Wednesday, 21 February 2018 14:56

CO.STARTERS - Success through testing

Tauranga Community Co-op has benefited from CO.STARTERS, through one of its founders, Natashia Lucas, taking part in the inaugural course. Tauranga Community Co-op has benefited from CO.STARTERS, through one of its founders, Natashia Lucas, taking part in the inaugural course. SUPPLIED

Next month a new group of local entrepreneurs will come together to develop and test their ideas over nine weeks, under the watchful eye of our seasoned facilitators and mentors from the local business community, at CO.STARTERS@VentureCentre.

We had a chat to Natashia Lucas, who participated in the first CO.STARTERS@VentureCentre group last year. She started her journey into entrepreneurship as a founder of Tauranga Community Co-Op and worked on her new idea, born from her experiences running the co-op, over the nine weeks.

Tauranga Community Co-op is an organised group of people who use collective buying power to access wholesale rates for organic wholefoods.

“As awesome as co-ops are, they’re a pain in the butt to run,” Natashia says.  “Timing issues, spreadsheet nightmares, reconciliation, it’s a long list of disasters-in-waiting. I currently use the best software out there for co-ops, but it’s not working the way we need it to.”

Natashia’s idea was to create FareShare - a “sanity-saving software solution to the time-hungry issues of running a co-op”. Its customers are co-op admins and it’s designed to save them time. “It’s about making great food more accessible,” Natashia says.

Throughout the CO.STARTERS programme, Natashia thoroughly tested her idea to offer a complete order and processing service online. She worked on the development of the business model and the software itself. “Testing indicates minimal tech support will be needed.”

Tauranga Community Co-op’s software, FareShare is now in beta stage and will eventually be available at three subscription levels. The business model offers different levels of service which are charged as a percentages of co-op turnover. “It’s about saving customers time to focus on doing what their hearts beat about.”

Natashia says CO.STARTERS was incredibly helpful. “If I didn’t stumble across it, I would have landed in 100 pitfalls already, so I’m incredibly grateful for the theory, the practical nature, the support to go out and do the work and learning from experienced entrepreneurs,” she says.

“I’m very pleased about the connections I’ve made and people I’ve met. I got so much out of it that I don’t feel the amount I paid is justified. I feel like I’ve stolen some information! I cannot recommend it highly enough.”

To join the next round of CO.STARTERS, click here.

- Venture Centre is an entrepreneurship support organisation and works to connect people on enterprising journeys - with each other and the mindset, skillset, toolsets, networks and resources they need - to build an ecosystem that delivers real-world, learn-by-doing events, activities, projects and experiences. Be part of it!

Last modified on Thursday, 20 February 2020 11:59


Instigator is a curated suite of programmes, events, and workshops designed by Venture Centre to support the digital and entrepreneurial capability of individuals and their communities. It exists to inspire and equip them with the skills, tools, mindset and connections they need to build impactful ventures and prosper.


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