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Kōkiri & Te Wānanga o Aotearoa to support Māori startups

22 Jan 2020

Business accelerator Kōkiri will work alongside MYOB to help provide a leg up for Māori startups, as part of a a three-month Te Wānanga o Aotearoa programme in partnership with Callaghan Innovation.

The programme aims to help Māori start-ups to pressure test their business, with the aim to rapidly increase the founder’s business capability as well and produce investor and growth ready ventures.

It will also offer access to business workshops, co-working facilities and opportunities to obtain resources for growing startup businesses.

Kōkiri programme lead Aisha Ross says, “Our kaupapa combines acceleration methods to accelerate Māori led start-ups to develop their skills, capability and readiness for market entry, while supporting founder wellbeing.”

“We’re committed to accelerating the development of Māori-led ventures as we recognise entrepreneurship and innovation as a key enabler of whānau transformation in Aotearoa. We see Kōkiri as a significant driver behind high-growth, impact-positive ventures which contribute to the future success of the Māori economy,” continues Ross.

MYOB is one partner that will provide business insights. MYOB New Zealand country manager Ingrid Cronin-Knight says the last cohort displayed a diverse range of authentic homegrown experiences, right through to global growth businesses.

“We know it is hard work being a start-up and historically Māori entrepreneurs have one of the lowest inclusion rates. The support and frameworks they get from Kōkiri provide great fundamentals to help them succeed,” says Cronin-Knight.

Arataki Systems is a startup that joined the Kōkiri programme in 2018. At that time, the company had one product and two customers.

Now, the company has five apps including cultural proximity software, forestry health & safety platform and a cultural iwi storytelling app. The number of customers and partnerships have jumped significantly with Arataki now servicing thirteen customer and corporate partnerships in Aotearoa.

Arataki Systems was also acknowledged by the independent TIN (Technology Investment Network) Report 2019 as part of the strong pipeline of smaller companies in New Zealand’s growing Māori tech ecosystem.

“The Māori economy is thriving and diversifying at the same time. Right now, we’re seeing new technologies and digital tools disrupting traditional businesses and markets with Māori entrepreneurs marking their mark in these emerging industries,” says Ross.

Cronin-Knights adds, “We view their contribution to the local economy as vital, particularly given the kaupapa are motivated with Māori values and this balances the social, environment and business impacts. Businesses ventures which balance these impacts help New Zealand thrive.”