Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Kiri Lovell, Retail Solutions Specialist, ASB; Bachelor of Commerce (Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Information Systems)


An entrepreneurial mindset and innovative capability is essential in this new world of work. With these skills and attributes you will be able to add value to an established industry or enterprise, or you could create your own start-up. Our graduates are in high demand around the world.

Many successful entrepreneurs overseas have risked their own money to start their ventures, but here in New Zealand, there are also opportunities to tap into private or public funds if your idea is good enough.

Some of the most exciting businesses today are run by passionate, committed people who dare to think and act differently. For some inspiring examples, check out the University's Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

What does the future hold?

The sky's the limit! With more people working from home or in other flexible circumstances, and the unstoppable advance of digital technologies, there are increasing opportunities to start your own venture, or contribute your skills and ideas to an existing business – as a fulltime employee or on a contract/freelance basis.

And while robots, machines and algorithms may replace people in millions of mundane manual and administrative roles, we have a long way to go before we will see machines replicating the lateral thinking and spontaneous creativity that humans bring to every field of endeavour on Earth.

What skills and attributes can I gain from my Innovation and Entrepreneurship major?

In this major of the Bachelor of Commerce, you will learn about the key elements in ecosystems that are crucial in supporting start-up ventures and the scale-up of growth-oriented firms. You'll study alongside successful innovators and entrepreneurs, developing the skills to recognise, assess and realise opportunities. You'll construct creative solutions to problems and take action when facing ambiguous and uncertain circumstances. You will also undertake an exciting practical project that integrates theory and practice as you work with a client organisation in a real world context.

On top of this knowledge and hands-on practice, you’ll need some fundamental personal skills and qualities, such as:

  • A global mindset
  • Curiosity
  • Passion
  • Resilience
  • Resourcefulness
  • Open-mindedness
  • Creative problem-solving
  • Communication skills
  • Good organisational skills
  • Willingness to take risks
  • The ability to learn from failure
  • The ability to deal with ambiguity

Entrepreneurial career options

There are numerous opportunities for graduates to work for both innovative start-ups and established ventures in New Zealand and internationally, converting creative ideas into innovative execution and commercialisation. Potential roles include:

  • Start-up founder
  • Social entrepreneur
  • Intrapreneur
  • Business adviser or consultant
  • Business analyst
  • Business development manager
  • Commercial/project manager
  • Innovation leader
  • Product development manager
  • Technology transfer specialist

Where do Innovation and Entrepreneurship graduates work?

Many graduates use this major as a foundation on which to build their own business. Some get involved with organisations such as Icehouse, who connect entrepreneurs with funders and provide support and mentorship. Others work in a variety of sectors and organisations such as Callaghan Innovation, PwC, EY, Auckland Council and Genesis.

Recent graduate Charlotte Hoonhout is a good example of where an entrepreneurial mindset can take you. She completed internships as an event coordinator at the Multiple Sclerosis Society and as a travel writer and publisher in Tokyo. She is now working as a GovTech Graduate in Wellington.
Read more about Charlotte

University of Auckland centres and clubs for Innovation and Entrepreneurship students

  • Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
    Experiential programmes, events, workshops and speakers for students interested in being part of the University’s entrepreneurial community.
  • Velocity
    Velocity is the University of Auckland entrepreneurship programme. It unleashes potential, giving momentum to people, innovation and ideas.
  • Social Innovation New Zealand (SINZ)
    SINZ is a platform for students to discuss and solve pressing issues in the community through social enterprise.

Professional associations for Innovation and Entrepreneurship students and graduates

  • Callaghan Innovation
    A government agency whose purpose is to help innovative businesses in New Zealand succeed through technology.
  • Entrepreneurs’ Organisation (EO)
    The only global network exclusively for entrepreneurs. EO helps leading entrepreneurs learn and grow through peer-to-peer learning, once-in-a-lifetime experiences and connections to experts.
  • Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE)
    MBIE is the government’s lead business-facing agency. Its purpose is to grow the New Zealand economy to provide a better standard of living for all New Zealanders.

Useful resources

Careers New Zealand

The Careers New Zealand website provides useful salary information for a range of business and industry roles, as well as information on the difference a qualification makes to what you are paid, and advice on negotiating your salary. You can also search for salary information by job.
Careers New Zealand


Prospects, a UK site for university students and graduates, addresses the question 'What is an entrepreneur?'