Great advice for Northland’s future entrepreneurs

Kiwi Innovator Ben O’Brien shares Recipe for success

Northland, New Zealand – 18 April 2016

Benjamin O'Brien, CEO, StretchSense
Benjamin O’Brien, CEO, StretchSense

StretchSense CEO Ben O’Brien kicked off Ranui Sustainable’s Kiwi Innovator Series today with some great advice for Northlanders keen to launch a career in innovation.

Ben co-founded StretchSense, a start-up that makes wearable motion capture sensors, out of Auckland University in 2012. Since then he has travelled the spectrum from scientist to innovator to entrepreneur while building StretchSense into an internationally recognised, award winning business.

Ben’s message to Northland youth is to follow your passion, make your own opportunities and don’t wait for someone to tell you when, what or how to do something.

Ben’s four tips for achieving success as a start-up entrepreneur are:

  1. Have a passion project i.e. do something you’re passionate about
  1. Commit to your passion project completely i.e. you won’t succeed if you don’t give 100%
  1. Have a product to sell i.e. find a way to make your passion project something others want and/or need
  1. Deliver what you sell i.e. if somebody buys your passion project, you need to deliver!

Ben also emphasised that New Zealand is a great place to be a start-up and on today’s interconnected globe there’s no reason Northlanders can’t take their ideas to the world and be successful.

Kiwi Innovator Series organiser and Ranui Sustainable CEO Martin Knoche was pleased with the level of interest shown in today’s workshop.

“It’s exciting to see a diverse mix of people at the event. We had everyone from students considering a career in technology, educators keen to make science available Northland youth who might think a career in sustainable innovation is beyond their reach and seasoned hi-tech professionals.”

“These events are a great opportunity for anyone with an interest in sustainability and innovation to meet and exchange ideas with New Zealanders who are at the leading edge of technological innovation,” Mr Knoche said.

The free Kiwi Innovator Series workshops are open to everyone and are designed to encourage Northland youth to think seriously about directing their intelligence and enthusiasm towards careers that will have a positive effect on the planet.


Francis Stevens
External Communications
+ 64 (0) 21 0881 6646

About Ranui Sustainable
In the Maori language, Ra means “the sun” or “big sail” and Nui means “big”. At Ranui Sustainable we feel this is an appropriate metaphor. Our business is about channelling skills and resources needed to propel Northland forward as winds of change gather. Increasing pressure on our environment is forcing the world to take proactive steps toward a sustainable economy. Ranui Sustainable is working with partners and businesses in Northland to leverage this change in a way that will help the region build a sustainable future. Our mission is to make Northland the most sustainable region in the Southern Hemisphere by 2025.

About StretchSense
StretchSense enables technology companies to capture never-before-seen data on how soft objects move and interact. With a range of sensor products, including stretch, pressure, bend, and shear sensors, StretchSense’s goal is to create highly reliable and accurate sensing technology that is easy for customers to integrate into their next generation of smart products. Stretch sensors are enabling new methods of high performance sports coaching, as well as improving rehabilitation & healthcare delivery methods.

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