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Te Kāinga Wāhine Celebrates Success Of Inaugural Wāhine Māori Business Programme

Te Kāinga Wāhine is delighted to announce the successful completion of its inaugural cohort of Wāhine Māori Entrepreneurs, marking the end of a transformative six-month business development programme. Ten inspiring wāhine were selected from a pool of over 130 applicants in May, participating in a programme designed to offer comprehensive support as they navigate their entrepreneurial journeys.

Findings from Te Puni Kōkiri's Te Matapaeroa report acknowledge the significant contribution wāhine Māori make to the Māori economy, leading nearly 40% of Māori-owned businesses.

Amy McLean, Founder of Te Kāinga Wāhine, says wāhine Māori have always been entrepreneurial, and that only continues to grow as wāhine drive to build legacies for their whānau. "It’s so important that we invest in building up wāhine Māori because the flow-on impact they have on their whānau and communities is extensive."

The business development programme, likened to an incubator by its participants, delivered a diverse range of support services, workshops, and wānanga over six months. Wāhine were exposed to various topics and experts to enhance their business capabilities, confidence, and self-leadership. The hybrid learning model, combining in-person and online delivery, allowed flexibility for participants to balance work and family commitments.

Representing diverse industries such as reo Māori products and services, graphic design, home ownership, fashion, financial wellbeing, Māmā support and vocal coaching, the programme facilitated valuable conversations through a variety of experiences and knowledge sharing. Geographically, wāhine were spread across the North Island, from the Far North to Te Whanganui-a-Tara, and across both coasts.

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"The connections formed by the wāhine in this cohort were invaluable. We provided the space, and they embraced the opportunity to build a support system for themselves - becoming each other's cheerleaders, brainstorming partners, and a source of encouragement when faced with challenges," reflects Amy McLean.

"Te Kāinga Wāhine has really felt like a home and a whānau for me as wāhine Māori. Every connection, every hui, every wānanga - it was a learning experience. I have evolved so much, and I see the same in every other wahine in our cohort." - Nalisha Tahere, kōmiri

The outcomes of the programme have been remarkable, with participants launching new products and services, pivoting into new sectors, redefining business models, and experiencing increases in revenue and impact delivered.

Beyond tangible outcomes, participants have undergone significant shifts in confidence, self-understanding as wāhine Māori in the business world, and a profound sense of ownership for their ventures and their whānau.

Te Kāinga Wāhine extends appreciation for the funding provided by Te Puni Kōkiri and the support from various organizations that align with the aspirations of wāhine Māori. The learning experience was enriched by the many contributions of diverse speakers, guest facilitators, and industry experts.

Amy McLean is committed to cultivating support systems for wāhine Māori entrepreneurs, recognizing the responsibility to meet the needs of a community centered around wāhine Māori. "Te Kāinga Wāhine has always been about creating a place of belonging and connection. When individuals are surrounded by the right support, they and their whānau will thrive."

Te Kāinga Wāhine has exciting plans for the next 12 months, including a conference in the pipeline, the imminent launch of a membership programme, and expressions of interest for the 2024 business programme set to open before Christmas.

"As we celebrate the success of the inaugural cohort, we invite you to join our waka and be a part of supporting wāhine Māori in business."

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