SODA launches regional partnership
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.