SODA launches re­gional part­ner­ship

Hamilton Metro News - - NEWS -

Waikato-based busi­ness in­cu­ba­tor SODA Inc has launched a Re­gional Part­ner Ini­tia­tive, which fur­ther ex­pands its in­cu­ba­tion model.

“As founders with good ideas and busi­ness growth ad­vi­sors with the right ex­pe­ri­ence can be found any­where, our pro­grammes can be run re­motely,” says SODA op­er­a­tions man­ager Rachel Adams.

“This means our clients can be based any­where in New Zealand and our ad­vi­sors can be based any­where in the world.”

This flex­i­bil­ity pre­sented an op­por­tu­nity for the in­cu­ba­tor to cre­ate a part­ner­ship with re­gional busi­ness hubs who will join forces to pro­vide sup­port for start-up projects in their area. Ini­tial part­ners are in the Bay of Plenty, Hawkes Bay, and Gis­borne.

“By part­ner­ing with re­gional hubs who know their re­gions bet­ter than any­one else means we can make more of an im­pact — es­pe­cially in re­gions that don’t yet re­ceive cen­tral gov­ern­ment fund­ing for in­cu­ba­tion ser­vices,” says Adams.

Re­sponse from busi­ness hubs in the re­gion is en­thu­si­as­tic.

“We’re pleased to part­ner with SODA to make the Lift and Boost founder-fo­cused in­cu­ba­tion pro­grammes avail­able to en­trepreneurs across the Bay of Plenty,” Jo Al­lum co-founder of Tau­ranga’s Ven­ture Cen­tre said. Busi­ness Hawke’s Bay act­ing CEO, Carolyn Neville, also wel­comed the new ini­tia­tive and be­lieves that the re­gion’s start-up en­trepreneurs will sig­nif­i­cantly ben­e­fit from the new part­ner­ship with SODA.

A key ac­tion in Matariki, the Hawke’s Bay Re­gional Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Strat­egy, has been iden­ti­fied as es­tab­lish­ing an in­cu­ba­tor pro­gramme for the re­gion, de­liv­ered through the Hawke’s Bay Busi­ness Hub.

“We’re ex­cited to have the op­por­tu­nity to part­ner with Soda, who have a proven pro­gramme for founders and ac­cess to world class ad­vi­sors,” says Ms Neville.

The next step for our re­gional part­ners is to find the right founders who would ben­e­fit from such a pro­gramme and get them started.

In Gis­borne, Ac­ti­vate Tairawhiti is work­ing with Soda to pro­vide a pro­gramme as part of a wider range of ser­vices avail­able to lo­cal busi­nesses through the Re­gional Busi­ness Part­ner Pro­gramme.

“Our in­ten­tion is to pro­vide a com­pre­hen­sive range of ser­vices that our lo­cal busi­nesses would ben­e­fit from and we have iden­ti­fied a lo­cal need for busi­ness start-up ser­vices which this ser­vice would form part of,” says Ac­ti­vate Tairawhiti, chief ex­ec­u­tive Steve Breen.

In Ro­torua, Dar­ren McGarvie is chief coach and founder of Ro­torua busi­ness growth cen­tre Firesta­tion.

“We’re thrilled to be SODA’s re­gional part­ner in cen­tral and east­ern Bay Of Plenty,” he says. “We re­ally look for­ward to of­fer­ing this as an­other op­tion for Ro­torua busi­nesses to ac­cess fund­ing, sup­port and ex­per­tise to help them grow and scale rapidly.”

The Gov­ern­ment an­nounced SODA has se­cured fund­ing for a fur­ther two years from Cal­laghan In­no­va­tion. This will al­low it to run up to 32 cus­tomised pro­grammes over the next two years for high-qual­ity start-ups.

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