Free business support helps Waikato innovators
Entrepreneurs, inventors and business start-ups in the North Waikato area can get valuable free advice and mentoring support thanks to a team of visiting business experts.
On the second Tuesday of each month business growth advisor Peter Davey visits Tuakau to meet with local people who may have a great business idea, product or service and want advice on how to get it to the market.
“I am always blown away by the people I meet who have ideas with real merit and commercial application,” said Peter Davey, who is one of the Business Growth Services team based at Waikato Innovation Park in Hamilton. “The challenge is taking their inventions and good ideas through to reality and commercial success.”
The services are free to all greater Waikato businesses, not just those based at Waikato Innovation Park. The Business Growth Services team is funded by the Regional Business Partner Network (RBPN) which is supported by New Zealand Trade & Enterprise (NZTE) and Callaghan Innovation.
Their aim is to support businesses who have high-growth aspirations, are export focused, technology-driven or have innovative products or services with real commercial merit.
At least one-third of clients are outside of Hamilton, and on average they meet with around 400 businesses every year.
To date the team has engaged with more than 1000 businesses and have helped contribute more than $1.3 million to the regional economy through their support of new businesses and products.  
Their clients include both established businesses and start-ups. Some are people with good ideas but in need of guidance or research and development co-funding, while others may be small-to-medium businesses with high-growth aspirations or with innovative new products or services they want to commercialise or export.
Not every business idea is a good one. “That’s part of what we do,” said Peter Davey. “We try to see if there is a market for the business or product. Does someone want to buy it?”
It is important for those with innovative business ideas or products to get advice early on, so they can access co-funding or a Getting Started grant.
Davey said that an initial ‘discovery’ meeting was typically followed by an action plan that detailed opportunities as well as barriers to growth.

Depending on the stage of the business or product, he could put people in touch with a business mentor or connect them with resources or experts to expand their business.
“As a team we have great networks and contacts,” said Davey. “Between us there are very few questions we cannot answer.”

Davey said the North Waikato region was very innovative and he is looking forward to visiting Tuakau.

“There are lots of innovative people and businesses who had their start here,” said Davey.

The next Business Growth Services visit to Tuakau is Tuesday 11 April. Contact Karen Cousins, Marketing Officer at Open Waikato to book a time with Peter Davey: karen.cousins@openwaikato.co.nz
CAPTION: Every month business growth advisor Peter Davey visits Tuakau to offer advice to budding entrepreneurs and innovators.