Founder: Jenni Giblin
HQ: Hawke’s Bay
What problems do you solve and what products or services do you sell?
Funding HQ is an online platform that helps organisations who rely on external funding to become more sustainable with a diverse range of funders, and ultimately, reach their full funding potential.
I set up Funding HQ to enable not-for-profit and community organisations (NFPs) to be financially stable so that our communities can thrive.
Working with local NFPs over the years, it became clear that many organisations didn’t know where to go for funding or how to ask. This has become more of a problem in the last few months as some funding streams have dried up and funders are requiring more detail and better relationships with organisations.
The platform provides small and medium-sized organisations with cost-effective access to Giblin Group’s methodology for diversifying funding sources and establishing long term funding partnerships.
Who and where are your target customers?
Funding HQ is aimed at all NFPs reliant on external funding such as school boards, creative groups and sports organisations. It’s also aimed at local government supporting community organisations seeking funding.
How and when did you first come up with the idea for your business?
The idea was born from a desire to help build vibrant communities. With my work at Giblin Group, I was often asked by small community organisations to help them raise funds for projects. It wasn’t cost-effective to do this so about 18 months ago I started working on a platform to help them. It takes the methodology we use at Giblin Group and packages it in a simple and accessible way for users. The result is Funding HQ.
What are three things about your business that you are proud of?
- Launching Funding HQ during New Zealand COVID-19 Level 4 lockdown. It has the potential to really change the way people seek funds and the way funders will distribute funds in New Zealand.
- Balancing the development of a startup and going to market while also running a capital raising business Giblin Group.
- The potential that Funding HQ has to build powerful and impactful relationships between funders and fund recipients to really make a difference in growing vibrant communities.
How do you market your business and what advice do you have for others around marketing?
I spend a lot of time talking with people, organisations, Government, and councils about Funding HQ. I am a big believer that the personal touch really engages people and takes them on the journey. This has been supported by marketing communications, public relations and digital marketing. Right from the start, I’ve had a great team around me to deliver marketing support. They’ve helped me understand why and how I need to do things to take this product to market.
What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve faced in building your business so far?
Developing the platform and actually pushing it out to the market! It means letting your baby go and seeing the market’s reaction to it. You can stay in development stage endlessly, but at some point, you have to have the tenacity and confidence to ‘push go’. That’s a challenge, yet incredibly exciting!
What is the biggest entrepreneurship lesson you would like to share with other Kiwis thinking of starting their own business?
One of the key learnings for me has been to trust my instincts. Funding HQ has also reminded me of the importance of getting the right team around you and trusting them to do what they are good at. There’s only so much one person can do but when the load is shared, it’s incredible what can happen.
How has your business adapted to the challenges of COVID-19?
COVID 19 gave us an opportunity to work on our minimum viable product (MVP) and launch sooner. It also became apparent during and after lockdown that the fundraising environment was changing, and there was a greater need for a product like Funding HQ to help NFPs to diversify their funding and have a sustainable strategy.
What are your plans for the next 12-18 months?
Further development of Funding HQ, and looking for investment so that Funding HQ is available to all NFPs.
What’s great about Hawke’s Bay?
There’s a real opportunity to continue to support and grow regional business and attract the best talent to work with us. I’m advocating for a regional renaissance, and my first pick would be Hawke’s Bay.