Pop Up Business School – Whanganui 2019

The PopUp Business School was back in Whanganui in 2019, with a group of 74 budding entrepreneurs (up from 34 last year) learning new business skills and gaining the confidence to take the next step on their business journey. 

Each day of the ten-day course was made up of two workshops and a guest speaker. The workshops tackled practical topics, like making a sale, bookkeeping and taxes, successful networking strategies and social media marketing. The guest speakers included a number of leaders in Whanganui’s business community, who generously shared their personal stories and lessons learned along the way. 

Following the course, participants reported a boost in their sense of self-efficacy, happiness, confidence and business knowledge. Armed with this positive attitude, new business skills, a supportive alumni network and continued contact with Whanganui & Partners, graduates have what they need to move forward with their plans. We can’t wait to see their businesses popping up around town!

Day 1: Ripping the Script

Thinking outside the box is a major theme of the course, and Facilitator Tony set the tone early on by having the entrepreneurs rip up the ‘rule book’ about how going into business is supposed to work.

Building a Community

Starting up a business can be lonely and frustrating at times, but thanks to the PopUp Business School, these entrepreneurs always have people to turn to for support and encouragement.

Essential Business Tools

Everyday, the entrepreneurs had two workshops focusing on a practical aspect of building a business. One of the biggest challenges for the students was website day, where they each built a website for their businesses.

Keynote Speakers

Every day, a business leader from Whanganui came to inspire and advise the entrepreneurs. They shared their own business journeys, discussed challenges they faced, offered tips and encouragement.

A Friendly Environment

The ten-day course was informal, interactive and inspiring. With a whānau-friendly environment, some entrepreneurs bought their children in for a few hours. The flexible and inclusive environment shows the participants that starting a business is something they can incorporate into their normal lives.

Trade Show

Towards the end of the course, the entrepreneurs set up stalls at Whanganui UCOL and had a chance to practice techniques they had learned in the course. Students pitched their ideas to members of the public, offered samples of their products and some students even made their first sale.


At the end of the course, Mayor Hamish McDoull presented students with a graduation certificate. The CEO of Whanganui & Partners, Mark Ward, was also in attendance to give an inspiring speech, as well as Hayden Poutaka from Te Mana Atatu and Rhonda Morris and Rene Olmos from Whanganui & Partners. Rene, Rhonda and Hayden spoke of how students could use various services available for free form the Innovation Quarter as they continue on their business journeys.