A partnership to accelerate the growth and development of Māori and Pacific entrepreneurship across Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland has been formed between Māori professional services organisation, HTK Group and GridAKL – the innovation campus based in Wynyard Quarter run by Tātaki Auckland Unlimited.
The organisations have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to work together to build entrepreneurial capability across the rohe and play an active role in supporting pakihi Māori and Pacific to thrive.
The partners will explore opportunities to deliver work programmes for Māori and Pacific entrepreneurs, who are underrepresented in the business community in Tāmaki Makaurau.
Grounded in the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, this partnership is built around the shared mission to grow the number of successful Māori and Pacific businesses in Tāmaki Makaurau.
Renata Hakiwai, Managing Director of HTK Group says the partnership with Auckland’s economic and cultural agency opens up an opportunity for more Māori and Pacific businesses to be present at the heart of the region’s innovation ecosystem, to scale up and get access to the country’s biggest economy and to connect with other start-ups and businesses across the region.
"As the country's biggest regional economy, we see Tāmaki as a place that our pakihi Māori and Pasifika can use to springboard into the national and global economy," says Renata Hakiwai.
“This partnership will elevate the prominence of pakihi Māori and Pasifika in the economic engine of Aotearoa.”
As part of the partnership, GridAKL provides HTK Group with permanent co-working spaces at its start-up campus, GRID AKL/Lysaght at Wynyard Quarter, where HTK Group will lead monthly Auckland-focused Māori business wānanga.
Renata Hakiwai says that the decision to locate HTK Group’s team at GridAKL was driven not just by practical considerations, but also its symbolic meaning.
“Representation matters - our goal is to empower those who may have never envisioned themselves in this space to take the leap. We want to serve as role models for ethical and effective business practices and attract Māori businesses to join our ecosystem”.
Tāmaki Makaurau has a higher number of Māori entrepreneurs in the information media and telecommunications industry (includes IT and digital tech sectors). However, Māori businesses employ only 2.9 people on average compared with 24.6 for non-Māori businesses in the region*.
Nick Hill, Chief Executive of Tātaki Auckland Unlimited says that the partnership between GridAKL and HTK Group has significant meaning for the region’s strategy to grow the Māori economy and support businesses to scale up.
“There is a huge potential for Māori small businesses, with the right support, training and fair access to existing resources across the innovation ecosystem.”
“At GridAKL and via its innovation network, we successfully run a number of programmes with Māori and Pacific entrepreneurs, and we always look to elevate these relationships. The partnership with HTK Group enables us to do so, and we look forward to working with Renata and the team.”
“HTK Group has built a reputation for providing excellent business support and running start-up accelerator programmes in other parts of the country and we are delighted to partner with them and bring their unique expertise in working with Māori and Pacific businesses to Tāmaki Makaurau”, says Nick Hill.
*He karapa raraunga : Ōhanga Māori i Tāmaki Makaurau. Data Snapshot: Tāmaki Makaurau Māori economy. By Tze Ming Mok and Kahurangi Malcom, May 2022.
About HTK Group
HTK Group is a culturally based values-led professional services and economic development organisation that was established in 2015 to meet the growing demand for a Māori-led professional services organisation that understands the needs of Māori, Pasifika and indigenous organisations across the spectrum, from those building start-ups, developing existing businesses and programmes, or seeking investment opportunities.
GridAKL is Tātaki Auckland Unlimited’s innovation campus based in Wynyard Quarter. Comprising of GridAKL/Madden and GridAKL/Lysaght it is home to 140 businesses, and 1000+ individuals. Designed to maximise innovation and create pathways for entrepreneurial individuals and start-up businesses to connect, share ideas and access the tools they need to help them grow.
GridAKL is part of the region’s growing innovation network including GridMNK, Click Studios and the Reserve hub in Tāmaki.
About Tātaki Auckland Unlimited
Tātaki Auckland Unlimited is Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland’s economic and cultural agency committed to making our region a desirable place to live, work, visit, invest and do business.