Pioneering non-profit dedicated to revitalising the Māori economy, IndigiShare, has distributed its first pilot loan as part of an innovative koha-loan model to support Māori-owned businesses to start up, pivot or scale.
Te Whare Manaaki aims to break down barriers to entry for Māori businesses by pairing its community of ‘Koha Lenders’ with Māori-owned enterprises seeking capital investment, fostering a supportive ‘koha-driven economy’ for Māori entrepreneurs to thrive.
“Like all businesses, access to capital is crucial to growth, however, for many Māori businesses there are additional challenges; securing funding is often the first stumbling block for many pakihi looking to start up and to scale,” says Maria Ngawati (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Hine, Ngāti Porou) Managing Director of IndigiShare.
“At IndigiShare, we recognised the need for targeted initiatives that specifically support and cater to the needs of Māori enterprise. Through Te Whare Manaaki, we can provide greater equity and inclusion for pakihi to succeed.”
The first recipients of Te Whare Manaaki’s pilot loan are Rotorua-based FE Roofing, a kaupapa Māori construction company providing custom roofing solutions with a tikanga-Māori focus.
“The support from Te Whare Manaaki and IndigiShare has been transformative. It allowed us to purchase an essential asset, allowing our company to gain safer and better access for our mahi and our kaimahi, says Tiare Teepa (Ngāi Tūhoe), Owner and Manager of FE Roofing.
Like many other small businesses, Teepa has faced challenges when looking to scale his business beyond the start-up phase.
“Some of the challenges I faced in the early stages of business were around financial literacy. Things such as understanding the numbers effectively, how to make informed decisions, where to reinvest profit and how to better manage money and budget,” explains Teepa.
Having utilised traditional financing in the earlier stages of business, Teepa credits IndigiShare’s wrap-around support as a point of difference and a contributing factor in FE Roofing’s success.
“The support from IndigiShare has been a seamless, transparent and ngākau mahaki approach to lending. At every step of the way, Maria has been available to kōrero, any questions or concerns are open for discussion, and whanaungatanga and manaakitanga has been embodied throughout this process.
“My advice to other pakihi or entrepreneurs seeking support or advice is to ‘rangahau’ and ‘ask for help’. Reaching out and seeking wisdom from experts or more knowledgeable others is a great investment in yourself and your business.”
Through Te Whare Manaaki’s initial success, IndigiShare now hopes to slowly scale and fund more Māori businesses, to empower the next generation of Māori entrepreneurs.
“At its core, Te Whare Manaaki indigenises the flow of financial capital, fostering a more equitable and transparent economy for whānau today and our mokopuna tomorrow,” says Ngawati.
For more information on Te Whare Manaaki, or to register interest as a Koha Lender or Pakihi Māori, visit https://indigishare.co.nz/products-and-services/te-whare-manaaki/.