Developing business aspirations within the community

By Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes

A pop-up business school at the Tolaga Bay Innovation Hub is helping whānau in the remote rural community gain business knowledge and become self-employed.

Participating in the two week workshop, Mere Tamanui o Te Aitanga-a-Hauiti says, “I'm starting a nursery for my trees- native plants from this area- to empower the environment on the East Coast.”

Over 90% of those in attendance are Māori and more than half are unemployed.

Wiremu Maurirere (Te Aitanga-a-Hauiti, Ngāti Ira) of the Tolaga Bay Innovation Hub says, “Most of the jobs here are sheep shearing, picking corn, picking fruit and felling trees so it is hard to find work here.”

Funded by The Ministry for Social Development, PopUp Business School Aotearoa aims to help change small communities through small business.

PopUp Business School Aotearoa mentor Tony Henderson-Newport says, “Tomorrow morning we will be doing negotiation, last week on Wednesday we were building websites and yesterday we were looking at how we could drive traffic to those websites.”

Over 350 people have taken part in the school's events around the country, with 37 people attending in Tolaga Bay.

Maurirere says, “The main aim of the Tolaga Bay Innovation Hub is to help Te Aitanga-a-Hauiti and the wider East Coast to make their dreams become a reality in business.”

“We've learnt how to do websites, key phrases, how to pitch our businesses, just get that confidence to just get out there and do it," says Tamanui.

The PopUp Business School moves to Whanganui on the 11th of February.