From mid-2016 Bay of Plenty businesses have a new voice, Bay of Plenty Business News. This new publication reflects the region’s growth and importance as part of the wider central North Island economy.
Bay of plenty FEBRUARY/MARCH 2018 VOLUME 3: ISSUE 3 WWW.BOPBUSINESSNEWS.CO.NZ FACEBOOK.COM/BOPBUSINESSNEWS Encouraging Māori entrepreneurship SCIENCE AWARD $500,000 prize for Psa researchers P12 STANDOFF TECT-Trustpower row continues P13 RATING RUMBLE TCC engages with business P13 Buddy Mikaere (left) and Ian Taylor: Time to draw upon Ma¯ori technology and enterprise. Photos/supplied The recent Te Hekenga conference held in Tauranga was the third of the bi-annual events that bring together representatives of Māori Business Networks from around the country. Their objective is to share ideas, issues, successes and war stories about the challenges of encouraging Māori to set up their own enterprises and establish supportive networks. By DAVID PORTER The Māori economy contributes at least 11 percent to the wider Bay of Plenty GDP, according to Bay of Connections data. But despite the undoubted potential and capacity of the Maori economy, more needs to be done to encourage Māori to create successful small and medium enterprises (SMEs), said sources interviewed by Bay of Plenty Business News. Te Hekenga organiser Buddy Mikaere pointed to the need to build up the numbers of successful Māori-run SMEs. “There’s a big gap in the economy as far as Maori are concerned,” said Mikaere. “We have a reasonable presence at the upper end with some of the larger iwis, and we’re over- represented down at the bottom level where there are all the manual workers. Where we’re missing out is in the middle with the SMEs. That’s where most of New Zealand business is done, but we don’t have a really strong presence there.” The Te Hekenga conferences were aimed at helping Māori to start up businesses that would help create high value employment opportunities, he said. Key speakers included Ian Taylor, who founded Animation Research Ltd. ARL’s innovative America’s Cup and sporting events software has been developed into a global business from its base in Dunedin. Taylor said there was no lack of Māori technology smarts, with the Māori division introduced two years ago at the New Zealand Hi Tech Awards attracting the highest number of application for any category in its first year. He cited the success of entrepreneurs such as the Bay’s Steve Saunders of Robotics Plus, and he also noted the support ARL itself had received, with Ngati Kahungunu Iwi acquiring a 40 percent stake in ARL last year. “One of the things we’re saying to iwi is that if [Māori] have a multi-billion dollar economic engine, then it’s time you started making investments in industries that will create high value jobs for young people,” said Taylor. “At the moment [the Māori economy is largely in] primary industries that don’t create high value jobs. But the opportunity is not in investing in companies like Uber or the like, that’s not growing the economy. It’s about investing in the bright Maori ideas that are coming and getting them to grow.” Awhina August, who leads the implementation of Bay of Plenty’s He Mauri Ohooho Māori economic development action plan within the wider Bay of Plenty Regional Growth Study, says there is a growing Maori business sector in Tauranga and the wider region. “The opportunity is that Māori own a large portion of significant assets across key sectors and comprise a high proportion of young people across the region,” said August. “There are amazing businesses out there and we need to be promoting them. But we need to be better connected with one another as Māori businesses, and also to networks and partners who aim to drive economic growth and better social outcomes for our people. “We’ve come from very entrepreneurial backgrounds from our ancestors - and there’s a lot of gold and gems out there. We just need to be promoting and connecting them more. Events like Te Hekenga are important and provide opportunities to share, to learn and to network. Collaboration at all levels is key to creating the scale that is needed for meaningful change in the region.” Steve Bird, founder of Bay-based Steve Bird Wines, who also addressed the conference, echoed the collaboration theme. “My message was that, for an SME proposition, don’t ever underestimate the power of collaboration,” he said. Steve Bird Wines collabo- Continued on page 3 *Special applies for meetings in the Arena Suites held before 30 April 2018. Minimum 20 people with one full day catering. Free AV includes: 1 x screen, 1 x projector, technical handover, Wifi.