Pivoting with the times

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Soda Inc’s Erin Wansbrough talks about Covid-19 lockdown and the future.


What have your main challenges been?

Coming in to Level 2 from Level 3 we had to make sure our space was clean and well equipped for staff as well as our coworkers. We managed to source hand sanitiser a lot easier than before going into lockdown! But it’s just making sure we are adhering to the Ministry of Health guidelines.

We are all so used to working from home without having social distractions that coming back to the office has almost proved to be less productive! But I’m sure we will get back into the swing of it soon.

What have your successes been?

We collaborated with a team of other Callaghan Innovation funded incubators on Hack the Crisis NZ. HTC saw 887 registrations, 210 idea submissions, and 55 registered teams. Hundreds of supporters tuned in to our public channels and live feeds. We’ve also continued the collaboration with Creative HQ and Ster Innovation to put together an “after Hack” support programme starting on June 2 for the teams who want to keep their idea moving.

Community catch-ups via Youtube have been a new way for us to chat with people about industry issues relating to how they are coping to Covid-19.

Our latest small business programmes are close to launch. We pivoted a few times and ensured our offerings were going to provide real value to small businesses. With Covid, we have also adapted and will now be offering these online. This breaks down the barrier of time restraints, cost of travel, cost of the programme, and health and safety requirements. We are currently working with industry experts in each business area to knuckle down on the content and work out any kinks.

We are excited to go to market and start working with a wider variety of New Zealand businesses.

Funding opportunities are becoming more prevalent, meaning we can help those who really need it. Check out our listings here

 What difference has moving to Level 2 made for you?

Our coworking space is back open for business.

What long-term changes do you see yourself making to the way your business operates?

We’ve always had the option to work from home, but not all staff have taken it up in the past. Now everyone is well set up and looking forward to being able to combine the office lifestyle with the working from home lifestyle more. As a team, we are confident we can work from anywhere now.

Final word? 

Under level three we continued to work from home and kept the coworking space closed. Our ‘Dragon’s Den’, Team Soda, was made virtual and continued as normal seeing reviews and graduations. Now that we are back in the coworking space we have altered our lease terms to accommodate month by month leasing for those in need of something not so long term

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