Waikato Ma¯ori businesses growing
The wider Waikato region is experiencing growth in Ma¯ ori business enterprise, according to local experts.
“The Ma¯ ori economy is growing, and it’s growing fast,” says Kahurangi Taylor, a Waikato Innovation Park business growth advisor.
She regularly meets with local entrepreneurs and says the number of Ma¯ ori businesses seeking support has grown across the Waikato and Coromandel regions.
“In the past up to five per cent of businesses we were supporting were Ma¯ ori, but over the past year it has increased to 16 per cent.”
Waikato-Tainui is backing the claims.
“The Ma¯ ori economy is definitely growing. All the research will tell you that,” says Karleen Turner Puriri, whanake manager — economic development at Waikato-Tainui.
“Ma¯ ori businesses make a considerable contribution to the region, however there is so much untapped potential at the moment.”
A key priority for the Ministry of Business (MBIE) is growing the Ma¯ ori economy.
MBIE’s Business Growth Agenda 2017 Refresh report predicts that by 2040 Ma¯ ori will form a significant portion of the working-age population.
Supporting Ma¯ ori business growth will benefit the New Zealand economy, regional economies, as well as wha¯ nau, hapu¯ and iwi and supporting Ma¯ ori into entrepreneurship and encouraging Ma¯ ori small-tomedium enterprise (SME) growth is part of that, and there are signs this is growing.
The number of Ma¯ ori selfemployed and employers increased from 20,000 in 2012 to 29,000 in December 2016, according to MBIE.
Engaging Ma¯ ori through regional growth programmes is vital to growing the Ma¯ ori economy, which is where an organisation like the one at Waikato Innovation Park comes in.
The group is funded by the Regional Business Partner Network (RBPN) which is supported by New Zealand Trade & Enterprise (NZTE) and Callaghan Innovation.
Their focus is on supporting businesses with high-growth aspirations that are export focused, technology-driven or have innovative products or services with real commercial merit. Some may be in the early stages of starting a business, while others have new products or services they hope to commercialise.
Kahurangi is one of six business advisors in the Waikato Innovation Park team providing free advice and support to businesses across the region.
She has been involved in three start-up organisations and can offer real-world advice and experience to others starting out in business.
“I can add value in the early stages, because I’ve been there,” says Kahurangi.
“There are a lot of things to think about when starting a business, from thinking about GST to writing a business plan.”
Although based at Waikato Innovation Park in Hamilton, team members regularly travel to regional Waikato and Coromandel towns for monthly meetings.
An initial meeting is followed by an action plan, and in some cases a referral to a business mentor or other experts and networks.
With strong connections to Callaghan Innovation, business advisors can help navigate government funding to apply for project grants for research and development.
Businesses can also access cofunding through the Capability Development voucher scheme which enable people to upskill in areas such as strategic planning, marketing, capital raising, business systems, finance, sustainability, managing resources, governance and exporting — with access to a large number of local coaches and trainers.
And there is a new Ma¯ ori business accelerator programme called Ko¯kiri, run by Te Wa¯nanga o Aotearoa and Callaghan Innovation.
The Park and Waikato Tainui co-host a quarterly Ma¯ ori Business Panel for Ma¯ ori business owners and entrepreneurs.
For more information or to meet with a business advisor from the Waikato Innovation Growth team contact 07 857 0538 or firstname.lastname@example.org or for more information see www.wipltd.co.nz/what-we-do/ grow-your-business
HELPING OUT: Kahurangi Taylor, second from left, enjoys meeting with people about their businesses.