Open Challenge Accelerator

Are you looking to boost your business and make the world a better place? Look no further, the Open Challenge Accelerator is the right fit for you!

Applications for 2021 cohorts are now closed. 

What is the Open Challenge Accelerator?

The Open Challenge Accelerator is an entrepreneurial support programme designed for entrepreneurs wanting to grow a business that does good for people, prosperity and the planet. We combine the international experience of our Impact Hub network with high-quality local expertise to deliver a hands-on business acceleration programme that is unique to New Zealand.

Is this you?

  • I’m potentially sitting on a really big opportunity here but need help to move it forward
  • I’ve started a business but have no formal structure or plan and am winging it
  • I have some form of market validation but need to test this further
  • My business is disruptive, scalable and might have unique intellectual property
  • My business could be a high value brand opportunity for New Zealand
  • I need quick access to seed funding to drive my business forward
  • I'm looking for scale, quality connections and capital
  • I need pragmatic & practical advice
  • I'm ambitious & coachable
  • I’m based in New Zealand

If you identify with any of the above, then you should join the 2022 cohort of the Open Challenge Accelerator! Register your interest early, and you’ll be the first to know when applications are open.

What you'll receive

  • Access to high-quality capacity building workshops led by local impact entrepreneurs and experts in their field
  • Topics include: Impact Measurement, Growth Planning and Revenue Management, Scaling Operations, Marketing Strategy and Sales, Capital Options and Impact Investment, Pitching etc
  • Individual coaching and mentoring to ensure that you and your team receive tailored support specific to your organisation’s needs 
  • Includes: Venture Management, Self-Leadership and Mindset Coaching, Business Mentoring
  • Access to our pool of service providers for project-based support in Business Validation, Budgeting and Financial Planning, Investment Readiness, Marketing Strategy etc
  • Peer-2-peer support and regular networking opportunities
  • 1 year Impact Hub Waikato membership incl. discounted access to workshops, events and programmes as well as coworking options at our Inspiring Space in central Hamilton


  • A clear roadmap for operational scalability and financial sustainability to ensure that you can create impact in the long term
  • Understanding of the dual-purpose business model and managing the trade-offs between financial and impact variables
  • A clear understanding of capital needs, how to raise potential investment and how to become investment ready
  • Learning how to become a successful entrepreneur who can look after your own and your team’s well-being
  • Becoming nationally and internationally connected to find and access the right support for your niche.

Meet the Open Challenge Cohort of 2020

8 teams were selected for the programme in 2020, which delivered 8 months of capacity building workshops, coaching, mentoring and expert advice, peer-2-peer support and international connections through our global network of start-ups and entrepreneurs.

What we offer

Eligibility for the programme

  • You have a clearly defined dual-purpose (intention to make both a profit and a positive impact)
  • You are ready to trade or are already on the market
  • You have a product or service that is (somewhat) scalable 
  • You have the ambition to grow your impact and organization
  • You are based in the Waikato, Bay of Plenty, or Auckland
  • You are open to being coached and mentored to improve your business and impact
  • You are generally positive and fun, like us! :)

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