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Getting Extra Mileage from Starting Off Right

25 May 2004


Getting Extra Mileage from Starting Off Right

A belief that stronger, better planned and informed business start-ups will more readily start to realise their potential is behind Enterprise North Shore’s Starting Off Right workshops. The fortnightly, three-hour session that empowers prospective business owners with the information they need to make decisions for their business, has now registered over 560 graduates.

One of those graduates is Pam Martin, owner of Extra Mile Training, a computer training business that recently opened its doors for business in Takapuna.

Pam shares the focus of Starting Off Right on the empowering of people with new information and skills. Its focus is on mature working people who are excellent at the job they do, but may lack confidence around computers and new technology. Pam describes them as those in the 30 years-plus age group that weren’t able to benefit from computer training in schools. They are usually self-taught on computers and are often restricted by their lack of knowledge.

“We have been contacted by a large number of people who have had problems with computers. Their stories show that there is a real need for courses which can fill in the gaps to allow them to move forward in their careers. Our courses build on their current knowledge and provide practical help and support,” says Pam.

North Shore City’s Mayor, George Wood, says encouraging new businesses such as Extra Mile Training is great for North Shore’s economic future.

“Our city is recognised as a centre of excellence in information, communication and technology industries. Training organisations such as Extra Mile support these nationally important industries and contribute to our city’s highly skilled workforce,” he says.

Enterprise North Shore launched Starting Off Right programme in September 2002 in recognition of growing demand for business information and opportunities to network among like-minded business people. Not all people that attend the workshop start a business; some realise from the information supplied that their business idea maybe too risky. Others acknowledge that they need more time to think through what will be entailed and search out the information that workshop recommends. Most importantly, it helps people to make better business decisions. It’s a programme that has really helped Pam’s business.

“Their knowledge of the North Shore helped me with the research into possible locations for my business. They also encouraged me to research my target market thoroughly,” says Pam.

“I found that computer courses were often non-specific, expensive and required a lengthy period of commitment, something that is impossible for working people.”

As a consequence, Extra Mile’s training courses are short, running from two to six weeks and for as little as two hours a week.

“It fits what’s needed by my target market,” says Pam, “and that’s one of the secrets to getting any new business started.”


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