Business boost seized
Matamata business owners are singing the praises of Regional Business Partner Waikato, a governmentfunded business support programme.
Tainui Press Design and Print owners Dale and Sheryl Ertel and LTL Covers owner Lindsay Tasker are encouraging other Matamata business owners to check out the programme.
‘‘ Regional Business Partners has been a lifesaver for us,’’ Mr Ertel said.
‘‘It has given us insight and support we have not found anywhere else. It’s helped us identify our strengths and weaknesses and put the systems in place to deal with them,’’ he said.
RBP Waikato is managed by Opportunity Hamilton and Waikato Innovation Park, providing a free service throughout the region.
RBP Waikato programme manager Opportunity Hamilton has distributed tens of thousands of dollars towards business training with copartner Waikato Innovation Park distributing more than $ 9.5m in technology and development funding.
RBP Waikato manager Novell Gopal is also keen to get the word out in Matamata and throughout the greater Waikato.
‘‘We love visiting Waikato towns and their businesses and giving them support on their business journey. It’s about sitting down, listening to their business needs and goals and getting alongside them to make it happen,’’ Ms Gopal said.
The programme gives participants access to more than 40 Waikato service providers and offers funding of up to $5000 a year towards training costs.
The Ertels approached Regional Business Partner Waikato for support late last year and, along with a commitment to major investment in new equipment, they credit the programme with enabling the future of their business.
‘‘RPB really helps keep you focused and gives you the extra push you need. It has helped us keep our vision alive,’’ Mr Ertel said.
Meanwhile, Matamata tentmaker Lindsay Tasker is a step closer to his dream of helping the world with his humanitarian housing product thanks to the programme.
Mr Tasker, of LTL Covers, has developed the SeekaShelter tent prototype to use as emergency housing in the wake of natural disasters.
Born of LTL’S successful Calf-chalet shelter product, Mr Tasker and his wife and business partner Ellen are working with RBP towards distributing the housing product to governments around the globe.
The Taskers’ Seekashelter product is a 3m by 3.6m halfround tent assembled using a patented flexible join system and lightweight steel-based framing covered with doubleskinned polyethylene.
The quickly-assembled shelter system has been tested in 120 kilometre an hour winds and can house up to eight people.
The next step in the journey is to have it tested by international aid agencies such as the Red Cross. Regional Business Partner is helping me get it to that stage, Mr Tasker said.