Wahine Toa – Innov8 HQ co-founder Heidi Renata is flanked by (clockwise, from top left) Dr Rachel Sizemore, Taylor Terekia, Dr Katharina Ruckstuhl, Jamie Wood, Sequoia Short and Cassidy-Rae Muir.
The emotion was palpable for Innov8 HQ founder Heidi Renata at the launch of a new programme for aspiring Māori entrepreneurs from the University of Otago.
The University signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the world's only indigenous co-working space at their Vogel Street site on Friday morning.
The agreement will see four tauira spend a minimum of four hours week at Innov8 HQ to learn from Māori entrepreneurs on site.
"It it s a fantastic opportunity to understand what sort of attributes, qualities and passions you need as an entrepreneur and what the barriers are."
Taylor Terekia, Cassidy-Rae Muir, Sequoia Short and Jamie Wood are the first intake of the programme and were present for the signing. They were joined by Kaiawhina Māori Dr Rachel Sizemore and Associate Dean Māori Dr Katharina Ruckstuhl.
Ms Renata told the students there was a significant opportunity to develop their own ideas and become the next generation of Māori business leaders.
“Behind the fluffy decorations and the commercial structures in business, there are human beings,” Ms Renata said. “This occasion means a lot to me.”
Dr Ruckstuhl says getting real life exposure to working in business complements the work students do to learn about business in the classroom.
“It is a fantastic opportunity to understand what sort of attributes, qualities and passions you need as an entrepreneur and what the barriers are,” Dr Ruckstuhl says. “It will also give them a network of people who know about business, and also they get mentoring from Heidi who is an incredibly experienced businesswoman.”