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Te Whare Hukahuka & Poutama Trust Are Proud To Join Forces In Effort To Raise The Disposable Income Of Māori Families

Travis O’keefe, the co-founder of Te Whare Hukahuka (The House of Innovation), stands at the tauihu (prow) of a waka (canoe), spearheading a vision to inspire the lives of 10 million indigenous people. Teaching whānau how to create income through entrepreneurship.

Covid-19 didn’t just shut down the New Zealand Border or lock down the country, it caused an alarming number of businesses to close their doors. The need to innovate and find alternative sources of income has never been greater.

One solution is Ka Hao i Te Ao E-commerce Programme supported by Te Whare Hukahuka. Travis encourages the students to be brave, be prepared to think differently and be prepared to take the hard knocks of what it means to be an entrepreneur.

In the same fashion, Poutama Trust has been guiding Pakihi Māori/Māori businesses willing to go into that unknown future for decades. Since 1988, Poutama has been helping to create an environment for successful Pakihi Māori ventures and economic growth. That’s why Poutama is partnering with Te Whare Hukahuka to support the Ka Hao i te Ao Programme.

It further builds on the kaupapa (initiative) that Poutama has nurtured and supported for more than thirty years. Potential customer interest and sales naturally lead from having an effective e-commerce presence.

Through its Te Pūtea Pakihi Māori / Māori Business Funding, Poutama can offer funding assistance for Pakihi Māori to: 1) investigate innovative business development ideas, 2) purchase products and/or services that help business growth and sustainability, and 3) obtain business development training to upskill management and staff. Ultimately to help Pakihi grow and thrive - increasing their income, customer base, productivity and profit margins.

Koro Dickinson, Poutama Trust’s Chief Executive Officer, says “In a recent survey, our clients told us that they prefer to engage and work with Māori entities like Poutama. Other Pakihi have told us that they appreciate our service and advice – especially through COVID-19 uncertainty and disruptions.”

This makes the Ka Hao i te Ao by indigenous, for indigeonus ecommerce programme the perfect fit. The programme helps students achieve their own sense of Tino Rangatiratanga (Self Sovereignty) by growing their disposable income online; a covid-free space.

Ka Hao i te Ao Alumni have raved about their eye-opening experience.

"What I've learned from the Ka Hao i te Ao programme is so much; it's literally made me think about my life differently. I want to go out and start a shop. I've started a blog…And the fact that (Ka Hao i te Ao) has given me the tools to accomplish that, and to start that is phenomenal," Amber Naveira said when asked what she learned from the programme.

The new cohort is set to begin mid-year 2022, Ka Hao i te Ao will be the waka used along this transformational journey. In the course, you will ‘learn the knowledge’, team-up with other entrepreneurs to ‘implement the learning’, as well as ‘launch and grow’ an online store.

Travis says they will gain access to a proven system, and grow their household income and skills.

Whether rewiring old habits through learning about a Growth vs Fixed mindset, understanding the potential customer by unpacking their pain-points, or dissecting a business’ backend analytics, the Ka Hao i te Ao programme helps those that may not have the opportunity to start their own business get started on their entrepreneurial journey.

“This has a multiplier effect, not only improving the lives of those in the programme but their whānau (family) and community too.”

Manuela Klevisser, Te Whare Hukahuka Operations Manager, was asked her thoughts about the collaboration. She loves the suite of services Poutama Trust can provide to the Ka Hao i te Ao Whānau.

Poutama will offer a $10k grant to the business that tops the Ka Hao i te Ao programme; and will support the second ($5k), third ($2.5k), and fourth ($2.5k) businesses. This funding is to be used to purchase products/services that will help take the business to another level.

In addition, Poutama will support a ‘star’ student who may not meet the above criteria, (business operating for at least 1 year and earning $80,000 per annum), but through sheer commitment can see that some support - a grant up to $5,000 - would help their business grow!

“Look at what we can do together! We are creating a network of social impact, and Poutama Trust has been paving the way for over 30 years. They know better than most that it takes a village to raise an entrepreneur.”

With an overarching kaupapa like ‘Improving the lives of 10 million indigenous people’; it is no wonder, the Ka Hao i te Ao programme grew over 400% in 2021. And it is projected to double for 2022 with the tautoko (support) of grassroots organisations like Poutama Trust.

Travis says this growth shows it is time for a paradigm shift. He believes new entrepreneurs should open an ecommerce business, while existing businesses have to migrate. Then, as they seek to grow and scale their business – Poutama can help Pakihi on their business journey.

"The Ka Hao i te Ao programme also teaches individuals or business owners how to take their brick and mortar business online. So let’s strap an ecommerce jet engine onto your traditional business!”

For many indigenous the greatest barrier towards developing or growing a business is the awareness of the services available to them. Koro says it could be a case of some Pakihi not knowing what they don’t know; therefore, having little awareness about this awesome opportunity because they’re so busy “on the tools” so to speak.

To tackle this issue, Poutama spreads the word via their newsletter, networking events, and social media.

“The year on year data/statistics for online sales confirm this, especially during COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions, customers still want to purchase goods and services from the convenience of their mobiles and home. This is an ideal platform for new and emerging Pakihi Māori.”

This long-awaited collaboration has a one-two punch that can help your business weather any storm.

You can check out the Poutama website and our online application www.poutama.co.nz/apply-online , They will need the latest financials, business plan, cashflow forecast, business continuity plan and quotes for equipment or service. Māori enterprises that have gone onto become very successful and world renowned in their industry e.g. AgriSea NZ Seaweed (Paeroa), Envico Technologies (Mount Maunganui) and Animation Research (Dunedin)

Be sure to head over to the Ka Hao i te Ao website for further information on applications and the programme itself, visit: https://www.kahaoecommerce.com.au/ (for those based in Australia) and www.twh.co.nz (for those based in New Zealand).

. The application for the Ka Hao i Te Ao Programme is really simple. You must be of Māori or Pasifika descent and be able, and willing to commit at least 8-10 hours a week over the course of 18 weeks. Eligibility for a scholarship is based on completing the application form, and all five of the ‘Comfort Challenges designed to stretch and grow participants’.

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