Are you ready to be catalysed?

The Founder Catalyst™ programme is designed to help you gain the skills you need to sustain the decade-long journey of running through walls and building a globally successful company.

We're focused on your development as well as your company’s and understand that each person’s and each startup’s journey is unique

By the end of this programme, you’ll not only leave with the hard skills (e.g. product development, market validation, financial literacy) required for the next phase of your journey, but the soft skills (e.g. leadership, team management, cultural intelligence) as well.

There’s no time like the present…apply today!

Kia ora,
- Marian, CEO, Ministry of Awesome


Join founder catalyst

This is the opportunity to upskill yourself and level up your company, no matter where you are in your journey. Come join us.

Join our next cohort, applications close 2nd of July!


Applications close 2nd of July!

How it Works

We invite new cohorts to join Founder Catalyst four times per year. >

Your adventure begins under the expert guidance of Jeffrey Ling, our Programme Director at the Ministry of Awesome. 

Application process

Check out the Founder Catalyst criteria, if you think you're ready - apply! 

The application process is broken into three steps:

  1. Application - tell us a little about you and your startup - share your goals and global ambitions
  2. Shortlist - we take the time to get to know you and learn about your journey 
  3. Pitch interview - you'll get the chance to pitch your story to a selection panel 


Each cohort begins with a virtual kickoff, which focuses on three areas:

  1. Getting to know people - other Founders in your cohort, the MoA team, and some Startup Mentors
  2. The upcoming programme schedule and its elements
  3. A crash course on important topics from expert facilitators


You can’t make progress without a baseline measurement, so we first assess where your company is relative to the programme graduation requirements, which include oft-forgotten but important capabilities with regards to finances, legalities, governance human resources, or investment disciplines.

This will help both of us understand what gaps need to be filled. Only then can we create a unique plan of action together that will help fill those gaps by the time you graduate or shortly thereafter.

Develop your plan 

Your plan of action will also include your bespoke goals for the time we have together. These goals may have to do with raising funds, earning revenue, hiring employees, expanding into a new geography, entering another startup support programme, or something else altogether.

The combination of graduation requirements and bespoke goals allows you to be the master of your own destiny while also ensuring you have the foundations required to do what’s next.

Key focus areas

Everything we do in the programme orbits around three big themes: market, globalisation, and fundraising.

Access to a global mentor network

Throughout your journey, you’ll have a large cast of characters supporting you. This may take the shape of expert office hours for one-on-one consultations or it may be in the form of a group presentation and workshop. Our global network of Startup Mentors have been founders, operators, and high performers in a wide variety of areas, and they are here to help you progress through the programme. Similarly, the MoA team is at your disposal. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you will have your fellow cohort members. The relationships begun in a cohort have great potential to become long-lasting bonds that remain years after a programme has ended.

Connect with leading investors

Similar to the wealth of expertise we’ve curated in our Startup Mentors, we have also formed relationships with some of the leading venture capital and angel groups in the Asia-Pacific region, and this list continues to grow.

For those of you interested in other sources of capital, there will be plenty of organisations for you, too.

Work from anywhere

Every individual's needs are different. Whether you thrive in a high-energy, open-space, creative co-working environment, or prefer the quiet of your home office, Founder Catalyst will support you.

Founders who choose to work with us on site in Christchurch will receive a dedicated desk space, invites to in-person events, kitchen access, coffee, and WiFi, at no cost. Remote founders are also welcome and will use temporary desks when visiting and video calls for meetings, workshops, and other gatherings.


At some point our formal programme time together will come to an end. But fear not friend, that doen't mean our support for you will end. 

Towards the end of the programme, there will be a transition period where you formally move from active programme participant to alumnus.

We'll ensure you're set up for success. This may be in the form of an action plan, introductions to key stakeholders, referrals of other capability-building programmes, a formal Demo Day event, or all of the above. 

Even if you choose not to continue your adventure as a startup founder or a founder for this particular company, we support you. There is no failure; only opportunity to continue innovating, learning, and making the world a bit better than when you found it.

Awesome startup perks

In addition to our fantastic line up of Startup Mentors and Investors, we have assembled a collection of perks and tools that will assist you in building your company.

We are grateful to all of the organisations for their continued support of startup innovation in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Not quite ready to join Founder Catalyst? 

Check out Startup Aotearoa - a FREE one-on-one startup coaching service.

Regardless of business stage, industry, or location, Startup Aotearoa supports budding entrepreneurs to build their capabilities and turn their ideas into thriving startups.