Pro Features

Hub helps fledgling businesses fly

A new Hawke’s Bay Business Hub initiative is connecting established businesses with Hub services and assisting fledgling businesses get off the ground.

‘HUB Connect’ is a three-stage programme to connect businesses with Business Hub services. It’s designed for all businesses to find out more about what help is available here and how best to get started says Business Hawke’s Bay Chief Executive Carolyn Neville.

“The pilot programme was established with funding from Hawke’s Bay Regional Council and Business Hawke’s Bay, and is strongly supported by all Business Hub member organisations. This is the service so many people have been waiting for – it’s designed to make the engagement process with the Business Hub and regional business service providers easier and more effective.”

“So often businesses get given all sorts of contacts but don’t actually know who best to talk to. With HUB Connect we take away the confusion by pointing people in the right direction and help them unleash their business potential.”

Mrs Neville says her team really wants to simplify the process of connecting with the Hub, and with HUB Connect it’s now as easy as 1, 2, 3.

  1. HUB Connect Check-In

The first stage of the programme is the HUB Check-In, which provides well-informed, impartial connections to the people who are the best fit with the businesses’ needs.

Business Hawke’s Bay staff provide a warm welcome and an overview of the services available during a free one-to-one introductory session. After the ‘check- in’ process is completed, businesses are matched with organisations that can offer further support and advice.

Referrals to the programme’s next stage, the HUB Business-Starter, are for those who are new to business or new businesses who do not yet meet the criteria for Regional Business Partner registration, such as being GST registered.

  1. HUB Connect Business- Starter

Last year, Business Hawke’s Bay identified a real need to provide some form of support for people just getting started in business, even if they only had an idea they wanted to explore. A Business-Starter session, the second of the three stages available free of charge, involves a 60-minute meeting to help map out ideas and provide specific information on business basics.

Jacqui Thomas, Business Hawke’s Bay New Business Support says, “There’s various forms of support and advice for people already in business, but nothing much to help people who have an idea but aren’t quite sure how to go about getting started. Now that the HUB Connect Business-Starter programme is underway the enquiries range from people completely new to the concept of running a business, to those who may have already been in business but have a new idea they want to test out with an objective ear, or want more insight into the early steps of getting started in terms of getting the fundamental basics sorted at the beginning.”

“The Business Starter session is an individual one-to-one session tailor-made to meet the needs of the client. For some this is as simple as having a fresh sounding board to bounce the idea around with, for others it covers the basic compliance aspects of structuring your business and what things need to be covered off with various government departments. It is also a great connector into various other organisations and useful portals of information, and there are often plenty of fresh ideas and useful contacts that come out of the session.”

“Potential business owners can tap into the various forms of support and knowledge that is available right from the very start of their business journey. Hopefully this will set them up for their best chance of success or, if their idea needs some tweaking before it can fly, help them to avoid costly mistakes.”

Craig and Simone Stranaghan from Avantogo Tours say they were delighted to be offered a Business-Starter session to help them with their new business venture.

“We went with an open mind, having previously been in business in the building industry. We felt any help we could gain would be of benefit. We really appreciated that our session was funded, as starting up a new business is an expensive exercise.”

“Jacqui really listened to us and provided some great advice. Of particular interest to us was the “speed business dating” sessions, the recommendation to revisit Hawke’s Bay Tourism, a discussion around the importance of social media, a wedding contact and useful booklets about things like Health and Safety. Since our session we have followed up on a number of these points and still have some on our to do list!”

  1. HUB Connect Club

Also on Craig and Simone Stranaghan’s ‘to do’ list is joining the Business Hub’s new business event and training calendar, HUB Club.

Business Hawke’s Bay’s Club Co-ordinator, Tertia Whitcombe, says membership is free for any business and gives access to a range of business-related initiatives.

“The HUB Club’s focus is on ongoing capability building. We provide ongoing support for both start-ups and established businesses through newsletters, events, training workshops, networking opportunities and club deals including member discounts and special offers for professional events.”

Fostering and supporting entrpreneurship

Overall, the ‘HUB Connect’ concept fosters and supports entrpreneurship, as well as growing Maori participation in economic development. It supports Work Area 3 of Matariki – Hawke’s Bay Regional Economic Development Strategy (HBREDS), the goal of which is to identify and support businesses wanting to grow.

Carolyn Neville says Business Hawke’s Bay is the lead agency for multiple Matariki Actions related to business growth and start-up support.

“Collectively the implementation of these Actions through our HUB Connect programme means we can provide accessible business growth services and support to firms across the whole region. Already dozens of people have taken part in HUB Connect and enquiries continue to come in every day through online registrations and referrals.”

“We have scope to support other fledgling businesses in the coming months. If you’ve got a new business underway or you’re in business and would like to find out more about the services available, we would love to hear from you so we can get you started – it’s as easy as I, 2, 3”

To find out more about HUB Connect, check out