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What is Openground?

More young people are running their own businesses which are starting at school.

As a school we pride ourselves on preparing our school leavers for the future and our Openground programme hopes to add to this.

The primary aim of Openground is to provide a pathway between academic theory and learning, and the practical reality of running a business.

Not only are we providing students with the opportunity to start their own businesses, but we are also hoping that participating students will learn essential core skills and develop confidence in critical thinking, problem solving, communication, collaboration, teamwork, resilience and working independently – readying them for the real world of business or whatever path they choose to take.

Think Business Incubator! We will help you with all things depicted on the diagram, all while you are still at school.  

Openground is open to Year 13 students and will also allow them to get Level 3 and University Entrance.

How will Openground achieve this?

Students in Openground will study 4 university-approved subjects, of which one of these will be Level 3 Business Studies.

You will choose three other UE-approved subjects.

Openground day structure:

  • 3 periods per day will be spent in Openground learning about business, working on setting up your own business and working towards the Level 3 Business Studies credits
  • 3 periods per day will be for the teaching and learning of their 3 OTHER UE approved subjects

Other Learnings

Throughout the year the start-up businesses will be supported by the Director of Openground and business mentors. Openground students will also have the time to complete short courses, attend seminars/talks in key areas such as business structure, intellectual property, market validation,   business planning, pitching, marketing and Xero to name a few. You will also get to attend networking events.

Access to Start-Up Funding

One of the most exciting aspects of Openground is the access to start-up funding. There will be multiple ‘Dragons Dens’ throughout the year, where businesses will be able to pitch in the hope of gaining that much needed funding to make their idea a reality. Please note: Businesses are NOT guaranteed an investment. 

If your company is unsuccessful in gaining any finance, you will stay in Openground and continue with your learning and mentoring, to get your business up and running. You will however, need to find alternative sources of funding to do so. 

How does a student apply for Openground?

Openground is open to a range of applicants!

Pre-Requisites – are you?

  • Well on your way to completing and passing a Level 2 certificate
  • Have NCEA Literacy and Numeracy
  • Achieved Endorsement in ONE of Level 2 Accounting/Business Studies/Economics (preferred but not required)
  • Attendance higher than 95%

Round ONE:

  • You must firstly submit a written application to Mr Ford – Director of Openground.
  • We realise that you may not be at the stage where you have the next ‘big idea’ but maybe you have a unique skill set to offer a business ie financial, IT, design, good communication skills for example.
  • Your written application should include:
  • Who am I? – should include brief background, areas of passion, strengths and weaknesses
  • Why am I applying?
  • Business Idea – including the problem and the solution they have identified and how far through the planning process you are, or Key skill set for success in business
  • Personal vision for next 5 years.

Round TWO:

Short listed candidates/groups will then head to a Dragons Den style presentation when you will get your first chance to present you or your idea to a panel. This would be no more than 5mins long. Details of what to include will go to successful candidates closer to the time. Successful applicants will be given a timeslot in due course.

If you are not sure, take a chance and apply for round one, you can always change your mind.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss your options, please contact Mr Ford, Director Openground – [email protected]. My office is in the Openground room (OG1 – Top Gym)