Chelsea Hirst

Head of Acceleration and Engagement

Chelsea leads the Acceleration and Engagement team at Sprout. She has overseen the engagement with over 150 founders and innovators across more than 50 ventures through Sprout’s programmes.

An experienced entrepreneur, Chelsea won the Manawatu Innovate competition in 2016 with her startup Peurgon. She has experienced the roller coaster ride of creating a novel product and taking it from an idea to market.

Previously Chelsea was a Business Analyst at FMG, New Zealand’s leading rural insurer, where she led a development team through the first technical upgrade of FMG’s core insurance systems and developed requirements for ongoing process and system improvements. Before becoming a Business Analyst, Chelsea had used FMG's systems extensively as a Rural Consultant to service a portfolio of farming clients.

Chelsea also spent time at Pamu, the state-owned and largest pastoral farmer in New Zealand, as a Dairy Farm Technician across 7 dairy farms milking 3500 cows collectively at the organic Moutoa Dairy Complex in the Manawatu. Her role focused on the collection and maintenance of herd records to ensure accuracy and optimal animal health performance, as well as overseeing transportation and management of young stock off-farm.

Chelsea has been a lead team member with published industry research on grazing management, and was also a dairy farmer herself on several dairy farms in the Waikato region ranging from 200 to 750 cows. Chelsea has a BSc in Agricultural Science from Massey University.