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Tapuwae Roa and Sprout Agritech bring Māori start-ups together

Social impact organisation Tapuwae Roa partners up with Sprout Agritech for the inaugural programme at Tupu, a business accelerator that brings Māori founders together.

Out of over 300 applicants, Tapuwae Roa and Sprout Agritech brought together 11 teams of aspiring pakihi Māori (Māori businesses) to start their 10-week programme focused on driving sustainable growth.

Tupu is named after Tupuānuku, one of the nine stars of Matariki, which symbolises growth and cultivation.

From April to June, these aspiring Māori businesses will be coached by Purapura (Māori founders) with the essential tools, mentorship and resources to grow their businesses from grassroots to global, culminating in a capstone showcase.

“The response to Tupu has exceeded our expectations, and it was an honour to receive so many applications from rakahinonga (Māori entrepreneurs) across the motu who have bold aspirations to take their pakihi to the next level,” says Te Pūoho Kātene, Kaihautū of Tapuwae Roa.

Read more: Māori-owned technology companies grow

One Māori Founder, Timmy Smith (Whakatōhea) of Toi Ti, says that she hopes going through the accelerator will help her innovative herbal tea offering.

“There are thousands of pakihi Māori who deserve to have this level of wrap-around support and manaaki of their concepts and companies. I will do everything I can to honour having been selected into Tupu Accelerator by utilising all the taonga and mātauranga that this programme has to offer.”

CEO of Miti, Daniel Carson (Ngāi Tahu), is one of the Purapura of the programme and believes that through Tupu, they will focus on impact which is what sets them apart from other accelerator programmes.

“Participating in the first wānanga it quickly became apparent that we were surrounded by a cohort that shared our values of balancing people, planet, and profit. We are honoured to be selected and excited to continue the mahi,” says Carson.

Through Tupu, both Tapuwae Roa and Sprout Agritech hope to grow start-ups and also empower Māori entrepreneurs to hold lofty and bold aspirations.

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