Ministry of Awesome and Ara create new innovation hub

Ara Institute of Canterbury to become more Awesome.

kahukura building5

Establishing an ecosystem that will nurture dynamic start-ups, entrepreneurs, and innovators is critical for Christchurch, and Canterbury to strengthen its standing as a region of opportunity. This is one of the primary goals of Christchurch’s newest partnership between Ara Institute of Canterbury and Ministry of Awesome.

On 15th October, Ara Institute of Canterbury and the Ministry of Awesome will unite to establish a jointly powered innovation hub located at Ara’s city campus. The hub forms the cornerstone of Christchurch’s innovation ecosystem and will reinforce its global positioning as a world class start-up, innovation, and tech city. It will create an opportunity for all players in the existing ecosystem to significantly collaborate and enhance the region’s ability to retain and attract the very best global talent.

With nearly 25,000 members within the new partnership community, the possibilities for success across a wide range of sectors will be further increased, providing an unprecedented opportunity to work together, network and build on shared goals.

Chief Awesome Officer, Marian Johnson, says entrepreneurs and high growth start-ups are critical to Christchurch’s success.

“Ministry of Awesome will continue with the momentum building leadership role we are playing in the start-up and innovation space, but with even greater impact as we partner with Ara’s 19,000-strong learning and knowledge community. This community has huge potential and with access to the Ministry of Awesome’s guidance, capability training and networks, we will grow something extraordinary. The door is wide open for participation. This is a chance for the Canterbury region to collaborate on a whole new level.  We want to encourage anyone with an idea, an innovation, or a start-up venture in mind to reach out and join the community,” says Marian.

Ara Head of Business Department, Michaela Blacklock, says the significance of this partnership to learners at Ara is huge and the possibilities for the Canterbury region are immense.

“This partnership is not only aligned with the goals of Christchurch NZ – to ignite bold ambition in our city and region, to connect changemakers and to stimulate economic activity – but it will also enable greater consideration of social and community change. It is an exciting time in the region with an abundance of creativity, innovation and big ideas,” says Michaela.

The partnership between Ara Institute of Canterbury and Ministry of Awesome will provide:

  1. Joint access to the entrepreneur-rich, progressive, and well-networked Ministry of Awesome community and Ara Institute of Canterbury student body.

  2. A mentorship programme provided by sector and ecosystem leaders, experienced entrepreneurs, and professional service providers.

  3. Customised education and capability building through Ministry of Awesome and Ara.

  4. Business and social enterprise incubation programmes designed to provide the right support, at the right time, and in the right way.

  5. Access to resources and advice provided by service partners such as legal, ICT, and business administration.

  6. Opportunities to pitch and expose start-ups to local, national, and global investors and corporate partners.

  7. 100+ events per year for networking, collaboration, and knowledge sharing.

  8. A fixed “home” in which to network, collaborate and be surrounded with likeminded people.


The Ministry of Awesome will be located at the Kahukura building facing Moorhouse Avenue on the Ara campus and will open for business on Monday, 15 October.