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Soda Inc. to support Gisborne business start-ups with Activate Tairāwhiti Partnership

2018 Gisborne Launch Coworking Space

Activate Tairawhiti Gisborne and Soda Inc., a Wintec subsidiary, have formed a partnership to offer start-up support programmes in the Gisborne region.

Waikato-based Soda Inc. is a wraparound service that takes businesses through a 12-week intensive, specifically-tailored programme, with handpicked mentors from around New Zealand, and the world.

Activate general manager economic development, Steve Breen says the new initiative will significantly benefit the region’s start-up businesses and entrepreneurs.

“We are excited to partner with Soda, as they provide an opportunity for locals to fast-track their businesses with world class support here and around the country.”

Activate signed a memorandum of understanding with Soda earlier this year.

“They are a missing link in a really strong business growth chain we are creating,” says Mr Breen.

Soda head of operations, Rachel Adams says they have spent the past eight years shaping, testing and perfecting a support model for entrepreneurs that is founder-friendly, with their best interests at heart.

“This programme is primarily about educating business founders. We attract and match successful entrepreneurs who have been there and done it, to work with start-ups needing support.”

The programme is no walk in the park. Soda means business.

“You will need to be prepared to have your thinking tested and want to be challenged and supported.

“We want participants to leave the programme with a powerful network and the knowledge of what to do beyond the life of Soda.

“We know there are sharp, talented, innovative thinkers in Tairawhiti and we cannot wait to help people realise their project or business dream,” says Rachel.

Businesses or individuals pitch their opportunity, then are taken in to the Soda ranks. In exchange, 2.5% of the company’s equity goes to Soda and another 2.5% to regional economic development agency Activate Tairāwhiti (AT).

Soda has supported and been behind many growing start-ups in New Zealand — beekeeping hive management software MyApiary and Hop Revolution, which recently secured a $3 million investment through the MyFarm Hop Garden Investment initiative.

Soda chief executive, Erin Wansbrough says they want to break the trend of regions missing out on larger support systems found in main centres.

“We encourage ambitious people who are working on opportunities that have potential for scale to get in touch with the team at Activate Tairawhiti and see if this programme is right for you.

“We don’t limit our intake of start-ups to just one profession or level of experience,” says Erin.

Last year Soda Inc. launched their Regional Partner Initiative, to further expand their incubation model, by partnering with regional business hubs who can provide support for start-up projects in their area.

The partnership with Activate Tairāwhiti is part of this regional expansion, following the success in the Bay of Plenty and Hawkes Bay.

Get information about the Activate Tairawhiti and Soda Inc. programme here.

Find out more about Soda Inc. here.

Read more:

Soda Inc. to support Hawkes Bay business start-ups with BHB Partnership

Soda Inc. to support Bay of Plenty business start-ups with Venture Centre Partnership