Jack Keogh’s passion is helping to build Maori businesses from the grass roots up.
Ko Ramaroa te Maunga
Ko Rahiri te Tangata
Ko Whakamaharatanga me Kokohuia oku Marae
Ko Hokianga mai a kupe te awa
Ko Nga-Puhi nui tonu te Iwi
Ahakoa nei ko Tauranga moana toku Kainga
Ko Haki (Jack) Keogh ahau
Kei te mihi rawa, mai o Tauranga moana tai noa atu ki te wai pounamu karanga mai ra
“I believe that Maori have overlooked their entrepreneurial abilities and natural flair for problem solving, developing strategies and business, and have instead often jumped on the next plane to Australia,” says Jack.
“Maori need to look towards self-employment, entrepreneurship and venture developments as genuine options for employment and tino rangatiratanga, self determination. Entrepreneurship provides a vehicle to enhance and sustain these.”
Jack is developing a community-based business creation project in the small Western Bay of Plenty town of Maketu. His objective is to take a group of people who are long term unemployed or have very limited or no formal qualifications or education and give them back their mana, teach them to be be self reliant and contribute to the economy. His programme includes providing training in numeracy, literacy, computing and communications, as well as business management skills, to help people set up small businesses. He also aims to develop an incubator where people can access legal advice, mentors and finance.
“The goal is to do all of this from a Marae or community base using skills that Maori or community already have and to show what can be done here. With the technology, globalisation and connectivity of the Internet, location is becoming less of a barrier. Instead of ringing a New Zealand company and getting a call centre in Philippines, why can’t these calls be taken in Maketu or Gore?”
Jack was attracted to the Master of Entrepreneurship degree because it combined innovation with the all-round business skills that anyone launching a new venture needs.
“The demands, markets or even jobs in 2015 may not have been invented or developed at present so we need to keep developing new ideas, new markets and solve problems that aren’t even problems yet.”
Jack’s previous business experience was in setting up a community health and sports medicine clinic in Porirua. He has sold that business and is a Lecturer at Waiariki Institute of Technology.