Founding Story

In 2016, Take2 founder and CEO Cameron Smith was working in executive recruitment when his world turned upside down with the diagnosis of a serious autoimmune disease. This led Cameron to re-evaluate his career and life purpose.
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Raised by a struggling single mother in a small rural town and the youngest of three brothers, he always thought he had it hard. However, lying in a hospital, Cameron realised that he had actually been very privileged growing up. Even though his mother worked three jobs to provide for the family and was rarely home, she was a loving, ethical role model of persistence and perseverance. He was also fortunate to have grandparents living close by who helped to raise him. Finally, he had a great education through the support of his family

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Eventually, Cameron established himself as a recruitment and investment professional. It was in this context that he saw first-hand how a criminal conviction can profoundly impact a candidate’s life and their whānau. While working in the venture capital industry, Cameron had seen the opportunities afforded by the tech industry, but also the shortage of tech talent in New Zealand. This catalysed Cameron to take action by addressing the justice system in order to solve the talent shortage in tech. In turn, his work began providing life-changing work opportunities for marginalised individuals.

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In 2019, Cameron quit his full-time job in investment to pursue implementing his vision for Take2. Investing his life savings, Cameron visited the US and UK to see how similar programs succeeded. His experience informed development of a customised blueprint for the New Zealand Corrections sector. Self-funded in its first year of operation, Cameron built out the support team and secured commitments from leading employers to hire program graduates. In addition, he convinced our Corrections system to allow advanced technology and technology training within the prison system, and raised the seed capital to underwrite the successful pilot program at Auckland South Corrections Facility.

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With the overwhelming success of the pilot at Auckland South Corrections Facility, Take2 is now expanding its impact within Corrections facilities and within the community. Get in touch if you would like to help provide life changing opportunities for participants in Take2’s program.

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