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Business Growth Accelerator Programme Continues With Northland Inc

Northland Inc, the region’s Economic Development Agency, led a business start-up event earlier this month at The Orchard business and event hub in Whangārei, where eight teams pitched their business models to a panel of 14 experts. The purpose of the event was for new business operators to receive valuable feedback from experienced Northlanders to support growth in their business.

This event was the pinnacle of a 12-week coaching programme, in which problems, barriers and new skills were workshopped and developed by businesses with the support of Te Tai Tokerau Growth Accelerator Programme delivered by Northland Inc.

As reflective of the region’s economic landscape, the event included a wide variety of sectors represented through businesses and the panel. The technology sector was well represented, and indicative of the growing tech community in Northland, and particularly in Whangārei.

This is the third event of its type, which Northland Inc has held with the intention of supporting the growth of an entrepreneurship ecosystem.

Sophie Wiltshier, of Northland Inc’s Business Innovation and Growth team, said “There is no

doubt in our minds that Te Tai Tokerau is full of talented people with great ideas. We run these business development programmes to help people build business capability, strengthen their businesses and connect them - to each other and to experts and investors. Each programme leaves us more impressed and energised by the quality and passion of these people and their mahi.”

One member of the expert panel, George Norris, is alumni of the 2018 investment-ready

programme. As co-founder of Whangārei software development and private tertiary education provider, Developers Institute, Mr Norris attended to support start-ups by contributing his insight and expertise. Developers Institute is progressing to contribute significantly to high skilled employment in the region, by educating the software developers needed to fuel enterprise growth and make the region even more attractive to those looking for a location for their business.

Innovator and electrician, Mark Molloy, introduced Plubber Modules, which take tyres and dirty plastic from the waste stream and convert them into building materials. Mr Molloy has

international patents pending and aims to replace polystyrene in buildings as well as 30% of

concrete in roading barriers. Plubber Modules also aim to eliminate the need for new landfill sites with the waste reduction outcomes achieved through the introduction of this production system.

A recent renewal of funding now sees Te Tai Tokerau Growth Accelerator programme confirmed for another 12 months. Funding for the programme is a collaboration between Creative HQ, Callaghan Innovation, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and Northland Inc.

The next 12 months represents the first in a five-year Start-up Northland strategic plan. The plan works towards a self-sustaining ecosystem where those with high growth potential business ideas are connected and supported by those with business experience and capital. The overarching intention stated in the plan is to grow Northland’s economy and employment through the development of a strong entrepreneurship ecosystem.

To learn more about the business programmes available through Northland Inc visit or email


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