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Two of New Zealand’s powerhouse tech entrepreneurs on the future of the STEM industry

Sophie Waldron
19 Jun 2019

Two of New Zealand’s powerhouse tech entrepreneurs, Carmen Vicelich and Ezel Kokcu share their valuable insights into the future of the STEM industry.

Carmen Vicelich

Carmen has built two multi-million-dollar, international data and technology businesses in just five years (while balancing life as a wife and mother of four young children.) Her real-life learnings are nothing short of inspirational and her passion and drive are incredibly contagious.

She was awarded with the Auckland University Business School’s ‘Entrepreneur’s Challenge’ award in 2015 and since then has continued to be recognised as one of NZ’s top business enterprise leaders being named a finalist in both the 2016 ‘Women of Influence’ awards and the ‘EY Entrepreneur of the Year’ awards.

What is the one thing you want everyone to know about your industry?

There’s never been a more exciting time to work with data and technology. There’s so much game changing value that can be leveraged, if you’re not using data and technology you will undoubtedly be left behind!

What inspired you to pursue your area of expertise?

I’m passionate about transformation and simplification and the ability to use data and technology to make the complicated simple and change the way things are done.

What do you see as the biggest challenges/opportunities for growth in your industry in the next 5 years?

Data and technology is changing rapidly and the biggest challenge (and opportunity) is increased regulation and complexity, particularly in the banking industry, which adds increased process and friction at the same time as the need for more streamlined and seamless customer experiences.

There’s never been a more exciting time to work with data and technology. Carmen Vicelich

Ezel Kokcu

Ezel is a 25-year-old technology entrepreneur that now lays claim to three successful and innovative start-up enterprises over the last 7 years. Most recently is Passphere, building on her previous successful start-up’s (Non-Stop Tix – a ticketing platform and STQRY, a Museum mobile app), Passphere specialises in bespoke ticketing management with a correlating analytics system to help large scale events better understand their audiences.

Ezel shares a motivational entrepreneurial story full of drive and passion, with helpful insights into achieving success.

What is the one thing you want everyone to know about your industry?

Our STEM industry still lacks the diversity needed to assist the 21st century economic growth. Our focus should be in helping the current and next generation of women seek opportunities in science, technology, engineering and maths. It's a mission of mine because I would have loved somebody to look up to when I was starting my software career.

Our industry is ever-changing but the ticket buying process hasn't changed in decades - we are set on a path with Passphere to change and disrupt the industry quickly through our ticketing and analytics system to service global events.

What inspired to you to pursue your area of expertise?

The relentless pursuit to change and disrupt the ticketing industry - it needs a big shakeup.

What do you see as the biggest challenges/opportunities for growth in your industry in the next 5 years?

The biggest challenges would be to tackle the bigger venues and completely change the way contracts are won overseas.

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