The online accounting software provider will open its technology platforms and provide mentoring to 10 Māori start-ups as part of a four-month Te Wānanga o Aotearoa programme in partnership with Callaghan Innovation.
Kōkiri is co-funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Te Pūnaha Hiringa Māori Innovation Fund and will see students join the course in 2018.
It aims to get new Māori ventures market-ready with the help of business insights from partners MYOB, Air New Zealand and Spark, and provide selected teams with initial funding and connections to potential investors.
MYOB New Zealand general manager Carolyn Luey says the company is thrilled to team up with Kōkiri to help home-grown entrepreneurs kick-start new businesses.
“New Zealand has shown its ability to grow start-ups that can foot it with the world’s best, but the challenge is ensuring Kiwis can build on that success.”
Ms Luey says there is an opportunity to introduce more Māori worldviews into our start-up communities and give Maori-based businesses the tools they need to succeed.
“We see Kōkiri improving the breadth of our country’s start-up sector at the same time as supporting Maori-based businesses and entrepreneurs to scale up.”
Kōkiri considers business ideas from all sectors but focuses on the potential value of each venture and the cross-section of skills in each team, with a requirement that at least one member of each start-up must identify as Māori. Last month, more than 100 budding entrepreneurs across New Zealand applied to take part in the inaugural programme.
Kōkiri programme director Ian Musson says the accelerator is designed to speed up the process of getting local business ideas into the hands of customers, while increasing the representation of Māori entrepreneurs in early-stage ventures.
“We’ll be providing the teams with the support they need to successfully prove, build and launch their ideas to market.”
Kōkiri will also offer access to business workshops, co-working facilities, investor groups, and opportunities to obtain resources for growing their businesses.
“We’re ambitious about Māori start-ups, and the Kōkiri programme is designed to help them realise their potential,” says Mr Musson.
“With enough guidance and perseverance, New Zealand’s regions could establish themselves as places where great ventures are born. This is sure to attract new and further capital investment to New Zealand,” he says.
Ms Luey agrees and says while the total economic contribution of start-ups to New Zealand is difficult to measure, the opportunities they provide in terms of diversification, employment and long-term global potential make them a vital part of the local economy.
“In New Zealand, we have no shortage of ideas – and entrepreneurial people with the potential to make them really successful.
“However, we need to keep developing the conditions that nurture and develop the businesses coming through, and couple those start-ups with frameworks, like Kōkiri, that can help turn a good idea to a great execution.”
Ms Luey says the growth of the tech sector is a boon for the New Zealand economy, and MYOB see this as an exciting opportunity to develop local small businesses by helping to propel the country’s pace of innovation.
“MYOB, together with Kōkiri and other programme partners, is excited to leverage our relationships with Kiwi businesses, accounting professionals and technology leaders to foster New Zealand’s next generation of high-growth companies.
“As New Zealand’s largest accounting solutions provider, we have a range of tools, information and technology to get new businesses up and running, and help them simplify success,” says Ms Luey.
The Kōkiri business accelerator commences in February next year, and the 10 participating teams will be announced at an awards ceremony at Spark City in Auckland tonight.
For further comment or other information please contact:
Luke Chivers, MYOB NZ PR Consultant
P: 09 925 3505 / M: 027 569 8907 / E: firstname.lastname@example.org
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