Manaaki, the business support network that was founded in 2020’s first lockdown – and that yesterday was named Community of the Year Semi-finalist in Kiwibank’s New Zealander of the Year awards – has appointed Rachel Adams as General Manager.

Coming from a decade nurturing the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Waikato and regions around Aotearoa as Manager of Soda Inc, Rachel has worked in depth with more than 700 startups and small businesses and has helped develop connections for more than 2,000.

Rachel brings a grass-roots experience to the business at a time where it is positioning for growth. She has worked at a practical level with startups, helping them to open up opportunities. She says she is excited to roll up her sleeves and help businesses at scale through the Manaaki network.

“Manaaki has struck a chord in Aotearoa. Now it’s time to see what the next ten years will bring for this business and the impact it will have on our economy.

“We are practical people who want practical answers to our questions, especially when it comes to business. Amd Manaaki is doing just that for the people of Aotearoa.”

“I am excited to see how things open up for Kiwis as we unlock technology that allows us to hand on heart say – ‘you can solve your business problems with us’.”

“We have a grand vision at Manaaki. We want to keep response times instant for businesses and become the best small business content hub in the world.”

Rachel’s first project will be launching the Digital Doers Academy – a Manaaki partnership with the Ministry of Social Development, which trains and mentors job seekers in Aotearoa to build their digital capability and gain employment or self-employment.

Manaaki Co-founder Pat Macfie said, “Manaaki and small business New Zealand will be in safe hands with Rach. She has helped solve thousands of problems and open even more doors for startups over her career. She brings the energy and vision we need to blow things up over the next decade.”

Rachel will split her time between Raglan and Auckland, where Manaaki and its sister company Chooice are based.

“It’s important to me that those in the provinces and rural Aotearoa know that you can do important work and there is opportunity no matter where you are based.”