Kōkiri 2020 is the national kaupapa Māori business accelerator programme run by Te Wānanga of Aotearoa from its business and innovation hub, Te Ahikōmako – Centre of Māori Innovation & Entrepreneurship.
When Aotearoa went into lockdown due to COVID-19, organisations and businesses had to adapt quickly. Kōkiri adapted as well and made the swift decision to move the programme to 100% online digital delivery and delay the programme start date. This allowed our teams and their whānau the opportunity to manage their business challenges and prepare for the new-look digital kaupapa that focuses on our teams being recovery-ready for a post-lockdown economy.
During the first week of lockdown, we announced the successful nine Māori-led start-ups in our 2020 cohort. The technology-focused teams are from a wide range of industries and have felt the early impacts of COVID-19 and the lockdown to varying degrees. To prepare the teams to focus on becoming recovery-ready, KPMG NZ joined our team for an insightful kōrero about doing business in a post COVID-19 world. Riria Te Kanawa (Missy), National Māori Sector Lead for KPMG, provided important insights and guidance for the future of business in Aotearoa.
Kōkiri 2020 kicked off in May and the programme was officially opened by Hon. Te Ururoa Flavell, Te Taiurungi – CEO of Te Wānanga o Aotearoa. Te Ururoa welcomed the teams and their whānau, wishing them all the best as they embarked on a transformative journey during the challenging social and economic times due to the COVID-19 crisis. “It never ceases to amaze me to see the talent that exists among our people and in the community, especially in the tech space,” says Te Ururoa. Without delay, the cohort dove headfirst into the first accelerator sprint, Kohi Wahie (Gathering Firewood), which gets the teams started on the problem discovery section of the business acceleration process.
As part of the Week 1 programme, the cohort was joined by our first international speaker Robett Hollis, a leading Māori entrepreneur, multi-exit founder and Founder of Aranui Ventures. Zooming in from San Francisco, an area hit hard by COVID-19 infections, Robett spoke openly with the teams. He provided a global perspective on the future of start-ups and the unique opportunities presented by indigenous entrepreneurs in Aotearoa and around the world. “The momentum of the brand ‘New Zealand’ is huge for start-ups trying to access international markets. Start thinking about your next move to be the solution for (your customers) next big problem,” says Robett.