Waikato Ma¯ori busi­nesses grow­ing

Waikato News - - BUSINESS -

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 busi­ness­growth@wipltd.co.nz 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.

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