Māori business accelerator celebrate 2020 cohort with virtual showcase


Kaupapa Māori business accelerator Kākiri has celebrated the second cohort of Māori-led teams leading innovative and technology-focused start-ups in Aotearoa.

For 12 weeks until early August, Kōkiri accelerated nine Māori-led start-ups, ranging from R&D ventures developing solar 3D tracking and soil moisture monitoring technology to digital platforms making it easier for tradies to provide quotes and helping whānau to the right lawyer.

When New Zealand went into lockdown due to Covid-19, Kōkiri adapted the programme delivery to be completely online. The new-look programme launched in May with wānanga (classes) hosted via video call.

“The last couple of months have been a rollercoaster ride for our cohort, delivery partners and sponsors. Through all of the different  challenges, we have come together to deliver a first-of-its-kind digital kaupapa Māori business accelerator programme,” says Aubrey Te Kanawa, Kōkiri programme director.

Transitioning from a residential format to 100 percent digital delivery was a mammoth task, but the change has enhanced the programme experience for the founders, mentors and staff.

“Our teams have used the latest collaboration tools such as virtual whiteboards and been exposed to wider networking opportunities,” says Te Kanawa.

The cohort have connected with international guest speakers and investors that are still living under lockdown conditions due to the Covid-19 pandemic. “The opportunity to virtually connect with over 20 additional guest speakers, experts and investors has significantly benefited the founders and teams,” says Te Kanawa.

Callaghan Innovation sees innovation as a crucial pathway to success for Māori.  “Bold Māori innovators and ‘dreamers’ will transform New Zealand’s economy for the better,” says Aroha Armstrong, Callaghan Innovation’s Māori economy group manager. “As well as helping start-ups nail a balance between profit, people and place, Kōkiri’s focus on technology this year is exactly the high-value shift the Māori and wider economy needs right now.”

Kōkiri hosted a virtual Showcase event to celebrate the cohort that completed the 2020 business
acceleration programme.

The Kōkiri 2020 teams are:

  • Barrett Dynamics is delivering affordable and efficient solar power to communities through solar energy 3D tracking technology.
  • KWOTIMATION™ makes quoting for construction and building work easy by streamlining the pricing process.
  • Little Mouse Co. are founders of the digital language app, Lingogo, that shares indigenous stories to help revitalise endangered languages.
  • Nau Mai Rā is New Zealand’s first Māori power company that reduces energy costs while sharing their profits with whānau to support their marae or other Māori initiatives.
  • RH Innovation are helping farmers apply the right amounts of nitrogen or water for optimal farm performance to reduce costs and environmental impact.
  • Stay Native is a social enterprise that helps indigenous whānau and hapori
    (communities) to build, promote and share authentic cultural experiences with travellers.
  • StreetLevelOne are a digital advertising agency transforming storefront windows into multitouch marketing platforms.
  • The Event Co. is the industry leader for event management innovation, simplifying event operations to save customers time and money.
  • Ture.co.nz™ are delivering better access to legal services for individuals and making it easier to find the right lawyer with their online marketplace.

About Kōkiri 2020

Kōkiri is a Māori business acceleration programme, based on kaupapa Māori values, focused on accelerating early stage start-ups who have bold ambitions and are impact positive.  Kōkiri supports Māori-led start-ups that have high-growth potential to develop their business capability and wellbeing, through tailored experiential based learning, supported by mentors, coaches, and experts in a safe and culturally responsive learning environment. Kōkiri 2020 is funded by Te Wānanga o Aotearoa and Callaghan Innovation and is sponsored by MYOB, Spark, FINDEX, AJ Park, Hillfarrance, Poutama Trust and ATEED – Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development.


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