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An entrepreneurship student with blooming good ideas

Emily Sutton
Emily Mabin Sutton’s entrepreneurial appetite is blossoming

“I really enjoy the concept of inventing things and creating random ideas that work”

A last-minute decision to attend a business start-up weekend in Dunedin earlier this year has turned Emily Mabin Sutton’s career plans inside out.

The 21-year-old has traded doing an honours degree in a Bachelor of Applied Science, for studying towards a Master of Entrepreneurship; and she just keeps on coming up with good ideas.

She’s pursuing the fledgling business idea she pitched at the Start-up weekend, creating jewellery using biotechnology.

Together with a team of artists, industrial designers and scientists, she’s developed a prototype method of living jewellery to produce an organism that blooms in vibrant colours inside a locket.

Plans for developing earrings, bracelets, wall art and iPhone cases using the biotechnology are also whirling around in her head.

And, she has her fingers in all sorts of other fledgling business ideas as her entrepreneurial appetite blossoms.

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Creating ‘random’ ideas that work

Emily Sutton 2Following her success at developing the living jewellery business venture within 48 hours at the start-up weekend in Dunedin, Emily attended a similar event in Wellington. Her idea of a social media enterprise, to help create a positive environment, caught the judges’ attention.

Construction of a website where people can make small changes to their lives to create a positive environment, and are incentivised to do so, is currently under way, with Emily working with a team of developers including a climate change scientist.

“I really enjoy the concept of inventing things and creating random ideas that work,” Emily says.

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NZ representation at Global Entrepreneurship Summit

Following Emily’s success at the Start-up events she was selected to represent New Zealand at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit and to attend the Global Startup Youth Event in Malaysia this year, aimed at turning ideas into high-growth ventures solving real-world problems.

Emily was delighted to be one of the 500 young people from around the world to attend the event.

“I met some really awesome, life-changing people.

“We talked about issues from what the new trends in innovation will be, to how to develop and manage a good business.”

Her successes also led to an invitation to attend a national entrepreneur conference, Morgo, in Queenstown earlier this year.

Currently, Emily continues to develop her fledgling biotechnology jewellery business as her incubation project for her Master of Entrepreneurship.

“It’s so much fun, it doesn’t seem like work at all.”

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Think like an entrepreneur

Emily Sutton3Business Performance Coach at the University’s School of Business Mark Neild, who organised the start-up weekends in Dunedin, has been impressed with Emily.

He was a guest lecturer around ‘Lean Start-up’ at the Master of Entrepreneurial course and says Emily embraced the concept and used some of the tools he introduced to great effect.

“So much so that I invited her along with one of the new products she was working on at the time to an MBA session I was doing called ‘Think like an Entrepreneur’,” Mr Neild says.

“The MBA students then went out and did a customer validation exercise on her product - which gave her valuable insight - but which also gave the MBA students something tangible for their exercise. A win all round.”

Mr Neild, who has returned to the UK, was in an honorary position at the University for the past year and says he had a great time, learnt a huge amount and hopes he passed on some benefits to those around him.

“Even after only a few meetings it became obvious that some of the students are destined for great things.

“Emily is one of them.”