A passion for sign language and entrepreneurship has boosted Te Wānanga o Aotearoa graduate Adele Sauer into a DIGMYIDEA 2017 award-winner.
More than 100 entrants took part in this innovation challenge, which aimed to stimulate Māori participation in Aotearoa's tech-economy.
Individuals and teams put forward ideas that could potentially make a profit while making a global difference. Entries were considered in two categories; Māuri oho for those 25 and under and Māuri tū for everybody else.
The youth category was won by Nicole Calderwood, while Adele's Hamilton-based company SeeCom, took out Māuri tu with their e-learning sign language courses.
Both winners presented to a panel of judges during a "digiwānanga" weekend hosted by Te Wānanga o Aotearoa at Māngere campus this month.
Adele says it was inspiring listening to the finalists share their stories during the workshop.
"This time though, we nailed it and I want to thank all our team members who were present and everyone else behind the scenes. It feels great to be recognised for our services and products."
As one of the country’s official languages, more than 24,000 New Zealanders use sign language daily. To support this, SeeCom uses webinars to provide quality training that's also fun.
With 25 years involvement in the deaf community, Adele says sign language can also be beneficial for developmentally delayed or autistic children.
"SeeCom, or Reo-ā-karu, teaches all the basics you and your children need to know to be able to communicate clearly with sign," she explains.
"It's one of the easiest languages to learn and primarily the signs we teach parents and educators are all about positive behaviour and parenting."
Adele founded SeeCom just before she enrolled into a Certificate in First Line Management and Leadership (FLM) course at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa last year.
"In terms of managing staff, conducting job interviews, doing up reports and value propositions, I needed guidelines," she says.
She says it was a natural continuation from completing the Certificate of Small Business Management (CSBM) in 2006 and Certificate in Money Management (CMM) qualification in 2015.
"Both CSBM and FLM helped me but I also highly recommend the CMM course. CMM also helped me a lot around financial literacy, including budgeting, shares and assets. That course gave me a good sense of direction in terms of wealth creation," she says.
Adele says another aspect she really loved while studying with Te Wānanga o Aotearoa was the ability to network throughout the courses and working together with other students.
"The tutors were amazing and I'm really grateful for their wealth of knowledge, skills and experience they shared. After winning DIGMYIDEA, I’m all about working with other like-minded people."
What comes next for this Ngāti Kahungunu, Tuhoe, Tainui woman is a $10,000 business start-up support package to support research, development and the marketing of future SeeCom projects.
The main advice she says she'd challenge anyone with, is the implementation.
"Put all your studies into practice by getting out of your comfort zone and executing your strategic plans. All my studies have assisted me to achieve my goals and ambitions and have contributed towards the success that is SeeCom Ltd. Now let the games begin."
SeeCom has a four week sign language course on GrabOne available for the next week.