About Co.Starters@AUT

As the university for our changing world, AUT is committed to providing students, staff, alumni and aspiring entrepreneurs from the wider business community with the tools to take their business idea to the next level.

As the late Sir Paul Callaghan said: ‘You can’t grow the big massive trees unless you grow a whole lot of small trees first.’

Co.Starters@AUT provides crucial early-stage support for aspiring entrepreneurs looking to develop their entrepreneurial ideas – and test them for the next level of investment and success.

Co.Starters@AUT will build New Zealand’s entrepreneurial capacity and help produce entrepreneurs that can create high-value, high-growth businesses that provide capital returns and high-paying jobs for New Zealand.

The starting point for a startup community

The Co.Starters story began in 2008 in Chattanooga, Tennessee where an organization called CreateHere recognized a growing need to provide business support to artists, creatives, and others who didn’t fit traditional economic development models. While providing business support was incredibly valuable, the connections and community resulting from the programme was one of the most beneficial aspects to participants.


When Chorus visited Chattanooga as part of the Gigatown competition, they could see the inherent value for the New Zealand ecosystem. As a result, Chorus is funding the Co.Starters programme for the winning town, Dunedin, while many of the other competing finalist towns have also implemented a Co.Starters programme to help build a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem in their own regions.

Co.Starters programmes now operate at over 50 sites in the US and New Zealand, have produced 3000+ course graduates and trained 300+ community leaders.

Visit the international Co.Starters website to find out more

Last updated: 06-Dec-2016 1.04pm

The information on this page was correct at time of publication. For a comprehensive overview of AUT qualifications, please refer to the Academic Calendar.