29 Mar 2017
Keynote speakers at Ara Institute of Canterbury’s biggest ever graduation ceremony on 31 March will inspire graduands and their families with the tale of a start-up business that has convinced kiwis to put bugs on their menus and plates.
Some 920 people will graduate in person during two ceremonies at Horncastle Arena, in the biggest ever graduation ceremony at Ara.
The duo behind sustainable food business Anteater, Bex De Prospo and Peter Randrup, will deliver the keynote speech at the ceremonies. Bex is a graduate of the Graduate Diploma in Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Ara, who put her business skills into practice before she even finished her programme.
She entered the Ara and University of Canterbury's Entre $85k Challenge Competition for young entrepreneurs in 2016 with Peter, a biologist with experience in small-scale aquaculture business.
Business partners Bex De Prospo and Peter Randrup.
Anteater impressed the judges and took out Entre’s Grand Prize, earning prize money, mentoring, publicity and orders. Bex and Peter launched in May 2016 and began to supply edible bugs to restaurants.
The vision of “working tirelessly to save the world, one bug at a time” capitalises on global trends for eating bugs. While 80% of the world’s population already consumes insects, the world’s top restaurants are leading in the way in countries where bugs on the menu have not been the norm (live ant seasoning at Noma). The trend towards eating insects also recognises that insects provide a more sustainable food source than other farmed products such as meat and provide an excellent source of protein.
TV, radio and print media coverage followed (NZ Entrepreneur Magazine). Anteater soon supplied ants, huhu grubs, locusts and powered crickets to three of New Zealand’s seven highest rated restaurants and high profile events such as TEDx Christchurch and Te Papa's Bug Lab Exhibition. Locally, Mexico restaurant (served in Corn Esquites and Cricket Powder Tortillas) and Roots in Lyttelton are customers.
The Anteater story will no doubt inspire the graduands to think outside the box. The Department of Business will see 147 students graduate in person this Friday, with a further 130 graduating in absentia, across a range of programmes from certificate to the Bachelor of management, with specialisations from accounting to event management to human resourcing, to post-graduate diplomas in transformation and change, entrepreneurship and others.
In a fast-changing and increasingly global world, Ara prepares business students to develop the skills for analysis, innovation and success. Work placements and events such as the Entre challenge enable business students further development of their skills, in addition to the industry-relevant, vocationally-focussed skills being developed through innovative learning on campus.
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