Now a seasoned academic at the University of Canterbury Adrian took part in YES during its early years with his Company developing a successful product and market that led to them handing over ongoing operations to the local IHC.
“Our product was paper bricks for burning in fireplaces that we manufactured by way of a special compressed brick press. This machine was made for us to enable multiple bricks to be produced at once. We sourced our raw materials from our contacts and initially we did the manufacturing ourselves working in shifts. Later we used the local IHC to assist on a contracted basis as we were not able to keep up with demand and devote sufficient time to manufacturing. We had some initial teething issues but we got our process refined and managed to sell sufficient products to make a small surplus. We then allowed the IHC to continue on the business through using the brick press,” recalls Adrian.
“During my YES year I could only imagine going to university to complete commerce and law degrees but I never expected to be behind the lectern so to speak!” says Adrian of his early career plans.
Having completed Commerce and Law degrees at the Bachelor level and a Master of Commerce from Canterbury University, plus a doctorate (Doctorate of Juridical Science from the University of Virginia) Adrian is currently the Acting Pro-Vice Chancellor and Dean of Commerce in the College of Business and Economic at the University of Canterbury. Adrian is also Professor of Taxation, having been an academic at the University of Canterbury for 20 years.
“I have a senior leadership role for the College and am part of the Senior Management Team for the University as a whole. A major task has been developing and implementing a strategic renewal plan following the 2010 and 2011 Christchurch earthquakes,” he explains.
When asked if he would recommend YES to students today Adrian responds, “I would certainly recommend it as a great experience and one that will benefit you in your future career, whatever it may be if in some way it relates to business. It also brings a practical focus to your secondary school studies and provides an opportunity to challenge your team work skills. A key benefit of YES for me was the business experience that I received which enabled me to appreciate at an early stage the risks associated with being in business, and the importance of working as a team.”
Adrian’s tips for budding entrepreneurs:
You need to have a good idea that you can talk through and seek advice from a trusted experienced advisor.
Build a good team with a variety of skills and talents, and the determination to make the idea succeed and become reality (or know when to either let it go pending further development or to bring in additional expertise).