Hub for entrepreneurial minds


A group aiming to drive economic diversity is opening a pop-up space in Queenstown’s town centre, where budding entrepreneurs can share ideas and get advice.

Startup Queenstown Lakes (SQL) will launch the hub, called The Prospector, on Earl Street, on May 8, but applications opened last week.

SQL founding member James Burnes dreamt up the idea after people asked for a place to gather with like-minded others.

The hub is intended for people exporting products, services or technologies out of the district on a national and global scale, he says.

Examples of entrepreneurs who’ve already expressed interest include an insurance professional looking to sell to overseas markets using an automated web platform and someone selling holistic expertise through digital courses.

The space will be equipped with couches, tables, desks, high-speed internet and a printer. It differs from previous innovative hubs, Burnes says, because it’s a place for community collaboration, rather than somewhere to rent a desk or room.

“Innovators need more than just a coffee shop, they need to access other people who can provide feedback in a confidential and supportive way.”

While SQL gets funding from council, the pop-up has been made possible through financial backing from Queenstown Resort College. Successful applicants will be asked to name their price for a spot at the table. The hub launches as a 90-day trial. Should that prove successful, a long-term funding model will need to be worked out.

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