International Horticultural Innovation Initiative 

This story was showcased in our 2019/20 Annual Report

Sam Lockwood-Gecks’ curiosity after observing the thriving student-led entrepreneurial culture at Wageningen University in the Netherlands, while on the International Horticultural Immersion Program (IHIP) in June 2019 – seeded an inspiring new initiative.

“I was standing in the middle of the StartHub, a student-run incubator and collaborative innovation space having just meet numerous student entrepreneurs starting-up their new ventures. I was asking myself why is it that Massey University doesn’t have a similar student-led innovation hub and entrepreneurial culture?”

This question ultimately led to Sam establishing the International Horticulture Innovation Initiative, a research project to understand how leading university-based student-led entrepreneurial ecosystems are established and how they evolve to become powerhouses of student innovation.

Sam spent three months from November 2019 to February 2020 traveling across North America and Europe exploring the leading practice in student-led university entrepreneurship. Sam conducted 75 in-depth ethnographic interviews with experts and visited 47 different unique programmes and initiatives at 16 world leading universities.

“While observing new international models of higher education, it became clear that tertiary education was rapidly evolving to meet the changing needs of the global business environment. This means not just developing enterprising individuals who are both technically and business savvy, but also embedding an entrepreneurial mindset into the foundation of higher education.

The combination of this research and the connections it developed enabled the creation of a new conceptual model that allows for the easy evaluation and discussion of university-based entrepreneurial ecosystems.

“This research proved incredibly fruitful and has generated many recommendations to guide education and industry in developing entrepreneurial engagements.”

However, a model alone does not change the world. This research now provides a basis with which to champion new entrepreneurial engagements at Massey University that are contextualised to meet the needs of our rapidly growing primary industries.

“Our goal is to grow capable people who will solve problems that do not yet exist. With AGMARDT’s support we are well on our way.”

“AGMARDT’s support directly enabled this research that now underpins a new approach to growing talent within our primary industries.”