-Starters and as an adviser to founders.

Dunedin-born and bred, Ms Hall had worked in the accounting industry for 20-odd years and also co-founded two businesses - an internet service provider and a consultancy firm.

Prior to joining Startup Dunedin this month, Ms Hall was a manager in the business advisory team at Polson Higgs.

She had always loved entrepreneurship and had always been on the ''fringes'' of the startup community in the city.

Becoming part of the Startup Dunedin team was a ''wonderful opportunity'' and it was about actively being able to give support to people when they needed it.''

''I am passionate about continuing to support the Dunedin startup ecosystem by delivering great programmes, by connecting and advocating for our founders and by engaging our wider community.''

Startup Dunedin was a small team but everyone pitched in. Last year there had been a ''huge amount of momentum'' and there were so many good things happening.

It was about growing that momentum ''in any which way we can''. One of her goals this year was to also broaden Startup Dunedin's visibility.

Dunedin had a supportive startup scene and one of the great things about the city was there was always a way to be introduced to someone. ''Everyone's pretty giving of their time,'' she said.

While there were some very good success stories, such as the well publicised Nomos One and Timely, there were also some cooler small stories.

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