What do you get when you combine six sustainable ventures, a pool of industry experts, and the chance to access $45k of match-funded capital? The Low Carbon Challenge, of course! Led by Enspiral and the Wellington City Council, the Low Carbon Challenge (LCC) is an initiative that brings together six early stage startups aimed at changing the way we “live, move, and grow”. Focused on building a low carbon future in the areas of energy, transport, and waste, the programme spans seven weeks of workshops and mentoring sessions, as well as a final pitch to secure funding.

We’re really proud that Space Between is participating in this year’s Low Carbon Challenge. For the past month, we’ve been heads down bums up, learning more about social enterprise and working hard to grow our business. Now that we’ve reached the halfway mark of the challenge, we thought we’d share with you four lessons we’ve learnt so far.

  • It takes more than just a good idea to make things work

Since kicking off with the LCC Jam at the start of June, we’ve participated in three workshops focused primarily on the ‘business’ side of things; our value proposition, business model, and finances. As important as it is to have passion, drive, and a social conscience, we’ve realised that it’s hard to change the world without some solid planning. So, here’s to many more feedback sessions, highlighters, mind maps, and spreadsheets!

  • When you leap into the unknown, the universe will catch you

Not knowing what to expect at the start of our LCC journey, we’ve been absolutely blown away by the amount of support we’ve received so far. From the members of the public who listened and shared their thoughts at the LCC Jam, to the mentors who offered their time and expertise during the workshops, we’re incredibly grateful to be surrounded by so many generous individuals willing to help. Special shout out to Enspiral, The Ākina Foundation, Creative HQ, and BNZ!

  • Listening to feedback isn’t always easy

Being part of the LCC has meant opening ourselves up to a wide range of people - and that’s meant opening ourselves up to feedback, both positive and negative. While we might feel comfortable staying put in a bubble of constant reassurance, we’re realising that it’s good to be questioned, challenged, and criticised. Listening to your crowd and building on what they’re saying is key to getting better and stronger. After all, there is always room for improvement!

  • This is a community that cares

It’s heartwarming to be part of a community of like-minded individuals who are dedicating their time towards initiatives that benefit society and the planet. Working alongside our friends - WorkerBe Oasis, Common Unity Project Aotearoa, CoBuy, The Misprint Co., and Papertown Studio - makes the end goal seem so much more attainable. Not only is this a community that cares about the cause - it’s a community that cares about helping and supporting one another too.

It’s been an invigorating month full of ups and downs, and we can’t wait to see what the second half of the Challenge holds. Bring on that final pitch!

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All images have been kindly supplied by The Low Carbon Challenge.