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MYOB Partners with Kōkiri to Progress Māori Start-Ups

Leading tech company MYOB is again partnering with business accelerator Kōkiri after a successful launch in 2018. The accelerator programme helps 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.

The online accounting software provider will open its technology platforms and provide mentoring to 10 Māori start-ups as part of a three-month Te Wānanga o Aotearoa programme in partnership with Callaghan Innovation.

The accelerator is intended to provide a comprehensive support network for their teams to allow them to focus on business development throughout the programme. It aims to get new Māori ventures market-ready with the help of business insights from partners such as MYOB, and to provide selected teams with initial funding and connections to potential investors.

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

MYOB New Zealand country manager Ingrid Cronin-Knight says, “We are excited to continue our partnership and from the last cohort we saw a rich diverse nature of authentic home grown experiences 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 Ms Cronin-Knight.

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.”

“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 Mr Ross.

Ms Cronin-Knight agrees and says, “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.”

Arataki Systems joined Kōkiri as part of the inaugural cohort at the start of their business journey. “When we walked in [to the programme] in 2018, we only had one product and two customers,” says Lee Timutimu, Arataki Systems CEO.

Two years on, Arataki Systems have experienced significant growth and development. Their suite of apps has grown to five including bespoke apps such as 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.

More recently, Lee and his Arataki Systems team have launched a new app, Bookd, which was designed for start-ups wanting to break into Aotearoa’s growing tourism sector.

“We designed Bookd to help local tourism operators set up their services, reach customers and take bookings that is affordable for start-ups and whānau enterprises,” says Lee.

Arataki has had multiple global opportunities since completing the Kōkiri programme. The team has travelled to San Francisco, Hawai’i and Vietnam engaging with major tech companies such as Google and developing relationships with international investors and customers.

Arataki Systems were 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.

Kōkiri is looking for applications from Māori technology-focused entrepreneurs, innovators and start-ups ventures whose ambitions are to not only be profitable but to have a positive impact socially, culturally and environmentally. At least one founder must identify as Māori. Applications close on 2 February 2020. Visit www.kokiri.nz to learn more.

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