Māori innovation and entrepreneurship centre opens in Hamilton
Ahikōmako, the first centre of Māori innovation and entrepreneurship in Aotearoa was launched at our Mangakōtukutuku campus by Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta on Tuesday 30 July 2019.
“Māori have always been innovative in their thinking and approaches, so it is really important that we have professional services that our whānau can access in the regions that will help them to realise their business ideas,” she says.
The centre is powered by Te Wānanga o Aotearoa and is open to all Māori and non-Māori business entrepreneurs, innovators and whānau in the Waikato region. Ahikōmako is the ideal place for Māori to access a range of services to achieve their business aspirations.
“Ahikōmako will be a centre that businesses can access mentoring and business advice which will enhance their capability to further their business aspirations.”
The centre provides a modern co-working space, business support, training, resources and business connections to help build sustainable business success. It also houses an innovation hub – Te Toiotua – a vibrant, creative space that uses modern technology from 3D printing and movie production to photography, robotics and augmented reality to further advance business ideas.
Te Wānanga o Aotearoa chief executive Te Ururoa Flavell says Ahikōmako will provide “everything our people need to prosper”.
“It provides an environment focussed on their sustainable success, whatever their business needs.”
“Economic development is hugely important for our people and Ahikōmako will contribute to that success. This is a hugely important initiative and could be a blueprint for other parts of the country.”
“At Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, our vision is whānau transformation through education. Ahikōmako embodies this vision because entrepreneurship and innovation are keys to transforming our future,” he says.
Ahikōmako is open to any innovative businesses at any stage of development that is interested in a mātauranga Māori approach to innovation, technology, the digital economy and business success.
The $700,000 project is funded by Te Puni Kōkiri and the Provincial Development Fund with support from other organisations including Waikato-Tainui, Te Hūmeka – Waikato Māori Business Network, Hamilton & Waikato Tourism and Te Waka – Waikato Regional Economic Development Agency.